Please disregard. This proposal has been abandoned in favor of a new proposal.

Please disregard. The new proposal has been abandoned in favor of just plain not doing it.

Based on:

Could we put a cap on reputation earned by asking questions?

I am starting to wonder if we should cap reputation gained for questions.

I have historically resisted this, but:

  1. It does seem nonsensical that users can get 10,000+ reputation purely on the basis of asking hundreds of questions.
  2. We already cap reputation for suggested edits -- you can never get more than +1000 total reputation from suggested edits.
  3. It would de-incentivize asking questions for the sake of asking questions which I think is a very good thing.
  4. 99.99% of users never even come close to this limit, so in practice it won't change the experience for users who ask a reasonable, typical number of questions.

I wonder if a limit of max +2000 reputation from question upvotes would make sense?

Not many users would be affected; here's a relevant data.stackexchange query:


That's about 226 users on Stack Overflow, and almost none everywhere else in the network. However, some of these "ask a zillion question" users would indeed be affected severely. You can roughly calculate how much rep they'd have after this change, by taking the sum of all their answer upvotes and adding 2000.

  • 16
    Interesting, your own employee would be the only one affected on Server Fault ;) Mar 6 '11 at 22:38
  • 17
    Clicking through I notice some of those users have been philanthropic with their rep - awarding many bounties - would that rep be affected? Mar 6 '11 at 23:23
  • 2
    Hey I'm in that list! With +600 :(
    – Earlz
    Mar 10 '11 at 0:40
  • 5
    On some sites, we need more askers than answerers, this would hurt those sites. Mar 10 '11 at 15:14
  • 1
    Questions maybe, answers, absolutely not.
    – Ghost User
    Mar 10 '11 at 20:02
  • 2
    In some ways questions are more important than answers, because an answer cannot exist without a question. <ducks> Mar 10 '11 at 20:16
  • 5
    There goes my hope of ever getting 10k on SO :-(
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 10 '11 at 20:19
  • 2
    Are you planning on making this retroactive? (which seems a bit unfair)
    – Andomar
    Mar 10 '11 at 21:29
  • 1
    @mark for those sites, they're so low volume that it would take forever for them to hit this limit Mar 10 '11 at 23:50
  • 8
    @jeff atwood - that's a good point, but I think that it's possible it could have chilling effect on people who are asking solid questions. I mean when I read this suggestion, its makes me feel like I'm going to eventually get jipped out of reputation from my high-quality questions. While that may not ever happen, my gut reaction is to become less involved in Stack Overflow, and I doubt I'm the only one who will feels this way. Mar 11 '11 at 0:11
  • 4
    @Mark completely agree. Many times I try to give back to the community in my own way by asking questions even if I know the answer. Up voting valid answers, and if no one posts my answer, then I also post my answer. This would make method of giving back much less worthwhile.
    – Earlz
    Mar 11 '11 at 1:10
  • 5
    No, please don't do this. I think there are so many different ways to participate in Stack Overflow that don't include always answering and answering questions. I've been working on a couple of projects since I've been using the site and having the abililty to ask questions without feeling like I'm being punished because I don't hunt for things to answer. Now that would be different. Maybe one day when I have more time I'll give back, but I can't right now. Asking questions is my contribution.
    – TLCo
    Mar 13 '11 at 1:12
  • 4
    One problem is that the implications of this suggestion are that this proposal is something of an attack on Question-askers (budding experts), suggesting that they are somehow less valuable to the community than answerers (hopefully experts). Essentially this proposal implies that it is ok to hurt legitimate question askers in the pursuit of taking out gamers, because question askers are not nearly as important to the sites as answerers. But I don't think that it's has been empirically established that Askers are less-valuable overall to the community than Answerers. Mar 13 '11 at 17:25
  • 1
    The greatest learning often comes through teaching, but what if there are no great students. It seems like alienating great students would decreases the quality of what the experts had to teach, because they would have to field lower-quality questions. Mar 13 '11 at 17:32
  • 7
    @Jeff Is this a theoretical or actual problem? Do you have any example of people with "too many questions" misbehaving with their "fraudulently earned" privileges?
    – tiago2014
    Mar 14 '11 at 12:07

37 Answers 37


What about having a different daily cap for questions and answers. Today we have a limit at 200 for both. What about having 200 limit for answers and 50 limit for questions or something like that?

