I've noticed that when two or more answers are provided to a question, people's votes tend to gravitate toward the answer posted by the person with higher reputation. I've observed this "rich get richer" phenomenon in nearly every community I am a part of. This even happens in cases where the lower reputation user posts their answer long before the higher reputation user comes along.

I feel like this unnaturally causes people to flock toward one idea/answer, discounting the opinions/views of people with lower reputation.

I understand how reputation is meant to signal one's knowledge of the subject area and the site in general; however, I think these reputation effects prevent people from judging the correctness of the answers themselves.

I would like to hear other's opinions on this. One suggestion I have is to hide the answerer's identity and reputation score for the first 24 hours after a question is asked. I think this would go a long way to resolving this issue.


  • 4
    linking to examples of this phenomenon would improve your case. Statistical evidence even more so. As is, you're just asserting that this happens with no supporting evidence whatsoever. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 20:45
  • @DavisBroda It is through observation, I'm wondering if others have observed the same thing. As for statistical analysis, I doubt this is reasonable as it would require evaluating if the "correctness" of the answer aligns with the score, which is quite subjective.
    – Erik M
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 20:48
  • If your aim is to have better votes on posts, write that feature request. If you spin this around the rich get richer off course you polarized it ...
    – rene
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 21:01
  • I think newer users might vote more on the bases of higher rep == better answer, but what you'll see from other users with a high rep is that they'll hold other high reps user's feet to the fire. Answers that could get new user upvotes might not for higher rep users.\ Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 2:43
  • Note that the conversation on CV which you link to includes answers with pretty compelling arguments that this is not a thing.
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 5:40

1 Answer 1


This isn't quite true. There is indeed a bias in how people tend to vote but it's based on "who posted the answer first". It's known as the "Fastest Gun in the West Problem" and you can read more about that here: Fastest Gun in the West Problem

Also, another thing that might come into play is that people who have written a lot of answers know how to write answers that are more likely to be upvoted. So, the more experience someone as, the more easily they will gain reputation. Which is, when you think about it, quite logical.

  • The way you've answered suggests you feel it's either one or the other. I would posit that both problems could exist, though "Fastest Gun in the West Problem" seems like a bigger issue. *(And, I believe there are plenty of other reputation related issues not encompassed by either problem description)
    – MER
    Commented Feb 13 at 20:57

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