We are helping the community with the questions and answers. Now, if a question is upvoted, 5 pts are awarded to the user. However, when an answer is upvoted 10 pts are awarded. The answer would not have been there if there was no question in the first place. Hence, my question.
As a consumer and user of this site, however, my personal take is as follows: I think asking a good question and providing a good answer are both highly valuable. You can do a really bad job at either, as many of the questions and answers that show up here every day demonstrate.
The dynamics of questioning and of answering are quite different, however. I suspect (and I think this is borne out by the numbers) that in general the questions come from a much broader group of people than the answers. Stack Exchange sites deliberately try to cultivate a population of experts who stay around for a long time and who answer many questions. Pick some random 1000+ reputation users, and you will see that most of them have many more answers than questions. Maybe this is because most people have only a few questions, but an expert may have quite a lot of answers.
Given two distinct populations, it's not surprising that Stack Exchange would set point values differently to incentivize these different populations. It's also not surprising that answers would get more points than questions, if their goal is to incentivize the experts who answer many questions to stick around. Why the ratio is 2:1 rather than 1.1:1 or 1.5:1 or 3:1 or 5:1, maybe an SE team member can elaborate on that.
Once upon a time, both questions and answers got 10 rep for an upvote. Then, it was changed. http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/03/important-reputation-rule-changes/ explains it. To summarize:
- to encourage people to provide answers... answers have more value than questions
- the asker gets answers so shouldn’t need as much reputation gain.
- so people who ask questions are doing it for the right reasons and not to generate reputation
It makes sense to me.