Also see: Should the weight of downvotes be increased?


Is this really an exact duplicate, and so deserving to be closed? It may lead to an ultimately similar discourse, but Rich B's request for a specific and precise remedy of the reputation scoring system isn't the same as my question.

My question is abstract and somewhat subjective, what is reputation in regards question-asking, what will happen to SO if it incentivises noise? I think I've developed the question sufficiently for it to be different to the linked question.

Is that not the true meaning of meta? In the generic, what is the nature of reputation?

Is the question "Shall we go for lunch?" an exact duplicate of "Why do I feel hungry at lunchtime?" It would depend what you assume is in the mind of the asker of the 2nd question (you might assume they are saying hinting to go to lunch), but that is highly subjective.

I'm not complaining about the user asking the questions - but the points system seems to reward some participants to ask low quality questions.

Is an answer not its own reward?

This is an example user that I've seen asking a spate of C++ questions over the last few days. Some of the questions have since been re-edited, with the most egregious errors removed. But I can't understand given that C++ is what he mentions on his profile that he can possibly have gotten to 3500 on the back of his lack of knowledge on the subject.

See Revision 1

What can you say?

  1. pair<const char*, const char*> as a map key?
  2. To ask whether assigning to a std::string alter its memory address such that a reference that is taken to it will alter?
  3. the map value type parameter is a reference type?

Follow-up question continues...

How on earth can someone get to 3500 on the back of such nonunderstanding of the programming language? I really don't see the point in bothering on this website when the competition is volume over quality.

Surely an answer is its own reward. Basically anyone with a large collection of points has no claim to particular merit, if a situation persists where the non-experts can rack up the points through the tedium of asking questions.

I know this user didn't get all his points asking C++ questions. But he has got, say about half of them. Can you get a silver badge in C++ for just asking questions like:

  1. "When should I use a ThreadLocal variable? How is it used?" (+11 votes)
  2. "Should C++ eliminate header files?" (+14 votes)
  3. "When should I use private inheritance?" (+8 votes)

How is that 330 points of contribution?

Part of the motivation to participate in answering to some degree is that it's a game and people like to score points. That seems to be undermined when you have people equally rewarded for asking dozens of very average questions.

There's nothing wrong with not knowing and asking. There something wrong when people rack up points for asking questions which are pre-university level.

It is a rewarded behaviour, at the cost of question answerers.

The balance of any rewards system should be to encourage the knowledgeable to participate. There is natural motivation for people to ask questions and need answers. The website will otherwise run the risk of being deluged by the ill-informed with no real knowledge that are perversely incentivised to spam away.

I see evidence this is already in play.

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    This user has been the subject of much discussion already, mainly focused on the reputation generated from asking bad questions repeatedly. – mmyers Jul 21 '09 at 16:18
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    Ha! And it wasn't Rich B or myself who made this question! – TheTXI Jul 21 '09 at 16:18
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    Also, you can't get a specialist badge by asking questions. Only (non-wiki) answers count towards it. – mmyers Jul 21 '09 at 16:19
  • That was a joke - but I wonder what motivates people to be downvoting this? I spent time to ask an intelligent meta question reasonably, it seems that censorship is the order of the day. – user131831 Jul 21 '09 at 16:30
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    @polyglot: Down voting is not censorship. You posted a duplicate question that is less appropriate than the one that is already posted. We do not encourage picking on specific users here. Also, when you brag about all the rep you will get on the back of the question you duplicated, that is bound to turn some people off. – GEOCHET Jul 21 '09 at 16:32
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    I wasn't bragging I was being sardonic and self-referential, particularly considering the content of the post. In any case, any down voting will remove the conversation from being discussed, which I think would be a pity, which will be an implicit censoring of the topic. My specific point is that rewarding question-asking is a perverse reward. The points regime which rewards ignorance as it is will disincentivise those that the community needs the most. I certainly feel disincentivised after coming across this user. This is why I decided to spend some times and write this piece. – user131831 Jul 21 '09 at 16:41
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    @Polygot: How in the world does down voting remove conversation? – GEOCHET Jul 21 '09 at 16:54
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    I was going to participate in this discussion but noticed the question's upvotes match its downvotes. I only discuss questions whose score has a magnitude of .35 or greater. – Welbog Jul 21 '09 at 16:58
  • Maybe it's my mistake I thought the effective visibility of any question was a product of the time it was written and the number of votes it had received, i.e. it was a priority queue. – user131831 Jul 21 '09 at 17:02
  • @polyglot: Depends on how you look at it. There's also the matter of view, vote and edit velocities, which affect the "hotness" of questions. Personally, I look at questions by time only. Occationally, I like looking at the questions which are downvoted to oblivion for a laugh. Either way, it's easy to see downvoted questions. – Welbog Jul 21 '09 at 17:06
  • @polygot: So why make such assertions about something you clearly do not understand? – GEOCHET Jul 21 '09 at 17:15
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    (-1) Your quite reasonable question also came across as a personal rant against a particular person, rather than just a question about the way the system works. – devinb Jul 21 '09 at 17:23
  • Also "egrarious errors" should be "egregious errors" – devinb Jul 21 '09 at 17:26
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    @Rich B: Very patronising. Bravo my friend. – user131831 Jul 21 '09 at 17:27
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    @Rich B why don't you enlighten about your contribution to OS, other than unwanted editing, ranting, arguing for the sake of arguing? – utlraman Jul 21 '09 at 18:37

Agreed. I brought this up here:

Please charge rep for questions after threshold