As it's been made clear that voting on Meta basically means 'I agree/disagree with your proposal' and has no bearing on the quality of the proposal, it shouldn't have even a small affect on reputation. It's totally unfair that you can propose an idea perfectly coherently, but lose rep because a bunch of people disagree with it. This is likely to discourage people posting new ideas for fear of losing reputation.

  • 6
    Memetic comments about meta rep being worthless begin in 3, 2, 1...
    – badp
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:14
  • 5
    You realize that, just by posting this question, you will get a lot of downvotes from people who are trying to be ironic/funny. Anyway, you can redeem your rep for a cup of coffee, if you've also got a dollar in your wallet.
    – user102937
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:18
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    The people who have a significant amount of rep here have provided significant valuable discourse. I personally have had a substantial number of posts downvoted because people disagreed, but I don't mind that; it's part of the process.
    – user102937
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:22
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    It is more than just a farce. Some people just use humor to break the ice while preparing their rebuttals. Or, in the case of some, look for duplicates. This has been suggested quite frequently.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:22
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    It seems to be a relict of previous times and impacts SO meta only at the moment. On other sites, meta reputation is equal to reputation on main site and isn't impacted by votes.
    – AndrejaKo
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:23
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    Math renders downvotes next to meaningless, so don't sweat them so much for their rep impact, either here are on StackOverflow. On SO, recognize a downvote as a learning experience for what you might do better. On Meta, recognize it as a statement on your worth as a person. Wait, no, scratch that last part. Jun 5, 2011 at 16:26
  • 1
    For some starters: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/270/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/73812/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57465/eliminate-meta-rep. Meta reputation is not really all that necessary - the facilities needed for what Meta allows (Discussion) are available from 1 reputation (comments).
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:30
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    On meta "reputation" is a misnomer. It should actually be labeled "opinion score" or something. It's a measurement of agreement (or boringness), not knowledge. -- But the voting on raised topics and feature requests is still necessary. And democratic process says the messaging feature is unwanted (currently).
    – mario
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:46
  • @GraceNote You can't downvote without a certain rep. Aug 11, 2017 at 0:52

4 Answers 4


Keep in mind that this is not an open source project. This is an attempt at a profit-making enterprise which accepts some suggestions from, and outsources many tasks to, volunteers. When you make a suggestion here, you are often talking to the fine folks who are paid to do the work -- and those fine folks reflect upon opinions here as they choose. They own the playground. If you find the swings too squeaky, the gate is in obvious view.

The rep system imposes a simple discipline: Answers get a lot more rep than questions. If you devote time to providing informative, thoughtful, answers, you will soon have far more rep than you can spend on the occasional highly unpopular question.

If, on the other hand, you expect to show up here and start telling the owners how things should work, your rep will dig for China in a hurry as the downvotes come flying along. And if you throw gasoline on the flame with the sort of sarcastic remarks in your comments above, you will only attract more of the same. Yes, it's a social control mechanism, along the lines of 'the nail that sticks up gets hammered.' But the definition of 'sticks up' is not 'posts unpopular ideas.' It's "ignores previous discussions, makes bombastic statements, displays a thin skin."

And, of course, you can choose to simply ignore rep. Are you really burning up with an urge to have deletion privileges here on meta?

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    +1 for "ignores previous discussions, makes bombastic statements, displays a thin skin." this is the core of the issue here.
    – Pekka
    Jun 5, 2011 at 19:22
  • Harsh reality I guess Jun 9, 2017 at 12:32

It's totally unfair that you can propose an idea perfectly coherently, but lose rep because a bunch of people disagree with it.

Not really.

Take an extreme example: let's propose that since we all have a reputation number, much like money (not strictly true, but go with this for a second), we should request that the SE team program gambling games where we can all gamble with our reputation.

Proposing such a feature would be a waste of time and energy of the participants of the site who (a) read the question, and (b) subsequently have to deal with it by answering or moderating. Losing reputation for such a proposal seems very fair, because it distracts everyone from more useful discussion. (See also, the Noise or Pointless close reason description.)

Generally speaking, unless there's some change or bugfix in the system that completely changes the face of a feature request, rehashing old discussions about it are a waste of time and we get a bit annoyed at having to talk about it again. You pretty much walked right into it with your other post -- please don't take it personally.

On the one hand, yes, voting is a bit of a popularity contest; but on the other, people here have a very good idea of what will work and what won't for the sites.

