I like the idea that reputation exists. It allows us to make objective considerations on certain people's contributions to the site. However, I noticed that some people who have 2k or more reputation get 95% of their reputation from asking questions.

I think that people with more reputation points should be considered more reputable because of their contribution in answering questions not asking them.


I also like the point that Pavel makes in his comment below. Not all reputation is equal... questions are different from answers, and should this distinction not be made more visibly? Like a ratio split of how the gain has been made? Like I get 80% of my Reputation from ANSWERING... rather then asking questions....


In the words of George Orwell...

not all animals are equal...

And neither is reputation.

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    I'm confused - you say that some 2k+ people get 95% of their rep from answering questions, and then suggest that answering questions is good. Fine, but I'm not sure what the conflict/problem/question is...? – Marc Gravell Feb 21 '10 at 20:09
  • Well, I can find several users who have a lot of reputation, but the majority of their rep is gaine from asking questions. I don't really have a point, this is more of a discussion question since I am curious as to what the concensus it. Is it right that people are merged into one grouping? Should people who ask questions really have more reputation? For example, I have already answered more questions on StackOverflow then some people who compulsively ask questions, yet they have more rep. Its just a rhetorical observation I think. – Laykes Feb 21 '10 at 20:24
  • Ah - so are you talking about the 5%? Your 95% was for answering? – Marc Gravell Feb 21 '10 at 20:26
  • Please see my edit above. Maybe this helps explain? I just don't think that reputation is equal.. – Laykes Feb 21 '10 at 20:29
  • @Laykes: I've edited the first two paragraphs to reflect what I think you were trying to say... If I'm wrong, please clarify! – Shog9 Feb 21 '10 at 20:34
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    BTW: your quote should probably be: "All reputation is equal, but some reputation is more equal than others..." ;-) – Shog9 Feb 21 '10 at 20:39
  • Haha. Thanks :P I just tried to remember how it was said.. – Laykes Feb 21 '10 at 20:55
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  • The quote is "all animals are equal." then of course "SOme animals are more equal than others" – tim Feb 22 '10 at 2:04

I think that one possible solution after thinking about it, might be to provide a ratio of how people are contributing to the community..

  • There will always be people who need to ask questions.
  • There will always be people who contribute by answering.

I personally enjoy answering questions because I feel Alot more valued this way. However, I think that compulsive 'questioners' as these users should be branded is just a bad for the community.

I don't think that people should get plus votes for asking questions. Gaining reputation to then edit peoples threads to contribute back to the community when the user has a proven history of not contributing is just bad bad bad.

Take this user.


He has 3.4k reputation with questions which practically never get over the 2 line mark. I am new to this community, so I can't profess to have been around while things were getting started, nor can say that I have a proven history of contributing back, but a user like this, who will one day hit the 10k reputation mark and then have limited moderation powers isn't really right - surely?

Its kind of like a surreptitous coup... because these users are devaluing the site right? Sure they are asking questions which would not otherwise have been answered... but they are very very poor questions to begin with. Ones which only take 10 seconds of research and then answers which take minutes to provide...

I only have a limit on the amount of time I can answer questions... as I am sure lots of other people do. If you are spending your time answering these kinds of peoples' questions who seem to either be totally stupid or purposefully trying to become the leading kleptomaniac for the award of stupid questions, rather then answering other questions... then I think the community is suffering.

The solution?

I am not sure. I think removing reputation for question asking would be sufficient.

  • I don't want this to turn into a remove reputation for questions... question. But that is just a suggestion. – Laykes Feb 22 '10 at 0:38
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    The problem that creates users like share is not that upvotes for questions are valued the same as for answers, but that it takes five downvotes to counteract one upvote, so marginally bad (and even clearly bad) posts can easily net the user a net positive reputation because of the occasional sympathy upvote. – Ether Feb 22 '10 at 2:00
  • There is the hope, of course, that those users will be heavily outnumbered when they do get the the big 10k. Further, a few have shown signs of learning (eventually) and developing into decent users, and I think that some have quit. It might not be as bad as it looks. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Feb 22 '10 at 4:38

Besides being easier to provide a good answer to a question than it is to provide a good question in the first place, people also tend to vote more on answers than on questions, that's why the electorate badge was created


It's easier to provide a good answer to a question than it is to provide a good question in the first place.

