Let's assume that on Stack Overflow I have been asking and answering questions strictly in c programming and I acquire 200k reputation simply because I breath c programming and nothing else.

If I then wish to answer a Javascript question, my 200k reputation means nothing with respect to the javascript experience domain. It means something regarding programming in general, adhering to SO rules, and other things too. But not to Javascript experience or knowledge, because I have never touched it. If I post an answer that is acceptable, after having researched for the solution, I am quite certain some users will glance over it first before other answers by users with less reputation but more experience in the field, simply because I have more rep. Some users will jump to using my solution simply because they think my high rep means I'm a Javascript god and know what I'm doing. In this case here my rep could be displayed fully, but under it with something like (~1000) where if you hover over that, it says trusted in other domains. And as my Javascript question and answers and involvement increases, the (~1000) slowly increases accordingly, and the description goes to Trusted within Javascript. Something like that. I really feel like the reputation system cripples this site to some extent.


I know what reputation stands for. Im just stating that it is viewed by some in the wrong way. Subconsciously and consciously too. And thats a problem that affects many things on StackOverflow for example.

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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/22130 – user392547 Dec 19 '18 at 6:16
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    Reputation should not be used as an indicator of knowledge. It only shows an estimate (an unreliable one) of a person's familiarity with the mechanics of the site. – user392547 Dec 19 '18 at 6:18
  • @Chair I agree. But unfortunately reality is not like that, hence my suggestion. – user870565 Dec 19 '18 at 6:19
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    Reality's not like what? There are plenty of extremely knowledgeable users with low reputation, and there are people who gain mounds of reputation by asking bad clickbait questions. – user392547 Dec 19 '18 at 6:20
  • @Chair I am absolutely on your side Chair. Its only that subconsciously one’s mind assumes exactly what I mentioned in my post. I have experienced it myself. If you disagree then I can only assume ignorance, naiveness, or other mental incapabilities in relating to non obvious things. – user870565 Dec 19 '18 at 9:16
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    Of course, it's very difficult to avoid associating rep with knowledge, even for those who know what it actually means: we all do it to some small extent. But we shouldn't encourage people to think in that manner, as this feature request suggests: we should discourage it. There's some reason in saying that we should work with the constraints (like people misinterpreting the rep system), but I think that optimizing such that rep's a dedicated indicator of knowledge opens up too many new issues. – user392547 Dec 19 '18 at 9:40
  • So are we going to discourage it by ignoring it, and bringing down people that bring it up? I have simply stated my opinion and suggestion here. And i am now blamed for viewing rep in that sense... i am actually trying to help avoid this thing going on. Its like the police shooting me down for stating that their system is corrupt, instead of working with me. – user870565 Dec 19 '18 at 9:44
  • I'm not attacking you for misinterpreting the rep system: I've mentioned that it's something everyone (including me) does, to some extent. I don't know what exactly is being done to stop people from correlating rep and knowledge, but yes, that shouldn't be ignored. I don't see why you're perceiving personal attacks: I myself believe that the problem you mentioned (rep being misleading about a person's knowledge about a particular tag), but the solution you proposed has a few painful flaws. But I don't have any ideas for a better solution. – user392547 Dec 19 '18 at 9:54

Well essentially reputation is, as we often call it, imaginary internet points.

They don't really reflect anything other than X number of people chose to vote a certain way, though its useful as a way to determine privileges. We judge answers not users.

John Carmack has an unregistered account on super user, used to answer a single question based on a statement he made on twitter.

I don't even know how he found it. It has 1315 upvotes (essentially 13130 reputation if not for caps) and 6112 reputation due to repcaps. Does John Carmack with 1 rep have a worse answer than he has with 6112 rep?

No, cause he's John Carmack.

On the other hand, I've been slowly shedding reputation from my alternate account on deserving bounties, cause I got most of that reputation off a oneliner of useless knowledge.

I have a great counter example of high level users who are great at gaming the system, but don't really have quality answers, but.. that's drama fodder.

Reputation follows quality and consistancy (sometimes), and I don't think people should confuse high rep with high quality.

If you must see about how good someone is at a tag - tag badges work.

On the gripping hand - knowledge in one field carries on in another - and if you know one language you are often able to understand at least the concepts behind a problem.

So, the value in showing a user's reputation in a tag or domain is marginal IMO.

  • Thank you for this. At least you are not accusing me of viewing reputation in the wrong way. I do not. But I do recognise how it can be viewed the wrong way, subconsciously or even consciously, hence my post. You have taken the time to provide your opinion, which makes sense. I really dont know what happened to discussing a topic. It seems like some people have downvotes my post simply because they dont like the idea, not that it is a bad post. Oh well. Cheers for your answer. – user870565 Dec 19 '18 at 9:33

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