-4

One of my pet gripes about the Stack Exchange sites is how someone with very few solid questions and answers can get a reputation points score that shoot to the moon based on a handful of activity. These are usually very elementary level questions / answers as well, so of course they get the most traffic from beginner folks.

Not to bash anyone specifically, it's no user's fault the scoring is linear, but here's an example: How to make a background 20% transparent on Android.

I mean come on. The top answers for this are basically half the reputation points for the two users that answered it. Yes, it's helped a bunch of folks, but it will continue to rake in the reputation dough for eternity. Even the Beatles (or whoever owns the rights) don't pull in the same royalties per song played as they did when first released and were top of the charts.

The whole idea of a point system encourages competition, but this almost discourages folks spending time on difficult/challenging questions (outside those which have hefty bonuses).

How about a logarithmic scale that kicks in after say 100 votes on a question or answer?

I'm sure this has been tossed around, just curious why to keep the endless linear scale.

6

Reputation works exactly the same everywhere - and as a moderator I don't think there's any mechanism for us to specifically ask "Hey, can we do things completely differently from everyone else. This is a system that's been in place and tweaked over the history of SE so if there's any changes, it wouldn't be at site level.

The daily reputation cap's meant to address outliers like this, least in theory, and serves roughly the same purpose as your proposal I suspect.

Considering my "low reputation" alt account has roughly a kilo-rep from a single answer...

The top answers for this are basically half the reputation for the two users that answered it.

Happens - but in many cases it could be worse. Most of the 'objections' to this are probably philosophical I must say.

One fundamental idea is that votes on a post represent the value of a post to the community - and that doesn't really degrade with popularity. Also, it's probably cheaper to calculate 'simple' up and down votes.

I mentioned the reputation cap, right? It is meant to hande outliers. Let's take an extreme example. Yes, that is John Carmack. Without a repcap, he'd be a trusted, 10K user right now. He has about 6K now from a question that's been popular over an extended amount of time. The repcap acts to smooth out large variations in reputation over a short time, rather than try to 'degrade' the value of a reputation over popularity, as well as making it very hard, not impossible to catch up with Jon Skeet.

The whole idea of a point system encourages competition, but this almost discourages folks spending time on difficult/challenging questions (outside those which have hefty bonuses).

From experience, this isn't really true, and I've gotten more reputation off interesting, unbountied questions than bountied ones. I do admit I do bounty interesting, unanswered questions, or ones where I've felt existing answers were lacking but SE isn't just about the boss fights.

I'd also note there's no real 'competition' in that sense. On the contrary, I feel a certain sense of joy when someone posts a better answer than I could ever had, since it's a great chance to learn. I answer what I know.

  • 2
    The rep cap isn't really there to handle cases like these; the rep cap is there to handle questions that get onto Reddit or Hacker News or other such sites and get thousands of votes in just a few hours, and then get like no votes at all for the rest of their existence. It is those situations that it's designed to handle that it actually handles well, because, as has been shown, people posting trivial questions asked by every beginner still do get lots of rep for their posts, even with the rep cap, in many cases capping out the rep cap every single day for years at at time. – Servy Apr 28 '17 at 14:48
  • "The repcap acts to smooth out large variations in reputation over a short time" which is what I said. I just don't quite get what's the practical advantage of saying "your answer is worth less because its been deemed helpful by too many people". – Journeyman Geek Apr 28 '17 at 14:53
  • 2
    The purpose is because the reason most of those posts tend to get that many votes tends to be unrelated to their quality or usefulness, they're due to unrelated outside factors, like luck, entertainment value (rather than practical usefulness) or positive feedback loops. – Servy Apr 28 '17 at 14:59
3

I like this idea. A lot of votes on a question or answer become meaningless beyond the hundred mark; by that stage it is the relative proportion of ups and downs that matters, not the actual number, and is probably what should be shown instead at the point.

Further, we're all well aware of the bandwagon effect: an answer that has lots of up votes has a higher score, so it gets placed higher in viewing, so it gets more upvotes from the people who see it compared to the other answers, so it has a higher score, so ...

Add to this the notorious HNQ effect: dozens of 101-rep users who will never make another contribution except that vote, and because they're 101-rep, their up votes will be counted and rep given, but their downvotes are not. Those upvotes come from people who often have no idea whether it's a good or bad question, and sometimes know it's bad but upvote because they agree with a sentiment it expresses.

The difference between a +2/-1 and a +3/-2 or between a =4 and a =5 is important. That single vote should matter and be counted in rep fully; it's the difference between meh and okay and useful. The difference between a +41/-4 and a +38/-2, or between a =122 and a =112, is largely academic: sticking another E into "reeeeeeeally good!" is not a signal that serves a useful purpose.

Finally, the problem of one-hit-wonders is real. Not significant, but definitely exists. Fixing it would be a positive side-effect of this otherwise sensible request.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .