I think it's a good idea to make reputation on a large Stack Exchange sites more like real-world currency. At least in a sense that it should have it's own inflation rate.

For example, answer or upvote year ago should cost less in an absolute value than tonight.

The reasoning is simple. Community's knowledge base gets bigger and bigger every second, and it's harder and harder to ask and answer a good question that haven't already been there. I think, given the same tag, gaining N of rep. say 3 years ago was much easier, because there were tons of simple unanswered questions like about date conversions on SO.

Maybe it'll be a good idea to slowly increase rep. cost of all actions as tag (question's tags in average) gets older and bigger? For a 10% in a year or so.


I don't think reputation should be automatically changed by any kind of mechanism but I might be biased by the fact that I have plenty of reputation on the sites I'm active on.

The problem I see with this proposal and similar discussions1 is that it disconnects the direct relation between reputation and the votes on posts. Users vote on posts to indicate the usefulness of that post. They don't vote to give you the reputation (it is not the like button on Facebook).
This mechanism prevents users who don't add quality to the site from gaining (more) moderation privileges and with that giving them powers that they haven't shown to use responsibly.

Although it might be true that for a given tag there were questions that were easier to answer in the past, that is true for any new tag that starts today. As technology evolves (specially on sites like Stack Overflow) similar useful questions will be asked and answered again, increasing the number of quality posts and with that adding to the mission of Stack Exchange to make the internet a little bit better by providing a knowledge base of questions and answers.

If users are interested in gaining reputation to unlock privileges they feel helps them in the community moderation effort they can do so by suggesting edits or find those unanswered diamonds in a niche tag. That is a quality injection beneficial to the user and the community.


it's harder and harder to ask and answer a good question that haven't already been there

Indeed, it is harder to ask a good question. Now the problem is that we have a lot more users too than in the past, specifically on SO and the other large sites. That means it is easier to gain votes now. A lot of users don't really vote for the quality of the post too, they just 'agree' up-vote. (Or: 'man-he-was-fast' up-vote)

That makes reputation not being a good measurement in the first place.

Second: why do we want people to lose their ability to use their site privileges because they don't gain (much) reputation any more. I see a lot experienced (high rep) users taking a lot of time to do their community moderation job. Do we have to punish them for helping out? What if their reputation drops below a level that earns a privilege? Do we want to revoke that?


Ok, to summarize what I got from the discussion (don't take it too seriously):

  1. Proposed mechanism will be insanely complex and drive everyone mad
  2. There's no need for such mechanism, because community self-regulating reputation value: as questions (for given tag) becoming more complex, number of upvoting users also increases with time
  3. Reputation is a very unreliable measure of anything
  4. Reputation-related questions are under some kind of curse, and the best one can do is follow "we do not talk about reputation" rule :)

If we were really to have an inflation index, then the privileges would also appreciate in cost. The net effect would be the same. It gets back to doing a certain amount of work and contribution to be able to unlock the privileges.

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