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I hesitate to ask questions on Stack Exchange as usually I will get lots of edits and answers, but usually the edits are formatting and spelling, and the answers are simplistic (e.g., read the documentation). I suspect these are just all just to earn reputation points, not to really try to answer my question. I'm spending the time to write up my question because I seriously am trying to find an answer. Instead I get a dozen reactions that don't help, leaving me very frustrated.

Maybe changes in how reputation points are earned are needed? E.g., edits should not count for reputation points?

Any ideas?

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2 Answers 2

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Most edits don't generate reputation for the editor. It's only when the editor has an account with less than 2k rep (or 1k if the site uses "beta" levels—check the site's Help Center page) that the edit (a "suggested edit") must be approved, and on approval, the editor gets 2 reputation, for a grand total of up to 1000 reputation from edits. (There are also badges that can be earned from editing, but even fewer people care about getting those. Also, many editors will edit posts even past the point where they can earn badges.) An increase of 2 rep is chump change, and the user could probably get more reputation by instead spending time posting questions or answers. So, if they knew the answer to your question, I'd expect them to post an answer, but otherwise they're probably editing outside their area of expertise (which is fine—most edits don't require specific subject knowledge).

Make sure to proofread your post thoroughly before submission. There's no way to prevent all edits (nor would you want to—good edits make your post, and therefore you, look better), but this does greatly reduce them.

Likewise, show your research in the question to prevent simple answers explaining things you already know.

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but usually the edits are formatting and spelling

Why wouldn't we want to incentivize this?

and the answers are simplistic (e.g., read the documentation)

If an answer is low quality, you can downvote it. Answers are expected to actually explain something; someone who doesn't think the question merits a proper answer should normally be flagging it as "needs improvement" or voting to close.

suspect these are just all just to earn reps, not to really try to answer my question.

On the contrary: the reputation-seeking behaviour is obsessively answering easy questions with a couple of sentences that directly address the OP, treating the site as if it were a discussion forum or a help desk, without considering question quality (or whether the question is a clear duplicate... perhaps even personally answering the same question repeatedly). Those actions have accumulated a ton of reputation for some people, and it's fundamentally not how the site is supposed to work, but reputation is fundamentally flawed.

as usually I will get lots of edits and answers... not to really try to answer my question. I'm spending the time to write up my question because I seriously am trying to find an answer. Instead I get a dozen reactions that don't help, leaving me very frustrated.

The first thing you need to understand is that this is not how Stack Exchange works. When you write a question, you are not supposed to be just looking for "help" - since "can you help me?" is not answerable anyway. We expect a specific question, and the reason for that is because the Q&A pair will be contributing to a library, not just solving whatever issue you encountered.

If you get lots of edits, that is a sign that there are things you should be fixing in your questions, so that people don't have to do it for you. It comes across that you are upset that people might get two fake internet points for doing something that would have been better off done by you.

If you get lots of "reactions" (I assume you mean comments), that is a sign that your questions are not properly researched or analyzed ahead of time. You should use the per-site meta and Help Center in order to understand what is expected in questions.

If you are "spending the time to write up my question" and still running into these issues, that suggests that there is something you are fundamentally not understanding about how to approach the analysis in order to find the real question. Again, per-site Meta may be able to help with this.

If you want people to do things for you, what are you offering them in return?

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  • Actually, my questions are never, "help". They are usually detailed and I am l looking for a specific answer. The answer would be something a wider audience want to know the answer to - I wouldn't ask otherwise. For example, I asked if running a PWM (pulse width modulation) output driving a motor could be run through an LC circuit then use the output of that as feedback for a rough motor speed regulator (I'm leaving out lots). I never got an answer. I gave up. I feel it was a valid question, and many DIY folks could reduce the complexity of their projects if my hypothesis was correct. Dec 21, 2023 at 0:03

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