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What does your reputation mean to you?

Enlighten me, my fellow digital sharecroppers, what's the point of all these reputation points?

Other than being able to proffer the good deed number points on bounty questions, I am unable to see any other benefits.


It's good for satisfaction of your own ego.

UPDATE: 2.5 years later I can confirm you get no benefit from your reputation points whatsoever. You're better off building rep on any freelancer site out there.

  • 5
    Ego and of course digital glory. – Laurent Etiemble Dec 8 '09 at 14:12
  • same thing surely? – blank Dec 8 '09 at 16:44
  • 1
    Can't tell if disgruntled or just trolling :-) – RivieraKid May 11 '12 at 15:17
  • @RivieraKid Perhaps a little bit of each! ;-) – Andrew Barber May 11 '12 at 15:34

A higher reputation means the site trusts you more - so it will let you edit posts, vote to close questions etc. See the FAQ for details.

Oh, and it's fun too.

  • 3
    It's always fun when you're winning ... mere mortals(!) have to live with just trying. ;) – blank Dec 8 '09 at 16:48
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    Oh it's been fun forever - and it did take me around three months to get to the top. – Jon Skeet Dec 8 '09 at 17:17
  • .. how could you get away with saying this and nobody noticing ... ha ha ha .... why didn't all the jealous folks toast you on this one ... man that would have been fun too – mumtaz Feb 2 '11 at 18:12

At 200k rep you get a free pony

  • 3
    liiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeees! As far as you know... – Jeff Atwood Dec 8 '09 at 15:16
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    that is not true - but if you close your account cake will be served immediately – Steven A. Lowe Dec 8 '09 at 15:17
  • 2
    The pony is a cake! Or the lie is a pony! Or something! – mmyers Dec 8 '09 at 16:12
  • There's no such thing as a free pony unless you're the one giving it away. – tvanfosson Dec 8 '09 at 17:13
  • 3
    Free pony?! Sqeeeee – OMG Ponies Dec 8 '09 at 21:59
  • Can I trade in early and pay the difference? – juan Dec 9 '09 at 13:43
  • I've heard that you'd have to give 1 waffle by missing rep point. Not sure it's worth it... – marcgg Dec 9 '09 at 14:07
  • What would be the cash prive equivalent? – Troggy Dec 9 '09 at 15:47

It encourages participation by assigning each person a relatively meaningless number. Due to human (male geek) psychology, this number is automatically associated with self-worth, bigger numbers being necessarily better. Competitive behavior then ensues as members vie for the biggest rep number.

For some individuals this process is more conscious and deliberate than for others. Nevertheless, it is fantastically successful at getting people to participate, and to do so in a manner which will accumulate reputation points.


Apart from the obvious 'ego' answer, maybe your future employer is impressed. See http://careers.stackoverflow.com/ and http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/12/02.html

  • Impressed by your "ego" or what? – user136634 Dec 8 '09 at 14:10
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    impressed by how helpful and knowledgeable you are. If I get two resumes, and one of them is Jon Skeet, I don't read the other one ;-) – Steven A. Lowe Dec 8 '09 at 15:16
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    Now I know what pseudonym to choose for my resume. – user136634 Dec 8 '09 at 20:07

The reputation is a measure of how useful you've been by answering or by asking questions as a sum.

But there are many caveats, answering general questions that have a large audience will yield you more rep than answering niche questions, therefore reputation is not an indication of how broad your knowledge is.

Answering highly technical or technology specific questions will yield you less reputation, therefore reputation can't measure how deep or advanced your knowledge is.

Also there are reputation caps to consider.

Therefore reputation is simply a crude measure of activity on the site combined with how much the community appreciates your answers.

Also my definition simply is: "a number that people like to watch how it grows".


Some companies look at the Rep on SO and offer promotions etc. They see it as a way of figuring out who is interested in technology and target those people to try and get them to use their products.

  • 1
    Like telerik...they offer free downloads after 10K – Vincent Ramdhanie Dec 8 '09 at 17:24

When Jeff and Joel luck out and sell Stack Overflow to Google for $$$WONGA then we'll all be sent the monetary equivalent of our reputation.

  • +1, I hope this includes Super User as well! Would love to trade Rep for Cash!... Mind you, isn't that what the careers section is for!? – William Hilsum Dec 9 '09 at 16:23

You can trade reputation for upgrades. For my next two I'm getting Action Boy and telescopic vision.

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