As I'm new on Stack Overflow I wanted to share my point of view regarding reputation score.

I think it's unfair and discouraging for newcomers that old users have billions in score on Stack Overflow.

I think it's great to reward great questions and answers, but when you see old users reaching crazy scores just from one question or answer - I don't know - it feels kind of discouraging.

They gain so many gold badges from those questions. Maybe that's enough?

  • How about above 1000 limit the gain of score to 1 point/vote? -> that would still be a lots of points

It does not have to be exactly like that but just a decrease of gain proportional to the number of votes (maybe multiple levels - such as 5 points above 100 than 1 /per vote above 1000…)

I’ve explained why i think it’s important in the comments - i think it’s even more important now that we can’t see how old an account is on the user’s profile

I just think reputation shouldn’t be calculated based on an answer posted 10 years ago about how to use your mouse to click…

It should instead incentive answering hard questions & bring more competition between new & old users which enables our field to reach new highs

  • 9
    I think this discussion would be a lot easier to have if you added some actual arguments to your post about why this is unfair and discouraging. Because right now, all there is, is your thought/feeling that it is, without further explanation. Which makes having a reasonable discussion impossible since we don't know what arguments we are supposed to be countering. If you don't want people to end up telling you that your feelings or thoughts are wrong, you'd better come up with a few arguments they can counter instead.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 8:46
  • That one post was submitted over 11 years ago. It's the top voted post too? Why not visit questions posted 3 or 4 years ago? And see if users gained "billions" of rep since then? No, they haven't. Badges are meaningless, it's reputation that carries more weight and significance. Post great answers and see the upvotes flood in, it can still happen. Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 8:50
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    I think it’s unfair because to some degree i think your score should reflect the amount of effort you’ve put into helping the community - i’m not saying you should not gain reputation above a certain limit on Q or A - but just less
    – user1049354
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 8:53
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    The current system seems to reward broad easy questions on new tech while not as much Questions or Answers on focused & harder topics - it’s okay & natural but there should be a limit for this gap not to be too big
    – user1049354
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 8:54
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    Related: Limiting rep per post - "the highest reputation posts come from being the first to answer easy questions on new technology" Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 8:58
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    How long have you been a member on SO? Until yesterday I would have saved time asking you, in any case, SO has changed over the years. It was more tolerant of "easy" questions, and turned a blind eye to users who didn't show any effort or shared any of their attempts to fix problems. It was smaller, it was easier to manage, users felt more united in a common vision, provide the Internet with great content and great solutions. Those days are over. Stack Overflow is more like an infestant, it's unwieldy, the early plants continue to grow but new seedlings find it difficult to thrive. Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 9:01
  • @Ihita Naidu: You are correct that the reputation points system is unfair. But status quo is the order of the day. Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 9:01
  • Reducing the amount of rep from 10 to 1 after reaching 100 upvotes is of course going to be hugely unpopular. What do those users affected by the new policy gain? Blood will be spilt if the company adopted this idea! (I'm kidding) You have no idea... no wait just look at the number of downvotes (-172) about the changes in user profile pages Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 9:28
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    What I don't understand is how my reputation is preventing you to kick in? Except that you feel discouraged. What did you expect instead after 66 actions in 3 weeks with 10 votes cast, 0 edits and 0 flags? It takes some dedication to contribute to the canonical collection of knowledge SO wants to be. In that sense it discourage participation for those that hoped to find another forum.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 9:59
  • Also worth noting that less then 50,000 users got > 125 reputation from only one post: data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/1444618, the other 15,000,000 had to dedicate serious time to get anywhere. I'm not sure I want to discourage those by lowering how we value their contributions.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


I think it's unfair and discouraging for newcomers that old users have billions in score on Stack Overflow.

That's... really a problem with the mindset of newcomers: They compare themselves with people that have had years and years of time to reach a certain 'goal', and want to reach something similar in a month, or 24 hours. That's not realistic. If you do want to compare yourself, compare yourself to your peers, so people that started around the same time as you, under similar circumstances.

If you really want to compare yourself with users that were active when a site just started and the 'easy' questions were lying around for anyone to ask, don't compare yourself with their score now, but with their score the way it was when their account was your age. You could do this 'for fun', but realize that you're making a comparison that's similar to comparing the financial stability of someone that's 25-years-old in the US now, with someone that was 25-years-old in the US in the 60s: for the current average 25-years-old buying a home is a lot less easy than for the one from the 60s.

I think it’s unfair because to some degree i [sic] think your score should reflect the amount of effort you’ve put into helping the community

That's not what reputation on these sites is for! From the help center page: Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you; it is earned by convincing your peers that you know what you’re talking about. Reputation doesn't reflect effort, it reflects whether you know what you are talking about. So giving people less reputation just because there's no longer any 'effort' makes no sense: the reputation they get awarded, they get because their posts are still relevant to others, their solutions still work, they still know what they're talking about.

Even if reputation were to reflect "effort", and be given out for e.g. casting close-votes, casting delete votes, raising spam flags and other efforts that keep these sites clean and useful, in a healthy system a new user will never catch up with an older user if they're both putting in the same effort. It would quickly become unhealthy to try to do 10 years of effort in a month: That would mean resorting to things like robo-reviewing, and that's not a good effort that leads to a quality site.

In the end, we're talking about a bunch of pixels on a screen here. Comparing your arbitrary number to that of others is not the healthiest way to exist on the internet. Don't rely on a comparison to others to build your self-confidence or get a dopamine release. Instead, realize that whenever someone upvotes your posts as helpful, or whenever you do your part in keeping these sites clean and useful, you've done your job and can be satisfied, proud, or whatever else you need to feel. There's no need to change the reputation system for you to be able to feel that way.

It should instead incentive answering hard questions & bring more competition between new & old users which enables our field to reach new highs

You think that just because people will no longer earn reputation for a very, very useful post, they suddenly will have both the expertise and the motivation to just go answer 'hard' questions? That's not how any of this works...

These sites aren't here to 'enable our field to reach new hights'. They are here to build a library of knowledge, where people can find what they are looking for. You're free to add as many questions and answers to that library as you can provide (as long as you don't end up quality banned), but in the end, usefulness is determined by how many people find the information you add to the library, and can use it. Not by how 'hard' the question was to answer.