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I am writing this suggestion as a response to this question in Stack Overflow: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/22275484/is-this-use-of-comma-operator-too-lazy

Suggestion: Discard previous and disable future reputation gain/loss for the answers given in a question that has been put on hold or closed due to being primarily opinion-based

Nothing personal, really. I was there, so let me explain the case in short:

  • This question was asked, obviously primarily opinion-based
  • This answer was given
  • The question got voted down, but I had learned something to be possible from it, so I just voted it up
  • That particular answer was receiving up-votes in the mean time

And then some more, and more...

Sincerely, nothing personal. There is one another answer to that question from me, right at the bottom of the page. I had no doubt that my response would get -I must say- disliked, therefore voted down, after having seen that people have fanatically voted up that opinion. I really was expecting more down votes than I got there, I even had one up-vote, which cancelled out all the 5 down votes I had.

The issue here is not about my post, it is about the post that received 16 up votes. That user received 156 reputation for that opinion...

I mean, this doesn't make sense, he/she didn't make an entry that was worth 16 up votes and 156 reputation, at least not up to the Stack Overflow standards. If only this answer was given on some Reddit page or something...

Since I have been involved, my honesty in this case may seem fake. I have tried my best to show that I would have no direct benefit from this thing, I already am in balance with my 5 down-votes and 1 up-vote as of now.

Previous occurrences, including this particular example, may be left as they are. In future, however, I recommend this type of reputation gain/loss handling to be implemented, to prevent reputation gain/loss due to opinion agreement and dispute, respectively.

  • I have not been directly involved in this issue and I think that your arguments here make much sense. I'd really like to hear from the down-voters what their arguments against this would be. – Simon Forsberg Mar 9 '14 at 1:36
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    "I mean, this doesn't make sense, he/she didn't make an entry that was worth 16 up votes" er... they made an entry that 16 people thought worthy of upvoting. Why do you feel the need to pretend their opinion doesn't matter? – R. Martinho Fernandes Mar 9 '14 at 2:17
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    @R.MartinhoFernandes The fact that question has been put on hold due to being primarily opinion-based, made me feel the need to pretend their opinion doesn't matter. Question was found to be not eligible in terms of Stack Overflow standards. Leaving subjective comments, while you could have worded it all objectively, makes the comment only annoying. – ThoAppelsin Mar 9 '14 at 2:22
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    If you care so much, make sure it gets deleted within 60 days. Then the reputation will go away. Problem solved. – animuson Mar 9 '14 at 2:26
  • @animuson I don't care even a bit about that one specific answer to that one specific question. It is an example that I've witnessed for the general case. I may solve like 1% of such cases with personal effort, but a change in that way can do it 100% without anyone's effort, excluding the bit of coding work. – ThoAppelsin Mar 9 '14 at 2:29
  • @R.MartinhoFernandes, I feel you're missing an important part in your quote: "I mean, this doesn't make sense, he/she didn't make an entry that was worth 16 up votes and 156 reputation, at least not up to the Stack Overflow standards." – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:22
  • I like the idea, though I'm afraid a nasty side effect could be that people might vote to reopen, just to get their reputation back. And if implemented, I'd do it for all off-topic reasons (like anything except for duplicates), not just the opinion based questions. – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:36
  • (As an aside: "on hold" is just a temporary stage; voiding the reputation might also be implemented after it reaches "closed".) – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:41
  • @Arjan I didn't know about re-opening questions through voting, therefore I don't know the specifics for that mechanism; but I don't think the votes of just a couple of people who had given their answers to the question, would be enough to reach that threshold. I am also taking the fact that question has been put on hold into consideration here, which would most likely result in malicious up-votes to be overwhelmed by proper conducts. – ThoAppelsin Mar 9 '14 at 3:46
  • You're right, if only the answerers would vote to re-open then probably nothing happens and their re-open votes would eventually time out. I like the idea. (I would not take away the voting buttons, but that's not what you're suggesting.) – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:55
  • @Arjan I have no idea about the statistics on how often questions that have been put on hold get closed, therefore I cannot comment much on that. It seems reasonable to me to make this thing happen for closed questions alone. On the other hand, I have the feeling that questions that have been disabled for further answers (even temporarily) shouldn't really inhabit answers that affect the reputation, for that period of time. – ThoAppelsin Mar 9 '14 at 4:01
  • Know the history, listen to the Repocalypse – Uphill Luge Mar 9 '14 at 8:08
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I do agree that the amount of upvotes for the linked answer seems absurd for what it was. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do about that bust downvote or flag (which probably won't get you anywhere in this case). However, other answers there seemed to be valid and borderline opinion-based.

to prevent reputation gain/loss due to opinion agreement and dispute

This may be a grey area for some because some of the answers I saw seem to give very good reasons to not use that approach, which is what the OP asked for. They may be opinion-based but they seem like valid reasons and could be very helpful to someone just starting out and trying to decide on the best form(s) to use when writing code. For that reason, I think it would be almost insulting to not allow those people who put in effort and shared their experiences to gain from it since people obviously thought they were worth upvoting.

