I'm new to the site. Today I came across this account.

0 posts edited
0 helpful flags
0 votes cast
0 questions
1 answer(426 upvotes)
4,261 Reputation
2 gold 8 silver 2 bronze
top 9% overall
Member for 6 years, 10 months
Last seen Jan 31 '10 at 21:04 (on the day his first and only answer posted)

I really thought, a person who has that much reputation has worked really hard in SO (flagging, voting, editing, commenting, etc).

But after seeing that I wonder whether I'm wrong. Any ideas?


If someone earned enough reputation from a single question/answer, will they have moderation abilities? If yes, is that fair?

  • 1
    If they posted a really awesome answer and got 400+ upvotes, and then left the site, that's their decision.
    – Mithical
    Dec 14, 2016 at 8:37
  • @Mithrandir true ,but see my comment in shadow wizard's answer. Dec 14, 2016 at 9:34
  • 4
    I see no problem of earning a lot of rep from one single answer. However, I would see the benefit of blocking moderation abilities for these kind of users, since one single post should not qualify to get access to those tools that need some knowledge of the site and its rules. That is, currently we just rely on reputation to grant privileges. Dec 14, 2016 at 10:22
  • @fedorqui agreed , I added it to the question. :) Dec 14, 2016 at 10:27
  • 1
    cross-site duplicate: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/306137/… and related on MSE: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/202652/life-isnt-fair
    – rene
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:47
  • @Mithrandir if they "left the site" then they are not a User anymore, and should not have a profile. Do we 'leave' them after a while? No. So there is an inconsistency in this logic. Are they a User, or not? Have they left, or not? How you answer alters the interpretation of the question and the answers it gets. To me, someone who posted one question and was gone for 6 years is not a User. Even artworks and inventions become "Public Domain" after a while. As this is intellectual property, the same thing should happen: things revert to the community when someone 'dies'.
    – user291305
    Dec 15, 2016 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


a person who has that much reputation has worked really hard in SO (flagging, voting, editing, commenting, etc).

No. Reputation can be gained only via those actions:

  • Posting questions
  • Posting answers
  • Suggesting edits

All other actions (flagging, voting, commenting, etc) give no reputation. They are part of moderating the site, and making it better. The award for those actions is having a better and cleaner place.

So yes, there are cases of people who wrote one single answer, even in few minutes, which gets more reputation than people with hundreds of answers who spent hours upon hours writing them.

Fair? No. Legit? Yes. That's just how Stack Exchange sites work.

If someone earned enough reputation from a single question/answer, will they have moderation abilities?

Yes, reputation is a fixed number, no matter how it was gained and privileges are given according to this raw number. Is that fair? Yes, in this case it's just a technical matter. If the system will limit the amount of reputation gained from a single post (as requested here and here) then the privileges won't be given beyond a certain point as well.

  • 1
    that is what you get for capping rep gain by day and not by post.
    – SPArcheon
    Dec 14, 2016 at 9:04
  • @Derpy true, maybe worth a new answer focusing on that aspect? Dec 14, 2016 at 9:07
  • 3
    I'd even argue it's fair. They provided content a lot of people found to be helpful and continue to find helpful. Nothing unfair about that.
    – Bart
    Dec 14, 2016 at 9:13
  • 2
    Why would you say it isn't fair? That one answer has clearly helped a lot of people, and they're being rewarded for it. Why is that any less fair than someone who writes 100 answers that have helped fewer people each time?
    – JonW
    Dec 14, 2016 at 9:14
  • @Bart I'm talking about time spent vs. reputation gained. Of course it's justified and the one getting the reputation deserves it, but I'm looking from the perspective of those who spent much more time for less gain. Dec 14, 2016 at 9:21
  • @JonW see comment for Bart ^ Dec 14, 2016 at 9:22
  • @JonW I think it's about popularity of the question , if a problem happened 20 people per day(because of a server error or something) and they find his answer helpful and if this happened for 6 years he can surpass Jon Skeet, I don't think that's fair , I think there should be a limit to the up-votes per each post Dec 14, 2016 at 9:24
  • 2
    @theModerator713 But what about the people who provide genuinely excellent, long-standing answers? Why would it be fair to stop them getting the "reward" for that?
    – Clive
    Dec 14, 2016 at 9:53
  • 1
    @Clive Of cause they should get the reward. but I'm telling there should be a limit. for example , above question happened due to using php version 5.4 instead of 5.6 , So if a similar question happened when changing 5.6 to version 7, thousands of people come looking for a similer answer. I think a reward should be given according to the effort. Dec 14, 2016 at 10:00
  • But why should there be a limit for those excellent answers? You seem to be focused on one side of the coin without considering the other. Limiting the rewards gained by excellent answers because it would also limit the rewards gained by less technically excellent, popular answers, doesn't sound fair either
    – Clive
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:01
  • That's not to say you don't have a point, I think you do, but I don't see how limiting votes or rep gained would be a viable solution @theModerator713
    – Clive
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:09
  • 1
    @Clive ok another example, if windows removed shutdown button tomorrow from all computers , millions of people will search for an answer , if someone answered "open cmd, then 'shutdown -t 0 -r -f' " that will earn millions of reputation. yes that helped lot of people , but he does't deserve it. that's why it is unfair. Dec 14, 2016 at 10:14
  • You seem to be avoiding the question @theModerator713. I understand that there's that one side of the argument, what about the other side? Can I infer from the silence that you think yes, it's fine to limit the reputation gained by excellent answers to stop reputation being gained by the more popular kind?
    – Clive
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:16
  • 1
    @theMod I doubt anyone is being hired based solely on their reputation on SO, if an employer is looking at that and not any content then more fool them
    – Cai
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:25
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard of course, I'm sure it does, but if any employer takes that in to account at all without actually checking it then that is their problem and fault. And not really something SE should take in to account with the reputation system here.
    – Cai
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:33

