Let's say you have a 2000 reputation score in the tag. If you vote on a question/answer that also has the tag you have the same influence as someone who has 0 reputation in that particular tag.

If the purpose of Stack Overflow is to find the best questions/answers then a pure democracy isn't the best way to do it. Everyone can have an opinion, but those who have contributed more will probably have more valuable or better informed opinions than new or inexperienced users.

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    This is a nice try, but still doesn't account for the specificity of knowledge. I might have gotten all of my [java] reputation on questions tagged [swing], but my vote would still count for more on questions tagged [servlets], which I may know nothing about at all. (Assuming they're both also tagged [java], for you non-Java folks.) Jul 15, 2010 at 17:28
  • @Bill the Lizard: That's the problem with tags, there's no hierarchy.
    – Max Toro
    Jul 17, 2010 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


On the Indicate how trustworthy the Upvotes are question, I wrote a long and detailed answer; I'll simply summarize its main points here.

  • We have no way of knowing if they are actually experts. High rep in a particular tag doesn't mean expertise it means participation.

  • People are attracted to high numbers. It won't matter if one answer has ten upvotes, and a total score of 2000, they'll choose the one with two upvotes and a total score of 17000.

  • Reputation (in general) is NOT expertise! Reputation is at best a measure of some part quality answers, and mostly time spent on SO.

  • Another barrier to new people. New people don't have high rep in any tag, so their votes "wouldn't matter".

Basically, we have no way of knowing how and why a user has their reputation, so we can't make any assumptions about their ability to make strong (worthwhile) votes. Also, we know nothing about new users, so it is not fair to assume that their votes are worthless.



Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

We have never been for this, and whenever it is brought up, it is (rightly IMO) voted down heavily.

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    Politicians solve nothing.
    – Max Toro
    Jul 15, 2010 at 18:59
  • I'd mention the voting system at newgrounds if it weren't just a flash game portal... But you're right, no one has come up with anything better than democracy yet. Jul 16, 2010 at 8:28

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