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Best way to earn reputation on Stack Overflow in 202X

madhead profile image madhead ・2 min read

I'm working my ass off to get 25K reputation on Stack Overflow:

SO profile

I want to check out the "access to site analytics" privilege and impress my potential employers. And, of course, I like to help others and share my experience.

Back in 2011, when I joined Stack Overflow, earning reputation was easy: the site was relatively new, there were a lot of unanswered questions about very basic things, and users were highly motivated to accept answers with an "accept rate" metric. Does anybody remember it?

Now it's different. There are millions of users who generate millions of questions. Some questions are highly specific and require digging into the problem. Specific questions do not gather a lot of upvotes because they are… specific. Some questions are literally poor. Users are not motivated to accept unswers and upvote.

So, how to earn reputation fast?

I came up with two strategies.

Become a bounty-hunter

Bounty hunting is a complicated profession. Though interesting and highly paid.

Bounties are rare. Usually, there are about 500 questions with bounties on the site at a single moment. Some tags have more bounties than others.

One good bounty can be worth a day of answering low-quality questions in the hope of a single upvote (or even being accepted!)

Hunt for bounties!

Watch the trends

Try to answer questions about trending technologies. I tried with #flutter and it worked really well. Trending technologies are similar to traveling back in time: there are a lot of basic questions to answer. The more mature the technology is, the more specific and hard to answers questions become.

Answering basic questions about new technologies is a good investment as well: they attract views and reactions later for a long period of time. Five of my best answers are about AngularJS and Git. AngularJS was popular in 2013, and I had a project on it. I've just told the OP how to delete an item from an array in AngularJS and got more than 100 upvotes!

So, by watching the trends you're killing two birds with one stone. You're gaining rep fast. You're gaining more rep later. And, hey!, you're learning something new!

Unfortunately, I can't say that I'm successfully using both strategies myself today. I still answer a lot of question with zero or one upvotes. I have only three successful bounties. I don't always use trending technologies in the development, so I don't usually answer questions about them.

But when I do follow them, earning 100+ rep in a single day becomes an achievable task.

What do you think?


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