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I have noticed that you can gain a lot of reputation if you are the first person to answer a quite simple question which concerns a large audience of mostly beginners. However on the other side a sophisticated answer to a difficult question is only of interest to the original poster and perhaps a couple of experts and does not get many upvotes.

So my idea is that reputation gains should be weighted. If the upvoter has himself a great reputation his vote should be more valuable for my reputation than an upvote by a beginner.

  • 3
    How do you know it's the beginners upvoting answers to simple questions? – Zanna Dec 3 '17 at 19:18
  • @Zanna I suppose so because there are sometimes rather trivial answers which get a huge amount of upvotes. – muclux Dec 3 '17 at 19:30
  • Let's keep it to stating that voting only kind of gives an indication on answers of one and the same question. Voted value cannot be compared between different questions. Your suggestion does not fix that even a single bit (and why should we?). On the contrary I would say, it adds to un- clarity. – Jacob Vlijm Dec 3 '17 at 21:18
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  • @Zanna uptick for the related comments/discussions on MSE. I'm not sure it's a solve-able problem, but I agree with the OP that it is in fact a problem. – RobotHumans Dec 3 '17 at 22:53
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This feature request has been brought up multiple times on Meta Stack Exchange, and as far as I know it has always been poorly received by the community.

I think the main objection is that making high-rep users (even) more powerful is not a good thing.

I agree with many of the points made in answers to the MSE posts. For example, in this answer, devinb points out that

Reputation is NOT expertise! Reputation is [...] mostly [the product of] time spent on [a site].

You yourself have pointed out that trivial answers are often highly upvoted. This means that reputation has already been dealt out unjustly, yet you want to give high reputation users more influence.

This answer by Grace Note deals specifically with downvotes, but highlights what is for me the main issue:

The more egregious disconnect is the idea that high reputation users should have greater control on the reputation of other users. This would allow a small group of high reputation users to deal crushing blows to other users because of possibly minor effects. It greatly unbalances the system.

More reputation already confers more power (in the form of privileges). I don't want a more unequal distribution of power on the basis of reputation.

I also think vote weighting could encourage people to vote with the reputation impact of voting more in mind. Voting might be based less on the quality of posts and more on other factors like how much voting will affect others' reputation.

The purpose of voting is not to confer or diminish reputation, but to indicate which posts are the most useful. If reputation doesn't reliably measure anything besides time spent, that doesn't matter much (as long as the powers reputation confers aren't excessive), but if a post's score doesn't at least somewhat measure its usefulness, then the SE model stops working.

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I gave the question an uptick, but I'm in the high rep use boat. I don't downvote though.

I think it's a solid concern that easy to answer questions can get rep rockets, while hard to answer questions that are highly specific, but can indicate a very large amount of "trustworthiness" or "ability" get underweighted.

All of that said, I don't think there's a good way to implement that mechanic.

2

I don't think that this will be a good idea at all. One caveat I see, if the up-voting is weighted the down-voting should be weighted too. Many of us higher reputation members give out many up and down-votes a day when we roam the site. I for myself run regularly out of votes toward the end of the day. And before you ask its max 40 votes from which only 30 can be cast on answers.

Example why would this be a bad idea of weighted voting: Let's assume you wrote an answer in which I see value and give you an up vote, and then Oli comes around (sorry Oli that I take you as example here) and down-votes you. As I said in my first paragraph down-votes should then be weighted too, he surely even if it was non linear value would override my up-vote and leaves you with a net negative in reputation. See how this would be bad?

Beside that, everyone of us can only up or down-vote a question/answer once, so the huge amount of up-votes are cast by exactly that much people. A vote can only be reversed within the first few minutes of being cast, or when an answer/question is being edited. This has a reason too.

The most likely cause of simple questions, with even same simple answers getting so much traction is, after a question gets a certain amount of up votes in a short time frame it is getting awarded arbitrary hotness points and shows up in the Hot Network Questions and from there it gains mass publicity. Many of us have accounts across the SE network in their fields of interest. Some times only to read and sometimes to ask a specific question they have in mind. However, if you have gained enough reputation (don't know the exact amount right now) you start on other communities within the SE network with 100 bonus reputation which allows you to participate fully in terms of commenting and voting.

So lets say a question gains traction and is in HNQ, people will see it and if the question is easy to understand and the answer is too fitting that they most likely vote because they can relate to both the question and the answer and understand it. If however a question is very technical to begin with and the answer is as well very complicated to understand and comprehend they might not vote because they might not have the knowledge required to estimate if an answer is right or wrong. Also reputation gain per day is capped at 200 means if you receive like me 40 up-votes on a single day and an accept you will only have gained 215 reputation the rest is going to nowhere but it gives nice badges.

Examples of that (including examples of shameless self-promotion):

Those are all from the current hot topics. So my overall conclusion and opinion is, weighted votes are a bad idea and the system should stay as it is, this way it is fair to everyone. And yes I was at some point as well only a few hundred reputation old and my answers got sometimes as many down as up votes. Thats a learning process all of us have gone through in some way or another.

  • Well, the dd question was the one that led me to ask this question. I felt that I got too much reputation for this simple answer (I hope you did not count this one among the 'examples of shameless self-promotion') compared to other answers that cost much more effort. Especially comments are undervalued although they often lead to the correct answer. – muclux Dec 4 '17 at 7:48
  • No, the examples of shameless self promotion are the ones i asked or answered in the list :) which I could have had easily filled with only those examples but didn't want to. All over all reputation is what it is. Enjoy it while it lasts. – Videonauth Dec 4 '17 at 7:55

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