  • My other post was an attempt to comprehensively answer the criticisms of private messaging that hadn't really been addressed fully as yet on this site. Frankly, the number of downvotes it got makes me think less of the people on Meta. I'm very unlikely to waste my time again trying to put together a coherent and thorough proposal. You've also just had somebody above giggling that 'you will get a lot of downvotes from people who are trying to be ironic/funny'. Meta rep is meaningless and should be scrapped.
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:40
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    @Jez: you couldn't have addressed them where they were raised in the many, many existing proposals? I recently updated this venerable answer in an attempt to cover the history of this request in a comprehensive manner, and your response to this was... Disappointingly uninformed.
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:54
  • I fail to see what's uninformed about my response. Care to elaborate? As for why I didn't address them in the other proposals, because I had more to say than would fit in a comment, and I wanted to format stuff a bit.
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 16:59
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    but on the other, people here have a very good idea of what will work and what won't for the sites. very true. This site is usually going to feature the people that care the most about the network, and about the engine. Casual users are almost never going to find anything on here more than a FAQ useful.
    – jcolebrand
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:59
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    @Jez: how was it uninformed you ask? Well, you left a comment implying that there are masses of users waiting for contact but unaware that they have to give out contact information (really? Got any evidence of that?) You gave as an example the easiest guy to contact in all of SE. And you apparently missed the bit where I detail how nearly every valid use-case for messaging has already been implemented, with the sole exception of hard-to-moderate private conversations (not surprising, given how you glossed over that in your lengthy feature-request as well).
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:24
  • @Shog9 It's really you who needs evidence that all these users do know that they need to put contact info there, given that there's absolutely nothing ('About Me') indicating that they might wish to put it there (beyond a Meta answers you have to search for). I didn't know that you should put contact info there; why would you assume they do know? I'd say the default position is that it's a box where one can describe oneself, and no more. Jeff may be easy to contact, but not from his About Me section. That's the point I was making. It's not consistently used as a 'contact me' section.
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:41
  • @Shog9 I really don't understand what you mean when you say I glossed over private conversations in my feature request, and maybe it would be worth editing it if it hadn't been closed as an 'exact duplicate' of another question which gives about 1% of the implementation detail and no response to the common criticisms leveled at the PM idea compared to mine. shrug
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:44
  • @Jez: where did you get the idea that anyone needs to put contact info there? You can put just about anything you want there - it's your bio. If you want to list your employment history, do that. Hobbies? Go for it. Favorite waffle recipe? Heck yeah! Contact info? Sure, why not. It's a blank sheet of paper - you can scribble down your phone number or draw a pony, your choice.
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:48
  • @Shog9 Sure, but I read 'About me' as giving information about you and your life, which is not the same as contact information. Perhaps we understand the language differently.
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:50
  • @Jez: I mean allowing unmoderated contact is a huge, huge no-no. But making moderators moderate them adds work for volunteers, work that doesn't benefit anyone outside of private conversations (to say nothing of the fact that letting mods view private conversations makes them... sorta not private). Any implementation that hinges on "moderators will take on more responsibility" better be a huge win for the site, not some little "nice to have" for folks who can't use email.
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:52
  • @Jez: about you is... again whatever you want it to be. Some folks use it as a scratchpad. Some folks use it as a business card. Until recently, I kept mine completely free of contact - folks could contact me via my website (a space for this is provided in your profile as well).
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:54
  • @Shog9 Just like being able to say, @Shog9 hey dude let's talk about this cool Final Fantasy XIXVV on MSN, i'll invite you to a chat room XYZ and I will tell you my MSN there in the middle of a thread on another question is a 'huge win for the site'?
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 20:55
  • @Jez: originally, we didn't have comments; they were added for strictly post-related commentary (see, if you'd read that answer you'd know this...) - since then, the need to get comments like that removed has become ever more obvious. In other words, no it isn't a win - it's a problem. Adding another way to post crap in a location where it can't be community-moderated to some degree isn't going to help that any. But of course, if you actually cared you'd use the "invite" feature in chat instead of spamming unrelated messages.
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 21:06
  • @Shog9 And how do you use the 'invite' feature in chat with a user who isn't in chat?
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 21:46
  • @jez: you don't. It's an opt-in system - the only sort we're likely to ever implement.
    – Shog9
    Jun 5, 2011 at 21:51

I think it could just be made clearer on meta that the up/down votes are for approval disapproval. For example the title tags on the up/down arrows don't say agree / disagree.

Also its a shame that features are still linked to rep on meta. I don't think suggesting unpopular ideas necessarily equates to being a bad member.


Reputation on meta is a score that combines the following:

Reputation = How much you participate + How much people agree with what you write

The more people agree with you, the higher your reputation on meta will be. If you have a low reputation, it's because you have 1) Not participated, or 2) written things people disagree with.

  • 2
    And I assert that unpopular ideas resulting in bad reputation is totally unfair and stifles 'out-of-the-box' thinking. It sucks.
    – Jez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:17
  • @Jez: take a big risk, get a big reward.
    – user7116
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:28
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    isn't it multiplication instead of addition? Jun 5, 2011 at 17:48
  • 1
    What about when people agree with your ideas but have decided to hate you as a person?
    – jcolebrand
    Jun 5, 2011 at 18:01

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