  • That won't help in the long run. Apr 5 '11 at 15:40

Maybe the Q / A rating can be another score along with Reputation just like Accept Rate?


I'd prefer to see the question initially capped but that cap adjusted using some formula which takes into account the total rep of all the answers to that question and the number of answers.

I may be wrong (it's not obvious on SF) but I would imagine that while mediocre questions may well attract some answers which in turn attract high votes, I'd expect the total of both answers and votes to be significantly less than a good quality question would attract. In effect, those asking numerous good questions, which benefit the site, would be less impacted than those who just ask heaps of poor to middling questions. Just don't ask me to create the formula.


A hard cap feels like it's masking problems, not fixing it.

My favorite solution would be to introduce reputation-inflation. That is, reputation earned last year counts for 30% less. Reputation from two years ago counts for 0.7^2 = 49%. This normalizes reputation so that people who do low quality stuff consistently cannot reach high reputation by sheer persistence. This will fix many things, including asking tons of questions.

Another possible solution is to include the number of questions asked in the user's description, like the "accept ratio". This will influence people not to upvote serial questioners.

Though to be honest, most serial questioners appear to be relatively unsuccessful already.

  • This is a fantastic idea. Mar 15 '11 at 12:29
  • I disagree that this would help anything at all. Quality answers from previous years should count full strength, otherwise current low quality participants get rewarded over the best good long term users!
    – Caleb
    Jul 16 '11 at 13:44

I understand the motive, but I think it's not fair to do it retroactively. You did it last year with the rep for questions going down from 10 to 5,and it was frustrating. I felt it wasn't fair that my rep went down drastically just because of your decision and not because I did something wrong in the system.
I think if you want to implement this change, it should go from now on, and not change users' current rep. 226 users is a lot.

  • You would not be affected - in fact a relatively small portion of the userbase would have any adjustment made at all: data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/s/1057/… That doesn't make your answer any less valid, but I think there's a caveat - only a very few people actually bump into this limit.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 12 '11 at 19:21
  • @Adam, I know I wouldn't be affected. But Jeff wrote in his question that 226 users would be. And to me that's a big number. And the fact that I wouldn't be affected doesn't mean that the decision to reduce users' current reputation is fair, even if I do understand the motivation to cap reputation from questions.
    – Lea Cohen
    Mar 12 '11 at 21:37
  • 1
    If no-one was affected then why would the change be made? Surely the 226 people affected are the ones that the proposal is intended to affect - people who ask hundreds if not thousands of questions, many with the sole intention of garnering rep.
    – amelvin
    Mar 14 '11 at 12:08
  • @amelvin: The change should be made in order to prevent users from futurely getting too much rep from questions. In affecting current multi-question askers, you are changing the rules of the game during the game, which, in my opinion, is not fair. Also, there are some users who'll be affected who shouldn't be, like the ones mentioned in @Pekka's answer.
    – Lea Cohen
    Mar 14 '11 at 12:19

There are some sites where it is actually quite hard to ask a good question. Good questions can potentially be just as valuable as good answers. The Science Fiction group, in particular, is very challenging to come up with good questions.

Also, only a person who asks good questions will get reputation from it. They will get 5 points per vote. I guess a person could ask a hundred bad questions, that get 1 up vote a piece, but in reality, a person who gets 500 reputation from questions will have a relatively small number of good questions.

Personally, for questions which I have received an undue amount of reputation, I've tended to spend that reputation in the form of a bounty, which has helped others in return.

I do think it's okay to delete low quality answers, they don't contribute much to the system. That will keep the questions from getting out of control.


I've always wondered why silly question quickly get upvotes.

Maybe scrapping the Elecorate badge could solve part of the problem?


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