Why does Stack Exchange choose to track reputation in separate categories? Like you could have 100,000 rep in the Arqade one, but only have 100 over in Role-Playing? And that’s because they reward you with a hundred for ‘trusting you’. Can someone explain the sites' potential reasoning for doing this?

marked as duplicate by gnat, Servy support May 23 '18 at 16:33

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    @gnat I'm not sure how asking why something is the way it is could be a duplicate of asserting how something should be. – Tim Post May 23 '18 at 15:36
  • @TimPost because of the answer over there. As was explained in this announcement, "the proof is in the answers... Neither the person asking nor the person who lands from Google cares if the question has been asked before: they care if it has been answered..." – gnat May 23 '18 at 15:53
  • I agree with @TimPost – Hobo_warrior May 23 '18 at 15:55
  • @TimPost If you wish, you can reopen – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog May 23 '18 at 19:50

From the Help Center:

Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you; it is earned by convincing your peers that you know what you’re talking about.

An expert in computer games might have never ever played a (tabletop) RPG. The only way to prove that he/she's an expert is by contributing to the RPG site itself, gaining reputation on that site in the process.

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    I never cared for that characterization of reputation = how much the site "trusts you". I always thought this was better expressed as a rough measurement of your experience with that site (as this post highlights). – Robert Cartaino May 23 '18 at 15:44
  • @RobertCartaino I agree. If we're basing it on "trust" that seems more about how well you understand the network, not the subject... Reputation is about subject knowledge and ability to write good questions/answers, not "trust". – Catija May 23 '18 at 16:15

Communities self-moderate based on the perceived accuracy and quality of questions and information provided by users. Our system works by letting people with experience (from enthusiast to expert) select for the best information and cause it to rise to the top through voting.

Thus, we need to have a fairly good sense that you can be an objective judge of accuracy and quality in any given domain, and require a few of your contributions within that topic space to be vetted prior to unlocking privileges that let you help the community curate and sort content.

An association bonus is provided to people that have previously demonstrated knowledge of how the software works to unlock basic privileges immediately, but you still need to demonstrate a modicum of knowledge in the topic space to do things like down-vote.

This design (in theory) allows everyone from enthusiasts to experts to upvote the best stuff, while allowing only those with more proven experience to downvote. How that works in practice varies on the objectivity of the topic, and in more subjective cases, who you ask :)

We probably need to do more to help folks new to the site to get enough rep to take on more curation and review roles, especially on sites where it seems like everything you could possibly ask or answer has already been asked or answered. But that's something we plan to work on this year.

So in short, Glorfindel's answer is spot on; I just wanted to put a little more color around it.


I think that whilst some people will be really skilled in one area, they will be completely clueless in another. Also, with the growing number of communities, it makes sense to me to separate them. Whilst some communities overlap quite a bit, some will not be related at all. It's nice to have one sweeping rule across the board rather than some communities being grouped together and others not.

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