Possible Duplicates:
Why are the least technical questions rewarded the most?
How do we make sure the hard questions get as much reputation as the easy questions?

I have noticed by spending some time lately on Stack Overflow that these sites are developing a reputation hungry culture. It seems if a really easy or basic question is posted then a lot of people jump on it and you will get about 10 answers per questions within minutes but if question is little bit in depth or specialized then, not many people seem to even bother to take a look at the question.

It tells me that a lot of users are just trying to increase their reputation rather than being dedicated to help fellow developer resolving their issue. Their intentions are such that I'd rather answer 5 easy question and get 100 reputation than trying to get 15 reputation by answering this in depth question. I was thinking the same way so I can tell you first hand that I was sucked into the same mentality.

Is there a way to change this culture? Perhaps increase the reputation for reply marked an an answer? I know the bounty system helps but still if you are new user and don't have enough reputation to put a bounty then it's of no use to you. Also I know other people can help you out by using their reputation as bounty but still those developers are in small number compared to number of questions out there.

With that being said I still agree that Stack Overflow is the most buzzing and helpful online community for programmers and techies and a lot of people are not yet sucked into this culture but still evidence of this culture is growing a the site is gaining popularty. So I just want to know you guys' thoughts on this and if we can may be come up with suggestions to the site moderators.

  • Thanks for pointing them out! Will be a good read and may answer my questions. – Lav Mar 16 '11 at 14:51
  • Doesnt giving extra rep to questions kinda solve this? – TJHeuvel Mar 16 '11 at 14:54
  • Reputation hungry culture...my first thought was We'll end like Rapture!. – Time Traveling Bobby Mar 16 '11 at 15:07
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    Most commonly asked questions are simple ones. Complex questions require the right audience, which is always narrower than the larger audience. As a result, the commonly asked questions will always get more answers, even without a reputation award. – Edwin Buck Mar 16 '11 at 16:08
  • The problem seems to be related to voting. Voting doesn't imply merit of the contents, it implies a popularity of the merit of the contents. Low merit replies to popular questions (aka simple questions) will get a lot of votes. High merit replies to non-popular questions won't receive many votes as they don't have the same population of people "selecting" the question. If the pool of people replying could be normalized across all questions, than a upvote of one on an unpopular question could theoretically equal five or more upvotes on a more popular question. – Edwin Buck Mar 16 '11 at 16:12

Because the reward for two minutes of thought and a quick response is equal (or better than) the reward for thirty minutes (or longer) of thought and a long, detailed response.

How to change it? I have no idea.

Maybe answers made within X minutes (X being some small number) of a question give no or reduced reputation.

Maybe questions that sit unanswered for a certain amount of time offer reputation bonuses for answers when they eventually come.

Really, it's just the bike shed problem all over again. I don't know that it is "fixable" without fundamentally changing the way Stack Overflow et.al. work.

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