I really thought, a person who has that much reputation has worked really hard in SO (flagging, voting, editing, commenting, etc).

You should note that there are many users who joined Stack Overflow in the early days and never came back. The user in the question created the account and posted the answer on Jan 31, 2010 at 21:04 and never visited the site again since the posting of the answer, which means he didn't even have time or opportunity to conduct other moderation activities you listed.

4,261 reputation out of 426 upvotes means the OP didn't receive more than 20 upvotes in a single day as the maximum reputation you can get a day is 200 reputation points from upvotes.

But after seeing that I wonder whether I'm wrong. Any ideas?

High reputation doesn't necessarily mean a user is very active in Q&A and moderation activities, especially on a site which has a very high traffic. The user in the question is an example.

If someone earned enough reputation from a single question/answer, will they have moderation abilities? If yes, is that fair?

Stack Exchange gives privileges based on reputation and it doesn't matter how you earned it. Just because one user got 4,261 reputation from just one answer doesn't mean he should have different privileges from a user who got the same reputation from 426 answers. Stack Exchange values the quality of questions and answers, not just their numbers.

  • I updated the question about moderation abilities ? any thoughts ? update your answer if possible , thanks :) Dec 14, 2016 at 12:09
  • @theModerator713 I edited my answer. Please take a look.
    – Rathony
    Dec 14, 2016 at 12:33
  • I have previously stated that accounts should 'lapse' and be closed if people do not return to the site after some period of time. No one agrees with me. But it is not really a 'community' if some people are not really 'here'. "Everything that has a beginning has an ending", and I think that being an active user should follow that rule.
    – user291305
    Dec 15, 2016 at 17:46
  • @OOO StackExchange is a set of sites for asking and answering questions. What is the community? There is no interaction with others you are dealing with their question and not the person.
    – mmmmmm
    Dec 15, 2016 at 22:23
  • Old saying: "Software would be perfect, except for the users." This site would be perfect, except that we can see who is asking and answering questions, especially when it is not a photo, and a meaningless name. If we are not interacting with the person, does the name and image need to be there? Does rep need to be there? Either this falls on one side or the other, and everyone wants to stay on the fence. I don't get it. Rep has no meaning to someone who asked one question and has not returned for 6 years. It also has no meaning to anyone who is active. Like money lost in the sofa: no use.
    – user291305
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:30
  • @OOO What if the user decides to come back and contribute after 6 years? You never know. Also, rep is needed to give privileges and I don't think it is totally useless. If you think SE doesn't need rep, post a question or suggestion. Good luck.
    – Rathony
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:47
  • If I abandoned something for 6 years, I would not expect it to still be there. I might well have forgotten that I was ever on the site by then, or at least how to log in, or why I would want to. If it didn't do anything for me for that long, what would I expect it to do for me later? In other words, I would be a different person: a New user. How long does a 'session' last in a web environment?
    – user291305
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:53
  • @OOO I don't understand what you are talking about. Post a question.
    – Rathony
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:54
  • I know, I know. That has been my experience on all of the SE sites overall. Something blindingly obvious to me that needs no defense or explanation makes no sense to other people. Most of them, anyway. This goes for questions, comments, answers... I have not found another site with as many intelligent people, yet it is behind a mirror, to me. We say the same things and make opposite conclusions.
    – user291305
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:56

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