On Area51 each user can post up to five questions on any proposal. Any given proposal could have 5x its follower count in questions (not counting questions from non-followers), creating a glut of questions. Further, because you can earn rep from your questions we're encouraging people to ask as many questions as possible.

The end result is that some proposals are hard to follow because they have too many questions. Worse yet, some proposals fail to gain traction because the large number of questions cause the votes to spread out too much.

I think we can fix this by charging rep to suggest questions (perhaps giving the first one away for free). This way, you have to be fairly certain your question is good enough to earn votes before you post it (so you'll make your rep investment back).

What do you guys think?

2 Answers 2


I like this, because it encourages users to put some thought into their questions (and remove questions that don't gain any traction). Also, it makes rep useful on A51, which it currently is not.

My preference would be for a system that gives followers one free question per proposal. Each additional question costs 50 points. This means users who consistently suggest good (well, on- off-topic-voted) questions eventually have the rep to propose as many as they want, while limiting the number of questions users have to sort through when voting.

  • basically +1, but 50 rep is quite a lot for someone who just confirmed his email... Sep 15, 2010 at 8:51
  • @Tobias: Only if you're looking at it as something to be accumulated vs. spent.
    – Shog9
    Sep 15, 2010 at 11:20

I'm not very active on A51, so maybe I get the current situation wrong, but from my SOFU experience, I doubt that this is a good idea.

People love their arbitrary numbers. And they are afraid of losing points. Most people have not enough self-esteem to say "Wow, I produced a perfect example question, I should post that."

The opposite is true. They are uncertain, shy, afraid it could be bad. Many people would not post.

To see it from a different angle: if the question collection period is used as a brainstorming phase, where everyone can post shit, not afraid of the consequences and the good stuff flows to the top, then you stop the whole process with this proposal. On the other hand, five votes are not enough for filtering.

  • I agree - it might raise the threshold too high for posting questions. Having said that, you don't know until you try. Sep 14, 2010 at 19:17
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    My first inclination would be to allow unlimited votes. That's exactly how Area51 started. Now you can only vote for 5 on-topic and 5 off-topic questions. So we get tons of question suggestions and few votes. If we're not going to have unlimited votes, I'm suggesting we encourage fewer questions. Yes, people love their numbers - that's what will make it work!
    – user27414
    Sep 14, 2010 at 19:31
  • @Mark I think we've already had a "try" with the implicit cost of bad questions that get voted not a good example.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 14, 2010 at 19:32
  • @Grace - so you'd probably need to have a bigger gap between amount of rep at start and amount of rep to post questions to give you a bit of a chance (and then gain rep with good questions). You could call it a greater area of Grace. =:-) Sep 14, 2010 at 19:56

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