I want that too - motivation to answer questions. What is yours?

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is a poll question. Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 11:31
  • @ShaWizDowArd - That means primarily opinion-based??
    – Himanshu
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 12:07
  • @hims056 to say the least, lol! Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 12:17
  • Off-topic but I just learned that you cannot remove required tags, but you can rollback to a revision from before they were required.
    – CPlus
    Commented May 13 at 5:16

28 Answers 28


Narcissism. We all crave praise and like being told how smart we are by people upvoting our answers.

  • 3
    Hmm, although I pretty much agree with you, would anyone suggest an evolutionary reason for this? I mean, why would one wish to increase the size of their ego for things that are almost trivial (or which have subtle materialistic value (e.g. value that doesn't correlate to sexual reproduction/acquiring greater finance/control over others/etc))?
    – user784446
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 5:28
  • narcissism is good way to determine ones own self worth in comparison to everyone else. thus you know how much you can "bet" on yourself when trying to survive in this world. its especially good if you can narrow it down to a particular area of expertise.
    – ColacX
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 22:30
  • 1
    Of course NOT! I answer, to give back to the community, that it helped me so much!
    – gsamaras
    Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 18:31

I have an inferiority complex which SO helps to alleviate.

  • 23
    C'mon, Jon, don't be too hard on yourself. Just repeat after me. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Commented Jul 9, 2009 at 12:25
  • @GalacticCowboy You don't? Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 5:05
  • 21
    After a thorough psychological evaluation, the good news is, you don't have a complex! However, the bad news is, you are inferior.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 7:55

The big number next to my name is totally awesome.

Oh, and that warm fuzzy feeling that I get when helping people through their problems.

  • 2
    Funnily enough, the ponies next to TXI's name are the reason I stick around. He goes right, I go left. Go figure.
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 9, 2009 at 2:10

1) There's a certain rush when someone puts you on the spot and everyone else is going to see your answer.

2) It's like a mini project with a sense of completion for only a couple of minutes work.

3) I end up learning a lot just by trying to answer in a way that's clear to someone other than me.

  • 3
    The project i'm working on won't give me real satisfaction for months yet (and it's been running for almost a year). An accepted answer is, exactly as Traples says, like a nano-project, with a tiny hit of satisfaction at the end. Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 0:31

Money Rep for nothing and chicks badgers badges for free.

  • 8
    Maybe get a blister on your ...index finger.
    – Andrew M
    Commented Jul 9, 2009 at 8:22

http://jobs.stackoverflow.com/ :)

  • 3
    Apparently they discourage link-only answers :P
    – user392547
    Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 15:24
  • 1
    But if the answer is understandable without the href, then it's ok.
    – starball
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 22:01

Someone told me that once you hit 50K, you can trade it in for a pony!

  • Going for the necromancer?
    – juan
    Commented Feb 22, 2010 at 2:56
  • 1
    It was only transferred an hour ago. Commented Feb 22, 2010 at 3:43
  • 1
    Perhaps it retains the creation date
    – juan
    Commented Feb 22, 2010 at 13:32
  • 1
    +1 for an answer that comes the closest to being objectively, factually, provably correct.
    – ЯegDwight
    Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 11:30
  • @RegDwight: When I hit 50K, they offered me a bottle of glue--telling me it was ponies :/
    – OMG Ponies
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 1:49
  • That info is wrong. It is actually: "When you hit 200k rep you get a free poney painting signed by SO"
    – BrunoLM
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 13:27

I like being right :)

  • 8
    And more than that, i don't like someone else being wrong. I have to fix that when it happens. xkcd.com/386 Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 0:33



Semi-altruism. I want there to be answers when I have questions. So I answer the questions that I can answer. A kind of "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." Although someone else usually types the answer I would have typed in much faster than I can.


I like to help people when I can - especially when it doesn't take much effort, and results in some level of appreciation/recognition ;-)

And it gives me the illusion that I'm doing something useful (instead of actually working).


Maybe the strong programmer's vices that I tend to see something and I go "Wait! I could solve that!!!"

And proceed to waste about 10 minutes to hours to craft out a perfect solution (in my own eyes, anyway) and relieving the programmer's pride.

(Confidence level: +10)

... Probably the fuzzy feelings like helping others come later that we could rationalize off to other people to hide the real fact.

(... and yes, earning reps and badges are fun, sort of like toys inside packets of junk food meant to lure impulsive kids :p)



(And I hate bad code.)


For me it's

  • Reputation
  • To learn from others
  • To help others in need
  • To learn about other languages

I enjoy helping other people learn something new or solve a problem. For quite awhile I was thinking about getting my PhD and becoming a teacher for this reason. Turns out that I like actually writing software too much to give it up. SO is one avenue to fulfill that original desire of mine to teach. Blogging, which I've only recently taken up -- partly due to enjoying SO so much -- is another way. This way I have the best of both worlds -- and I don't have to write a dissertation!


Because when you teach something to someone, then you yourself learn new things

  • Help people
  • Share knowledge
  • Camaraderie
  • Improve the "state of software"

Rep is a secondary interest to me.

  • 2
    +1 not everybody operates with completely selfish motives. Many people realize that helping others is a reward in itself!
    – maerics
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 23:08

To help form a more active and reciprocal community where more developers, including myself, can find help asap when in trouble.


Definitely the reputation.

What I have found that I do is answer a question as quickly as possible, trying to be the first person to answer. Then, I'll go back and edit it with a better example or more details, hoping to continue to get voted up.

I've found that it takes a lot of effort (for me) to gain a decent amount of reputation points. To get where I am I spent like two days with Stack Overflow open all day on one monitor constantly monitoring new questions and trying to jump in. That's just way to exhausting and time consuming to do on a regular basis though.


I like to write, and I believe it gives me much easier and cheaper motivation to write than my Blog does. The topics are generated for me, and I feel much less need to justify my writing - I already have a waiting consumer.

It also feeds directly into new blog topics from time to time.



I like to solve problems, especially programming related problems. At the same time I learn new things about programming and how to write english better.

That's my motivation.


Coming here, you learn a lot from other programmers. Of course, nothing is built on SO without the users, so what's the harm in answering a question while you're visiting? I usually get that "Oh! I know the answer to his problem!" feeling, and I know that by submitting my answer, I add onto the circle of life that exists between all programmers on the site sharing knowledge.



I answer and ask because I like to learn, I like logic, I like to solve things, I like to know the best way to do things, I like to do things...

My knowledge increases each time I answer or ask questions. It is like putting points on knowledge.

And I know I can trust this community by their reputation and by the votes cast. If I am uncertain of something I wait until people cast votes telling me: "yes, this is right, go for it" or "no, this is wrong, go the other way". And there are a lot of experts living here.

The idea discussed on the latest podcast is really great, to have a lifetime reputation. Because that is what best describes what I really know.

My main goal is to learn and in second place is the reputation. Reputation can show others how much you answered, asked and the quality of your answers and questions. And it shows other things as well. If you are from a contry where the main language is not english you already have "oh look, he speaks spanish but he has high rep on SO, his english might be pretty good".

Reputation will probably help me to find a great job someday. I am centain of this because: "IT IS OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!!!"

And of course, the magic unicorn power overflowing from this website motivates me.


Seeing an unanswered question I know the answer for definitely motivates me to answer it, regardless of rewards.

(Especially when the question is unanswered for months.)


Help people.


Judging from tag counts, people ask questions if they have a C#/.NET problem.

Unanswered Tags: * c#× 2512 * asp.net× 1831 * .net× 1573 * java× 1225


I'm hoping to land the best job ever, obviously.


Shiny baubles and my addictive personality.

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