This question is based on my view of how people treat posts on Stack Overflow. I think reputation points under the name of the user actually do great work, and this discussion proves my theory:

I was so used to being upvoted because I had >60K rep for almost every answer I gave even though it was crappy, now I saw that you had to work at it for a good answer and cannot just post the 1st thing that comes to mind and cultivate your answer to perfection before posting it.

This makes me wonder: did the [SO] devs intend this? I can't find any reason for this.

I agree that in meta this is different. I want to see the view of a high-rep user because he has been on this site a long time, and he knows more about it. But on the main site, do reputation points make a difference?

If a user gained a significant amount of reputation due to being an expert in a specific domain, this doesn't mean that he is an expert in all domains. And even if the community trusts that user, it doesn't mean that all his posts are great. People do make mistakes.

  • 11
    What are you asking, exactly? We already know that reputation isn't a perfect metric, but that's mostly due to people making it a popularity contest in some cases.
    – user102937
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:28
  • Reputation is a rough measure of how much the community trusts a user. It can give you a rough idea of how long and how involved someone is with the site, as well as the average quality of the contributions.
    – Linuxios
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:29
  • 2
    Does the answer on How does “Reputation” work? tell you what reputation means? Mar 5, 2014 at 19:30
  • 2
    The question isn't about what does reputation mean, it is about what does adding these reputation under someone's name mean? You can still have reputation but not actually shown under your name every time you post something.
    – Mohammad
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:36
  • Reputation becomes much less valuable if it's not displayed. It's that simple. Reputation is the carrot that makes SO go.
    – chappjc
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:37
  • 1
    I'm not sure if stackexchange is a place for learning or a place to collect points. Is it just like that? people like to show off? I thought reputation should be deeper than that.
    – Mohammad
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:43
  • 1
    @user689 how is that not the meaning of reputation? It is displayed because it is used to measure something, so to quote the answer I linked, "It reflects, to an extent, your familiarity with the site, the amount of subject matter expertise you have and the level of respect your peers have for you. It can generally only be gained when other users of the site approve of the content you provide." Mar 5, 2014 at 19:57
  • 2
    @user689 It's not one or the other. Reputation is useful for a lot of things. A flawed and approximate measure of how much the site trusts you, your experience with the site, and (to an even more flawed degree) your expertise in a particular field. It's also a form of extrinsic motivation to participate in the site. These aspects all have major problems. They also all have major benefits. Despite the imperfections, the site seems to generally work, and often better than its competitors, indicating that decisions such as these have a net benefit.
    – Servy
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:59
  • I think this is something that couldn't be changed, I should accept this even with all these problems.
    – Mohammad
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:04
  • @user689 Most anything can be changed(though this probably won't) but if you have a suggestion to make it more accurate, better, or some other idea then everyone would be willing to listen. Until then, this is what we have and it seems to work, for the most part.
    – codeMagic
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:08
  • 2
    It was a very handy thing for me when I first started. Not so much to know if I could trust answers by certain members but to watch how they used the site (the way they formatted their posts, articulated their answers, etc...) so that I could get better at using SO and help others easier.
    – codeMagic
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:10
  • @codeMagic thanks I guess this is a good feature but just misused.
    – Mohammad
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


In my experience content is much more important than the reputation number next to the name of the author. I don't have overwhelming evidence, but over the years I posted a few answers without logging in/from a new account to test some things out. They have generally been well received.

The only one I can find right now is this one, which was posted from a brand new unregistered account with only 1 reputation. There are multiple other answers by posters with quite substantial reputation, some of them were even posted some minutes before mine. Nevertheless, the "newbie" post got more upvotes than any of the other answers and got accepted.

And the post didn't even say anything dramatically different than all the other answers. Basically all the answers are correct and try to explain the same thing. But at least in this case, a slightly better/clearer/... presentation outweighed any differences in reputation and the "newbie" answer was upvoted and accepted.

Usually this works the other way around: The new user doesn't have a lot of experience in writing answers and therefore his answer doesn't explain things as well as a competing answer by a high rep user, who might have written thousands of answers and knows quite well how to best structure an answer/.... Despite both answers containing the same technical facts, the answer of the experienced user tends to be better received. Not because of reputation, but because of better readability/structure/formatting/...

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .