Since one posted a problem that other people can benefit from, one should receive reputation points for every answer, even if the answer doesn't solve your problem.

Sometimes the 'marked as correct' answer is not the right answer for you, so the questioner should receive reputation points for providing a question with multiple solutions.

Why wasn't awarding reputation points based on the number of answers a question received considered?

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    @gnat it's not entirely clear to me, but I think the OP means that upvotes to answers should increase the reputation of the user asking the question as well. – Glorfindel Oct 16 '18 at 10:19
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    This isn't a duplicate of the questions proposed. It's not asking how reputation works overall, or the mechanics of self-answers. What's being asked is why an entirely different mechanic (rep based on people finding your question answerable enough to write something) wasn't considered. – Tim Post Oct 16 '18 at 11:48
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    Also, this isn't a feature request asking to add such a feature, it's just a discussion about the concept. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Oct 16 '18 at 12:08

You get reputation for the content you write. From the FAQ:

[Reputation] reflects, to an extent, your familiarity with the site, the amount of subject matter expertise you have and the level of respect your peers have for you. It can generally only be gained when other users of the site approve of the content you provide.

Since it's possible to write a good answer to a bad question (there's even a badge for it), and vice versa, it does not make sense to award reputation to a question based on the answers it receives. If it's a good question, it will get upvotes itself (and provide reputation for the author).

Conversely, if you would write a good question and it gets a heavily downvoted answer, would you accept deduction in reputation as well?


In addition to the reasons Glorfindel mentioned, this would increase the surface area for abusing the reputation system. Let's say you have one main account and five 'puppets' that you use to support the main account.

The main account asks a question. The five puppets all up-vote that question and answer it, and then the main account up-votes all answers by the puppets.


  • Increases the rep each puppet account can give to the main account (by voting for the question and answering it)
  • Conceals puppet shenanigans to a broader extent; folks would begin seeing duplicative, often unnecessary answers as more commonplace

Currently, we stop this sort of behavior through automated scripts and users paying close attention to the quality of posts that gain a significant positive or negative score. Adding another layer of how reputation points can be earned would just make detecting attempts at gaming the system more complicated.

From an engagement perspective, finding ways to help new users earn more points early-on is a big goal; loss-aversion alone is a major reason for people to commit to maintaining and advancing a single account in good standing. But, we can't do things that risk people getting privileges before they've shown the breadth of experience needed to use them. So, the quest becomes more looking for small units of work new users could perform more regularly, and then incentivize that with a small amount of reputation points for each (such as the suggested edit system).

Increasing the reputation points earned for something we've already got, or adding multiple ways of getting reputation points for the same thing tends to be problematic, both from a 'game' and engineering standpoint.

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    Within the broader scope of sock puppet activity, I believe this would be a minor concern. There are hundreds of people getting away with serial voting each week, and only egregious cases are usually reversed. This would increase the abuse surface area yea, but I believe the surface area is already plenty. I don't believe the suggestion is good for Stack Exchange, due to the other points you've raised, but I don't think serial voting prevention is a valid factor in it not being good. – Magisch Oct 16 '18 at 12:25
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    @Magisch It could be that you'd need to actually see a farm of puppets grown rapidly and have to deal with their wake across multiple sites (thanks, association bonus). Any more rep that one account could legitimately transfer to another would have doubled the 'harvest rate' (or more). Think of it in terms of thousands of accounts, because that's what we've dealt with - it seems minor until you think of it at that kind of scale (kinda like how 1.3% interest seems low, unless it's on millions of dollars). – Tim Post Oct 16 '18 at 12:36
  • Are large sock puppet rings actually common to count for this discussion? The hundreds a week are usually isolated incidents or office comeraderie. If the mods are aware of one of these happening, does it really matter at that point if the accounts have 200 or 400 rep when you inevitably nuke them all? – Magisch Oct 16 '18 at 12:39
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    @Magisch Yeah, they are. While they happen infrequently, cleaning them up takes a considerable amount of time, effort and coordination. We always have to look at that angle when we contemplate new ways to earn rep, or ways existing things can earn more. Right now, it's just a bit too much hassle to raise large farms unless you're doing it as part of a self-promotion / spam scheme. Making it any easier? That lowers the bar to entry, which we have to watch out for. I'm not saying it dooms any idea, it's just something we have to be conscious of. – Tim Post Oct 16 '18 at 13:01
  • speaking of voting rings, do you plan to do anything about one I discovered recently? I just re-checked the sock account I reported few days ago and they seem to be actively voting up other ring members. To avoid meta effect, you can find exact post I am talking about in my most recent retracted flag at SO: stackoverflow.com/users/flag-summary/… (you can see it only with dev/mod access) – gnat Oct 19 '18 at 8:06

While you don't get reputation, you get exposure.

Each new answer bumps the whole question to the top of the questions list (default sort is activity), thus giving chance for more upvotes for the question itself as well.

Also, in some cases, good answers given quickly enough cause the question to reach the Hot Network Questions list, featuring it in every site sidebar and giving it tons of exposure, usually resulting in many upvotes for the question.

So I'd say answers already give enough. No need for actual reputation given.

  • @Pierre.Vriens while true, it is not related to answers so not relevant to the question. Thanks anyway and good to see you around! – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Oct 17 '18 at 19:31
  • O . K . – Pierre.Vriens Oct 17 '18 at 19:33
  • BTW, just found a workaround for the minimum length of a comment (iO.K. is not at least 15 chars, only 4 ...) – Pierre.Vriens Oct 17 '18 at 19:36
  • See the sandbox for examples of totally "empty" comments. Don't remember how it's done, something with unicode invisible character. :) – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Oct 17 '18 at 20:45

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