re: What a very bad day at work taught me about building Stack Overflow’s community VIEW POST


Another issue I have had as a new user on SO is on the matter of reputation and fairness.

Whether it was intended so or not, reputation points are a currency most users strive to earn. Partly, this is to unlock more features, but it's also a social contest.

If you look at a lot of older posts, asked when SO was still in its infancy, you'll find that many violate one rule or another. Usually they're very, very basic questions that can be answered with a quick Google search, and almost as often they're "too broad" or cannot be answered concretely. Yet, not only do they still exist ("for history's sake" or something), they are massively upvoted.

These posts give an enormous boost to one's profile. Yet it is these same people who rag on newbies for asking "incorrectly". How come it's OK for these people to have made mistakes when they were learning and get away with them — even be rewarded — but withhold the same from newer users?

If it were up to me, I'd leave these questions be — they've helped me lots of times before — but remove any rep they give to their posters.

It's not a perfect solution, because having higher rep means you're more likely to be viewed in a better light and thus upvoted in the future (also there's the bandwagon effect), so these users have coasted on their early gains to earn still more potentially undeserved rep, but I'd take some justice over none.

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