Until s/he is reputable enough to be taken more seriously? I have answered five questions on all of SE (and this is my twentieth question). None of my answers were accepted, even though two were the only answers posted. Now, one of them got 7 upvotes, so I'm not complaining about the results, but I just want to know: should I be asking more than telling?

  • If it makes you feel any better, look at my answer history on Stack Overflow in the early days. I had dozens of answers per accept. – Andrew Grimm Jun 25 '11 at 13:38

There's no particular reason that you should stick to one, or the other, based on your reputation. This, or stackexchange, is a questions and answers network; if you have a question to ask then you should ask (after researching it first, with Google or by searching Stack Exchange), or if you see a question you can answer, that's better than previous answers and adds new information, or explains it better than the previous answers, you should answer.

I recall from my early days on Stack Overflow it seemed difficult to garner up-votes, partly (it seemed) because I was often comparing myself to more experienced/longer-serving members with reputation in the thousands, from which I inferred that they were getting more up-votes based on their reputation and already-proven knowledge.

It does, over time, accumulate though. And once you've posted a number of answers, in the hundreds from my own recollection, it's possible for up-votes to increase due to votes on previously-written answers as well as new answers. But no: there's no specific expectation as to whether you should ask, or answer, questions at any rep level. It's a Q&A site, we need both.

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  • It must just be me, then. I wonder if a newer user like me might not know all the nuances of talking in SE, so the exclusion of his/her questions/answers might be due not to low rep, but to inexperience. – Daniel Jun 25 '11 at 11:38
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    @drm65, there's perhaps a question of network etiquette and expectation, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. It might be that your answers are in niche tags (with fewer subscribers/interested parties with the knowledge to up-vote your answers) or simply in a less-visited site, with fewer visitors even seeing your answers (or, obviously, a combination of the two). Incidentally, for guidance on writing questions Jon Skeet's 'Writing the perfect question'. – David says reinstate Monica Jun 25 '11 at 11:42
  • Also: Jon Skeet's 'Answering technical questions helpfully'. And, for reference, this is Jon Skeet. – David says reinstate Monica Jun 25 '11 at 11:42

Reputation shouldn't play a role when deciding whether to answer or not. The only factor worth considering is can I provide a good answer?

There is a slight bias in favour of high-reputation answerers, so you'll have a slightly harder time getting recognition for your answers in the beginning. However, most of the time, the best answer will win, no matter who wrote it.

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  • There is, after all, a reason that high-rep users have that high-rep... – David says reinstate Monica Jun 25 '11 at 11:54
  • I had thought it was time and experience. I've only been in SE for a week. – Daniel Jun 25 '11 at 11:58
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    @David: But it does happen that they get too many upvotes for the odd bad answer. – Hendrik Vogt Jun 25 '11 at 14:49
  • @Hendrik, that's true, I guess. But seems relatively rare (and for the most part the high-rep users, with only one exception of which I know, are receptive enough to corrections when pointed out, at least). – David says reinstate Monica Jun 25 '11 at 18:46
  • @David: I agree that they're receptive enough so that it's not a problem. – Hendrik Vogt Jun 25 '11 at 19:58

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