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What is reputation? How do I earn (and lose) it?

If people are participating across the Stack Exchange network and have reached 200 reputation in total, they probably have gotten to a point where they know a little bit about how to use SE.

Example reason 1: Why reputation stacking for the 200-threshold could be a good thing?

I have a question on superuser that I couldn't provide an image/diagram for to aid understanding, and as a result attracted attention I was expecting about something different from the question. "I bet somebody will think..." is what motivated me to provide an image that I was prevented from embedding.

Example reason 2:

I don't know enough to answer questions, I sometimes know enough to write a unique question, but I definitely know enough to know that was the correct answer, but I can't positively contribute by voting up a helpful answer, asking for clarification, or pointing out the answer is close but [not the direction solution, which btw I discovered was XYZ].

Does anyone else think stacking reputations for unique content could improve SE?

Unique content: To be specific, I do not believe ALL reputation should stack-- certain reputations are redundant

  • Accepted an answer

  • Asked a question that got voted up once

Myself: I might know enough stuff about everything to be able to contribute in some ways like adding comments or asking for clarification, but I shouldn't necessarily be allowed to answer questions.

Edit: this appears to already be under discussion here

(I wish I could vote it up, comment that I agree, or upvote @DarkSheep's comment about "finite implementation details")!!!

  • You want all the rep across all sites being added together so you get the 200 rep association bonus? – rene Nov 28 '14 at 22:54
  • you have to get 200 on one site to receive this. I will probably never reach 200 (good riddance), but I have had unique good questions on several SE's. My aggregate rep is [not very high ;)] over 300 because of this. I think I should have the 100 rep bonus so that I can link an image in one of my questions to aid reader understanding. Obviously you shouldn't be able to stack points for simply "accepting an answer"-- it would be too easy to farm that – paIncrease Nov 28 '14 at 22:54
  • Okay, so your feature request boils down to "Provide an association bonus at a network-wide reputation of 200"? – Bart Nov 28 '14 at 22:55
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    @Bart yes. I'm bad at wording things succinctly – paIncrease Nov 28 '14 at 22:56
  • @Rene, I particularly didn't want to say that because the obvious response is: "but people can farm the introductory reps too easily" – paIncrease Nov 28 '14 at 22:58
  • Possible related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/123582/158100 – rene Nov 28 '14 at 23:03
  • OK, clear now after your edit, but Oded's answer here pretty much explains why your request is likely to be declined. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Nov 28 '14 at 23:22
  • one problem is all the people who are going to say "I fall into that boat" can't vote it up or voice an opinion, which is why these questions keep popping up and getting deleted. I know I'm not the first to ask it, I simply couldn't find the first. – paIncrease Nov 28 '14 at 23:25
  • @ShadowWizard is the answer to "What does the target SE site lose?" question as answerable here as with rep bounty moving? – paIncrease Nov 28 '14 at 23:30
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    @Rancur3p1c don't understand what you mean. What target SE site? Lose what? How is it related to anything here? What bounty got to do with any of this?? – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Nov 28 '14 at 23:35
  • oops, that was a comment from the link you^H^H^H @rene provided as possibly related – paIncrease Nov 28 '14 at 23:35
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    Even after looking at the edit history, I don't get the heavy downvoting here. The question was pretty clear from the beginning. I'm guessing it is mostly people who just object to your suggestion. – goldilocks Nov 29 '14 at 0:29
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    Voting to reopen, it is quite clear now what you want. @goldilocks the downvotes here mean users disagree with the proposed change. In Meta sites, upvoting a feature request means the user agree with the request and want to see it done, downvoting it means the opposite. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Nov 29 '14 at 1:06
  • @ShadowWizard "disagree" is one of the reasons why I think social media sites should have only upvotes and report. Downvotes get used almost everywhere for "disagree". On /. it's "troll" "flamebait" "redundant" "off topic". On reddit it's simply "down" – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 2:49
  • this was put on hold after my edits. I'm trying to generate discussion about pros/cons of this idea-- yes/no questions are inefficient ways to conduct business meetings to solve problems. What do I need to change it to to make it more clear? I'm intentionally leaving it ambiguous because people will immediately disect "I want to be able to post comments and upvote on any stack exchange website when aggregate reputation cross-network is over 200" as "but it's too easy to farm", and because that's not exactly a reasonable solution. – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 2:51
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I think this is a fair question and it does make a certain amount of sense at first glance: if you have four accounts where you've scored 50 points in each, why shouldn't that buy you the same domain wide privileges as scoring 200 on just one?

There's one very good reason, however, that I would object, and that has to do with something from the the "What's rep" page you linked:

You gain reputation when:

  • suggested edit is accepted: +2 (up to +1000 total per user)

If the significance of this is lost on you, I would say you do not understand stack exchange well enough to be entitled to the 100 point bonus.

If you do understand, then right there is a clear path for you to make it to 200 somewhere. Editing and tidying up is a necessary and important aspect of things the responsibilities for which fall entirely upon the heads of the users, including you.

If that sounds unfair or like it is too much effort, consider: You've said you don't think you have the knowledge on any particular board to gain the points, but don't take that to mean that it just comes for free to those who do. We have to take the time out to provide answers and earn rep 5 or 10 points at a time. We're volunteering that time and knowledge to help other people. That's what it is all about. Sometimes it is frustrating. Sometimes I put in hours and get exactly zero for it.

So, if you like the place and want to be helpful but also want some recognition for it, make constructive and useful edits. By "constructive and useful", I don't mean just start doing it in hopes of collecting points automatically, because it doesn't work that way. Regular users with sufficient rep (me included) then review those edits and approve them, and for a fact, it is not at all unusual for me to notice that there are very low rep users who spend a lot of time making constructive edits and earning 2 points at a time.

I totally applaud those people. There's no reason you can't be one of them, you've already demonstrated sufficient familiarity with the interface. So pick the site you like best and/or have the best head start at, roll your sleeves up, and put in some time helping out. If someone rejects an edit, they will (hopefully) provide a decent justification to help you better understand what "constructive and useful" means. Good luck!

  • this, while true, does not address the problem that "useful content is inefficiently blocked with current reputation-feature-walls"--mutual exclusion – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 2:46
  • O_o A Venn diagram illustrating mutual exclusion does not have any overlap between the circles silly!! E.g. mathsteacher.com.au/year10/ch05_probability/… If you mean that you can't make edits automatically, true, you can't -- and when you can, you no longer get any points at all. If I edit and improve something, that is gratis on me. Not even a +2. It's an opportunity that's offered to people. If that's not good enough, you have to wait until you have enough knowledge about something to do it another way. – goldilocks Nov 29 '14 at 3:24
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    P.S. I notice you're at ~140 on S.O. -- you could easily get this over with via edits in an evening. I have 45K+ overall, but do you want to know how many hours that took? I honestly prefer not to think about it. – goldilocks Nov 29 '14 at 3:32
  • I gave one with them overlapping because we're supposed to find a solution where we're both meeting in the middle! – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 6:04
  • editing someone else's question? I'll have to look into this – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 6:05
  • also, that's still no excuse for not finding a better way to spam filter that doesn't involve blocking legitimate content – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 7:26

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