re: Joel is stepping down from Stack Overflow VIEW POST


SO is quite flawed, the more rep you have, the more rep you get. I was a relatively heavy user until 2012 or so, but then gradually withdrew from the site. In 2018 I answered only ~20 questions, but still get almost daily rep for upvotes on older stuff. That plus the amount of new users signing up constantly leads to things like me being "top 0.35% overall", though that's certainly not true if you look at the last couple of years. I think it'd probably be beneficial if reputation expired after a while, but I guess this would make quite a few people unhappy.


The community could implement this on their own.

Not saying it is a good or realistic idea, but it is a fun thought.

Users (especially those with high rep) could downvote old answers, focusing on answers that have not been updated. This would, in effect, cause decay of rep over time.

Once again, not suggesting it, just a fun idea that shows how much power the community would have when working together.


I've only answered a few questions on SO, but my rep keeps on growing as people upvote them. My rep there is definitely not indicative of my actual involvement on the site.


But it is indicative of the value the site's users have received from you over time.
Reputation is difficult, and I can't think of a good way of doing it, but SO's way is not really any worse than any other site. And it's a lot better than counting "likes" on Facebook.


I was super into it for a while, but that time ended many years ago. Ever since then I occasionally pop by, maybe answer a question or two and do a little bit of moderation on the side (mostly in the edit queues).


Yeah same here, over 90% of my reputation score is from a single answer, years ago,that frankly isn't even all that insightful. It keeps getting upvoted though, so I keep adding 50 points a week or so even though I haven't really participated much in a while.


Reputation is flawed on pretty much every site that tries to implement it. The more you try to smooth it out the more cracks you notice, and after it's gotten going you can't suddenly change. It's like pinball: pressing "start" generally gets you a million or so points on modern games, and you could just lop off the last few zeros with no effect apart from... everyone who has high scores resenting you forever.


Pretty much this. I'd happily give away some of my imaginary nerd gold, but I guess many others feel differently. That said, SO already has a daily max rep you can earn, maybe they could do the same for longer timeframes too, or cap the amount of time you can gain rep for a single answer.


Nah, I was kidding. '#HumbleBrag' from me is more about pointing out an alternative, unintended interpretation for comedy. More like 'That's what she said'.


Put a half-life on it. That would be a great idea. Maybe keep a record of your peak reputation, with a timestamp. That would better show which users used to be regular contributors vs. ones that are currently regular contributors.


Yes, some sort of gradual decay is what I had in mind. It would make for a much more realistic snapshot of current active contributors and would be more motivating for new users since it’d be easier to catch up.


Discourse, which is pretty much Stack's successor, already solves this problem:

  • Your level of permission is capped: there is no "karma"/"rep" number that users are motivated to grow forever. There is no automatically-granted permission level beyond TL3, and all TL3 users are equal.
  • If you dip below the activity requirements, you lose TL3 (you can't lose TL2, but TL2 is pretty easy to get).
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