So, basically you are saying that because 5 people (those who voted to close) decided it was opinion-based) after the answers were given, decide that those who already put the time into answering don't deserve the credit that many others tried to give (by upvoting). IMHO, this seems absurd.

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    I don't feel it matters when the question was closed. Answerers (and voters) should be made aware of what questions are acceptable, and which are to be avoided. – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:25
  • @Arjan I agree that it shouldn't matter when but my point is that these people wouldn't have used their time to put in a good-faith (that may help a lot of people) answer if this was implemented. Also, as I said, there were a lot of people that thought they were "good" answers. So why should they lose the reputation for their work? – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 3:29
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    Simply as losing the reputation might stop them from doing it again next time. Related, if one assumes that high rep users (should) know what is on-topic: Why do high rep users answer bad questions? – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:34
  • @Arjan sure, assuming that the users are doing something wrong. IMHO, this isn't that clear-cut. Some of the answers given seem to be really helpful. I'm not convinced that it was a "bad" question other than it could have been worded better and articulated better. As I said, some of those answers could really help some people. – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 3:37
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    ...but then people should vote to re-open? – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:38
  • While I do agree that for that specific question, a purely non-opinion-based answer could be given, there unfortunately weren't any. If there really was any, and then the question was put on hold by reputable ones; any bad consequence would be due to misconduct of those reputable ones. With their confirmations, they assure that the question is primarily opinion-based, suggesting that that question shouldn't really be in S. Overflow, nor be answered by its users; neither until it was marked, nor after it. In fact, users are disabled to give answer to such, even a non-opinion-based one. – ThoAppelsin Mar 9 '14 at 3:38
  • @Arjan Of course they should vote to re-open then – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 3:44
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    @ThoAppelsin Obviously, some thought it doesn't belong on SO but many obviously that that it did since there were several answers with many upvotes. I just don't see why you take away from people who apparently gave answers others thought were helpful. Also, this may prevent users from answering any questions that may be questionable. – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 3:46
  • And of course, if re-opened then reputation would be restored. I still don't see why people should earn reputation for something we don't want on these sites. (For me, off-topic questions do make it harder to find information I need on Stack Exchange sites. Remember these sites are not just to help people. Helping is a very nice side effect of trying to create a great Q&A archive.) – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 3:51
  • @codeMagic That doesn't sound realistic at all. I don't think that any user that is passionate to be helpful would be deterred from giving answer to any question, even if there were no reputations at all. And please, with your answer post, you were saying that the up-votes looked bizarre compared to the quality of the posts... If you are now honestly going to say that people really gave their up-votes because they really had found that answer objective, appropriate and useful, I am going to regret for all I have written here. – ThoAppelsin Mar 9 '14 at 3:53
  • @Arjan "Remember these sites are not just to help people" then what are they for, exactly? "Helping is a very nice side effect of trying to create a great Q&A archive" What purpose does that serve if not to help people? – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 3:57
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    @ThoAppelsin I said that the upvotes on that answer with so many that you linked to seemed odd. But this is one example. It doesn't mean that all upvotes on all answers to question deemed opinion-based are "bizarre". Remember, in these discussions we have to think about all related posts and not just one certain one. – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 3:58
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    We build libraries of high-quality questions and answers, focused on each community's area of expertise. which means that many types of questions are off-topic, which is why they're closed even though many of use could answer those and then help people. – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 4:00
  • @Arjan great link. However, you said it isn't just to help people. What is the purpose of these "libraries of high-quality questions and answers..." if not to help people? – codeMagic Mar 9 '14 at 4:03
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    I meant: these sites are not just to help people. In extremes: you wouldn't want (nor answer) car repair questions on Stack Overflow, even if you'd know the answer and could help the question asker. – Arjan Mar 9 '14 at 4:05

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