Perhaps I should clarify this.

I'm not saying that there aren't enough questions in total - just not enough good ones. The criteria for up-voting are that "this question is useful and clear", whereas for answers its just "this answer is useful".

So it's easier to provide a useful answer, even when the original question isn't very clear, if only because it points the OP in the general direction of a solution.

Also, a question has to be judged on it's own merits, whereas an answer can be judged in relation to the question.

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    I hate this. I remember the story from my high school math class. The teacher wrote an equation on the board, and I thought, "aha! And what if we do this... hm... oh, no problem, we'll sort it out this way...". A couple of seconds after it another guy from the class asked the teacher out loud, "Mister, and what if we do this? I do not understand!" The teacher explained, and that guy got an A mark for "a good question". And I, having sorted it out on my own, got nothing. Since then I hate when someone thinks that asking questions out loud is a good thing. -1. – P Shved Feb 21 '10 at 20:12
  • *strongly fighting the urge to upvote for sympathy reasons only* (it's not fair he got downvoted because of your particular experience with your teacher, his answer is good, but not good enough that I would want to upvote it if it hadn't been downvoted) – Thomas Bonini Feb 21 '10 at 20:19
  • @Koper: leave it be. -2 points doesn't affect him at all, and people that agree with him will upvote him. – perbert Feb 21 '10 at 20:25
  • while generally I agree, my experience with a number of StackExchange sites is that they quickly die without a steady stream of engaging questions. Once a site is big enough to draw in the hordes the questions seem less important, but without them you don't have a community – Rich Seller Feb 21 '10 at 20:31
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    It's even easier to provide a crap question. – nb69307 Feb 21 '10 at 20:45
  • But the good thing is that most of them get blown away pretty quickly. – Michael Todd Feb 21 '10 at 20:51
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    @Michael You are joking? The site is drowning in dupe, "fun", and simply meaningless questions, almost all of which are getting upvoted. – nb69307 Feb 21 '10 at 20:54
  • @Neil, I start to think that we've merely answered them all. At least, in [C++] tag. – P Shved Feb 21 '10 at 21:01
  • @Pavel Well, certainly a lot of them :-) But apparent dupe questions do crop up that expose issues that even experienced C++ users aren't sure about, like this one stackoverflow.com/questions/2305480/… today. – nb69307 Feb 21 '10 at 21:07

If a person is capable to write an answer, he or she is also capable to write a question for this answer.

Imagine a site, where only questions without answers are posted. Is it helpful?

Now imagine a site where everyone posts answers. Each answer just has to contain a question it's answering to, or refer to a problem it's solving. Just like a collective blog, where everyone shares experience. The thing is that it will be way more useful.

No wonder that answers are valued more. They're just more useful to the world.

  • hmm you don't make a lot of sense. There can't be a site where everyone posts only answers; by definition in order to answer you need a question. Sure, you can ask the question yourself and then answer it, but even in that case there is a question and zero or more answers. -1 for misleading play of words. – Thomas Bonini Feb 21 '10 at 20:21
  • @Koper, you don't need a question to write an answer. You need a problem. While question is just an expressed and written problem someone encountered and isn't capable to solve. That's not just a play of words, that's the way things work. – P Shved Feb 21 '10 at 20:31
  • As @Rich Seller said above, take a look at many of the dead Stack Exchange websites. The problem is no one asking question, not no one answering. I'm sure the website owner and his friends are very eager to help, but there just aren't enough questions to keep the site going. This is not a blog, it's a Q/A site, and questions are vital. – Thomas Bonini Feb 21 '10 at 20:36
  • @Koper, I agree that questions are vital. But for each 5 people, who are capable to ask a question, there is just 1 to answer it. Who should be valued more? And a number of people asking the questions is (a) a problem of marketing, and (b) a problem of the diversity of the domain in subject. It's not the problem of quality. – P Shved Feb 21 '10 at 20:40
  • Well, let's put it this way: in the stack overflow community specifically having 1 more answerer (at least now) will be better than having 1 more questioner. With that, I agree. But how complicated should things be? How do you calculate exactly the value of a question compared to the value of an answer? Especially since its value will change over time (maybe in the future we'll have more people answering so questions will be more important). Since reputation is not that important after all I prefer the keep it simple principle – Thomas Bonini Feb 21 '10 at 20:45

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