I have noticed that I tend to get more reputation for similarly elaborated answers the higher reputation I have. And also that people with 1 reputation tend to get no up-votes at all in less populated flags when a similarly interesting question/answer by someone with higher rep does.

Is there such thing as runaway reputation? Or am I just imagining things?

BTW, this phenomenon is unrelated to reputation momentum.

Reputation momentum (or Building a Perpetual Reputation Machine)


I believe your cause-effect thinking is a bit backwards (like asking if people tend to drive faster because they get in a lot of accidents).

People vote on your content because it is helpful. You start building up reputation the more you contribute. The more you contribute the better you get at it. The better you get at it, the more people will vote for your stuff.

There might be a minor "celebrity effect" in play when you are repeatedly rewarded for your contribution. In that sense, having a higher reputation will attract attention to your answers. But that attention in and of itself doesn't translate to up-votes. Your answers have to continue being better to get the up-votes.

It's like the great actor who gets to make a lot of movies: Soon, people go see a movie solely because the actor is great. But, if the actor doesn't continue to deliver, people soon stop rewarding their contribution.

  • What celebrity do you think Jon Skeet would be if he were an actor, given your analogy? – Corey May 30 '10 at 3:05
  • @Corey Sarnia Michael Jackson – Itay Moav -Malimovka May 30 '10 at 3:14

Is there such thing as runaway reputation? Or am I just imagining things?

I've read that if you are in a happy state, your brain will remember everything around it. So when you've read an awesome answer by someone, the next time you see an answer from him you'll get a warm feeling regardless of the quality of the answer. So yeah I think giving good answers makes it more likely that people appreciate your next answer. (And the reverse :))

It's probably a good thing.

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