Does it become easier to accumulate reputation on this site the more reputation that you have? Is that somehow exponential?


3 Answers 3


You can see the graph of any user's reputation over time by clicking their name/avatar and looking at their profile (on the activity tab)...

enter image description here

Now, everyone's will be different but you'll see it most likely isn't exponential.

That said, it is probably easier to gain rep. But that is more down to the fact that you know how the site works, know what users like/dislike and how others will react and generally know how to post good questions and answers.

There likely is a bias towards users with higher reputation too, because those users have shown to be trusted by the community and on the whole are more likely to post good questions and answers. In practice we should all be voting on content and not users, but in reality reputation more than likely does affect our reaction to content...

How much bias is there in voting?

The problem with reputation: does high reputation attract too many upvotes?


Looking at Jon Skeets Stack Overflow activity profile, there's no evidence for exponential rep growth: enter image description here

  • 5
    And that wouldn't even be possible due to the daily rep cap. That max growth should be linear like here, when one reaches the 200 reps each day.
    – Tom
    Jun 24, 2017 at 9:26
  • @Tom Well, in my comment on the OP mine is linked. Also doesn't look exponential. Jun 24, 2017 at 9:28

The answer is here, in this query:

enter image description here

It is the mean post score as the function of the OP at the time of posting it.

On the horizontal axis is the base2 logarithm of the estimated reputation at the time of the post creation, rounded down. Thus, for example, on "12" you find the users with reputation between 4096 and 8191.

The vertical axis is the average post score belonging to the given reputation interval (for example, on "12" you can see the average post score of the people between 4096-8191 at the time of the post).

As the reputation in a previous time can't be estimated precisely on the SEDE, the reputation is only a rough estimate.

The blue line is irrelevant here (btw, it is the percentage of the posts posted by people in the given rep interval).

What you can see:

  • Yes, the average score increases logarithmically until around 500 rep
  • After that, there is a roughly constant 8 around some 100k of rep
  • Users with the highest reputation of the site get roughly 1.5x bigger score.

Thus, the initially logarithmical answer score growth (per reputation) leads to not an exponential, but to an "integrated logarithmic" growth, what is (roughly, only here) x*log(x).

But it is the meta SE. On other sites (probably the SO is the most interesting for you) there are similar results.

Or check John Skeet on the SO. He has 950000 reputation, and he wrote 33000 answers. He got roughly 30 rep with an answer, which is 3 up.

These extreme players aren't very strong in their mean answer score, they are strong in that you likely won't ever write 33000 posts with +3 mean. If you check somewhere his post history, you will see that he is strong in that he can write these posts like a mortarboard. On the page I cited, he wrote 15-20 answers on a single day.

  • You say Yes, the average score increases logarithmically but the OP asks about exponential growth, which, AFAIK is the inverse of logarithmic growth. Shouldn't it therefor say "No, ..." to answer the question of the OP? Nice query btw.
    – rene
    Jun 24, 2017 at 10:06
  • @rene Thanks :-) Yes, as it increases logarithmically (because there is a roughly linear growth on a log(rep) scale), it means the rep grows roughly as an integral logarithm with the posts (which is roughly x*log(x) ). I wrote the query to know, how the reputation of the answerer affects the score. And the answer is, from roughly 500 rep, it doesn't really affect. I extend the post with the clear answer.
    – peterh
    Jun 24, 2017 at 10:14
  • What is the unit on the x axis? Hours? Can you add it to your answer? Jun 25, 2017 at 21:18
  • @PeterMortensen No, the base2 logarithm (≈ bit length) of the reputation. I included the details in the post.
    – peterh
    Jun 25, 2017 at 21:28

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