I'm an engineer with 20+ Years of Exp in Java/.Net/the kitchen sink/etc. and very regular user of the site.

Sometimes I feel pity for the poor engineer that's going to be stuck with his problem because I can't lend them a hand.

To clarify further, reputation is not supposed to impact an answer being upvotted, but somehow it does, so If you are like me and able to get most answers googling, staking them or plain ol creating the answer you'll rep stays low, so your answers stay low, so the meta question is, it's valid to engineer questions just to fish votes?

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    Are you asking how to answer questions, or ask them? There's some confusion going on with your title and body. – fbueckert Mar 14 '19 at 19:55
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    anyone can answer questions once you created an account. What is the problem you're facing? – rene Mar 14 '19 at 19:55
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    Ask a question(s) that has never been asked before, that's not dumb. Quick way to build reputation. – Moab Mar 14 '19 at 20:00
  • Do note that the community can close questions as well. You'll see the [Closed], [Duplicate[ or [On Hold] at the end of the title. Those questions can't be answered. – rene Mar 14 '19 at 20:06
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    You actually don't even need an account, @rene – Shog9 Mar 14 '19 at 20:08
  • @Shog9 I checked on MSE ... need to login .. but true for SO proper. no account needed. – rene Mar 14 '19 at 20:12
  • yeah.. @rene... MSE is "special" – Shog9 Mar 14 '19 at 20:13
  • It is valid to create valuable content in the form of a question with an answer that might gain votes over time. You are allowed to self-answer so if you have gained knowledge that want to share that doesn't boil down to be better suited for a blogpost you can sure post that. – rene Mar 14 '19 at 20:22
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    Meta post on self-answering: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/314165/… – rene Mar 14 '19 at 20:26
  • I added my comments to post and deleted controversial remark. – Eliezer Garza Mar 14 '19 at 20:51
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    "reputation is not supposed to impact an answer being upvotted, but somehow it does" what do you mean by somehow? In my experience with this site, it does not. There are quite a few significant grammar issues in the third paragraph, so maybe i'm misunderstanding you. – Aethenosity Mar 14 '19 at 21:10
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    I mean... When you see an answer that is upvoted, there's a pretty good chance that you'll also see a user next to it with at least 10 rep. They likely had 10 less rep before the upvote was cast. – user400654 Mar 14 '19 at 21:52

We don't engineer questions to fish for votes. We post questions we self answer because it's an interesting problem that's not well documented or not entirely intuitively clear. If information is outside SE it's a great chance to repackage that knowledge to fit the situation.

I got to 100K reputation on Super User simply by consistently answering questions to the best of my knowledge. I've scaled back but at one point I was focused on answering one question a day (which should easily get you up to 10k quickly).

Everyone starts at 1 (or 101) reputation. There's something to be said for quality posts - no matter what your reputation is. I got to 1.9K on a single answer on U&L with an alternate account, and got to the same amount, roughly, on SU. I've gotten some rep on SO by simply googling, fuzzing links, and solving the problem a user had

As an experienced user - the biggest bit of advice I give users is - stop worrying about reputation. Focus on the quality of your posts, iterate on making them better. Post the answers you feel are useful (then go back and make them better. Learn what your audience likes and you'll have a ton of reputation in no time.


So... There's something very broken with our UI, because this question comes up quite a bit. I mean a lot. Waaaay more often than it should. I say this to reassure you that this isn't your fault, and that you're not alone.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution:

  1. Find the question you wish to answer
  2. Scroll down
  3. Keep scrolling - past any existing answers, past any ads, past any other banners or text... Until you find this: Post Your Answer
  4. Type your answer into the text area, and click "Post Your Answer"

If, instead of finding the text area shown in step #3, you find this:

Protected: "Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site"

...then please see: What is a “protected” question?

To clarify further, reputation is not supposed to impact an answer being upvoted, but somehow it does

Indirectly, yes - it signals that you're new and thus there's no implicit trust. But if someone needs an answer and you're providing it, you'll still get upvotes. So focus on questions that need answers: https://stackoverflow.com/unanswered/tagged?tab=mytags

  • Are you just guessing or did you look into the logs to "spy" on this user? – rene Mar 14 '19 at 20:02
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    I'm just guessing. Honestly no idea why this happens so much, although I have my theories. – Shog9 Mar 14 '19 at 20:03
  • @Shog9 ^ Cheers :-D ... – πάντα ῥεῖ Mar 14 '19 at 20:17
  • maybe add an answer question button somewhere that kicks you down to the post your answer box? ;p – Journeyman Geek Mar 15 '19 at 5:48

Sometimes I feel pity for the poor engineer that's going to be stuck with his problem because I can't lend them a hand.

To clarify further, reputation is not supposed to impact an answer being upvotted

These two lines don't really fit together. If you want to answer a question, in the vast majority of cases you can just do so. That's by design. (Shog has already mentioned protected questions. They aren't common on any site.)

So if the only thing you care about is helping folks that have problems, the site is almost never going to get in your way. And, in fact, since any asker can always give you 15 rep by accepting your answer, and since good answers to even fairly niche questions in boring technologies typically get at least an upvote or two on SO, answering with any regularity and quality is almost certain to get you a decent reputation with a bit of patience. (Well, a lot of patience. I have only 2k rep on SO because I got tired of trying to find questions I could answer better than others already had.)

That said, answering just to help one person, and collecting the odd vote once in a while, is not quite what the site most wants from you. Rather, the site much prefers answers that are helpful to a lot of people, which are frequently seen and frequently prompt someone to upvote when they do see them. If your areas of knowledge happen to coincide with questions that are in demand, you may be able to select questions more strategically and get a lot more rep accordingly. (Determining an algorithm for selecting such questions is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Finally, I have often seen suggestions, or insinuations, that high rep causes increased upvoting. I have never seen a peer-reviewed study on this subject, only gut feelings posted by users who don't have as much rep as they'd like, or as much rep as others. Until I see a convincing statistical proof of this effect, given the undeniable reverse causative link between a writing style and habits that get a lot of upvotes, and gaining a lot of rep accordingly, I'm inclined to write this off as an understandable human mental imprecision around large-scale statistics, combined with a certain amount of envy in some cases. It's certainly possible that the effect does exist, but I don't expect it to be very dominant. And there are absolutely cases where a low-rep, even 1-rep user posts something that explodes with upvotes, because it's just that good.

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