Please read the whole body before just clicking downvote button.I am sure there are more people who would just vote down without reading whole body.

What is reputation?

According to the help page, Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you

The Issues

Now when reputation is a measure of trust, it should be given concisely.But the truth is not the same.Below is why I think so.

  • More repo means user has answered more easy questions.
    Consider an example question,"how to install ubuntu?".Now this question is very simple to answer and anyone who has installed ubuntu(even if blindly selecting all defaults) can answer this question.So answering this question does not mean the answerer is an expert.But the contrast is that, this would be the very question which will be viewed most and consequently voted above 100 +ve votes.So both asker and answerer will have thousands of reputation.

    On the contrary, consider a complex question which needs expert answerer.Such an question will be viewed only by very few expert people, and won't be upvoted more than 4 or 5 times.

    As an result, now you have one user with 500 rep by answering just one noobish question, and another with 25 rep, by answering an expert question.Now who is more trustworthy? one with 25 rep or 500 rep?

  • Easier question, More views
    For the very reason mentioned above, askubuntu encourages there user to answer more easier questions than those who take more time and expertise.So the harder questions go unnoticed(unless an bounty is assigned).This is also proved by the fact that "easier to solve" questions have more views than "harder to solve" questions.

  • Reputation increase without contribution
    Once you are on the site for long enough and have answered enough questions, your reputation begins to climb mountains even if you watch by far away.What I mean is that your reputation will go on increasing even if you are inactive for years or even dead.


I have came up with these solutions, you may come up with others.

  • Reputation should not increase after 5 upvotes.
  • Ask users to vote "hard work" than voting for what they found "personally useful".

This should make reputation a better way of trusting users.

Please suggest your views on this issue.Why do you think the current system is correct or incorrect?

  • 1
    This post deserves a longer and more in depth answer that I can commit to, I would implore you to read through this and this, though
    – Flyk
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:21
  • @kalina I have a little query. I know what downvote means on main. But what does it means on meta.THis is of course not on offtopic question.And if you are not ready to answer, it dosen't mean you downvote the question. Feb 13, 2014 at 13:25
  • 2
    On meta downvote = "I disagree with you", upvote = "I agree with you" and I disagree with you because you state the current system is unfair and doesn't accurately portray who is trustworthy and then suggest that idling should result in you getting reputation.
    – Flyk
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:25
  • @kalina I never suggested upvote my question.But questions should be only downvoted if they fit in one of those flag rules.You are welcomed to downvote, but you should also give the reason. Feb 13, 2014 at 13:31
  • 3
    voting is anonymous and votes on meta means disagreement. There is no requirement to explain downvotes nor does a post have to fit a flag reason in order to down vote it
    – Flyk
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:35
  • 3
    Flags are for other kind of problems. Voting here means "I agree" or "I do not agree" if you are taking that beyond is your own narrow vision of how things work.
    – Braiam
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:38
  • 1
    Downvotes most certainly aren't only for flaggable posts. Downvotes, even on main are NOT related to close or delete votes. Up/Down-Votes only denote whether a post is helpful and well-written.
    – user98085
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:39
  • 1
    I'd also like to point out that reputation, in these low amounts is usually irrelevant. It's the four and five digit figures that matter for the site. And at that point it's no longer "easy questions", but prolonged activity.
    – user98085
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:43
  • @FEichinger So basically all of you agree that current system is better? Feb 13, 2014 at 13:50
  • 1
    Better than your suggestion? Yes, definitely. I'm not saying the reputation system is flawless, but the concerns and proposals brought forth here take a very wrong route.
    – user98085
    Feb 13, 2014 at 13:59
  • 1
    @FEichinger "Better". Ok.But that means there exists a "even better" system in this universe.I hope someday the system could become a bit more better.Why not? Can't it? Finally it's a community website, isn't it? Feb 13, 2014 at 14:05
  • 1
    Part of the problem is that we can't just change the system on a whim. Ask Ubuntu belongs to the Stack Exchange network - almost every system change affects the rest of the network, too. This is why it's important to find a good balance for the system - and the system largely works. It's fringe cases that cause problems and if these fringe problems start affecting the entire site there are almost always much larger other issues already that brought the site to that point in the first place.
    – user98085
    Feb 13, 2014 at 14:12
  • 1
    @FEichinger - that probably will make a good answer :D. aditya patil I agree with that it can be unfair, but we can't just change it on a whim, even though they are possible improvements tha could be made - Nothing is Perfect... - and is isn't.
    – Wilf
    Feb 13, 2014 at 22:16
  • 1
    sorry, but I didn't get past the "don't down vote" part...
    – Mateo
    Feb 13, 2014 at 23:44
  • @FEichinger The world had mostly dictatorship about a 150 years ago.But now most countries have democracy.No change can take place instantaneously. But there is always a chance for change, even if it takes years.I agree my suggestions are not good.But someday, someone may come up with a better one. Feb 14, 2014 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


More repo means user has answered more easy questions.

Not necessarily. It just means the person is more active on the site; do you have any correlation that a person can rack up points by answering easy questions? All the easy questions have been pretty much answered.

Plus, for me, answering easy questions is harder than the medium/difficult ones, because you need to translate to something new users can understand. Here is an "Easy" question:

Look at the amount of effort the answerer put in the answer. If it was so easy to answer every question like that everyone would be doing it.

the fact that "easier to solve" questions have more views than "harder to solve" questions.

Yes, of course. :)

Now who is more trustworthy? one with 25 rep or 500 rep?

Rep is only a guide to tell you how many times that person has helped someone enough to receive a "thanks". If someone has 25 rep it tells me they're new here, if someone has 500 it tells me they're new here but participating. Use the person's post content to determine whether you trust them or not. Good answers contain references to documentation, code, and other places that help with that.

Ask users to vote "hard work" than voting for what they found "personally useful".

If you see a useful post on the site, vote it up. I don't vote based on what's useful to me, I vote based on what's useful to the wider community.

  • Consider, for a moment that I am a newbie.I ask a question asking for a command which gets reply.If I have no idea what the answer can do, on what basis should I believe the answerer, if not reputation? Feb 13, 2014 at 13:38
  • 2
    @aditya This is where other users come in: they vote on these posts to show how useful the answer is. Answer score determines how good an answer is, not the reputation of the user.
    – user98085
    Feb 13, 2014 at 14:07
  • 1
    A 20k user can still post the wrong answer, that's why it's important that everyone vote according to if it's a good answer to if you like the person or if the person just got good reputation.
    – Alvar
    Feb 13, 2014 at 17:01
  • What do we ought to do with those thousand of questions and answers with no upvotes, no downvotes and not even accepted. Feb 14, 2014 at 9:26
  • Start voting! YOu should be voting every day! Feb 14, 2014 at 15:21

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