Why does the reputation system exist? Seriously, just why? I mean, there's the somewhat necessary thing about you can't do this until x amount of rep for the servers/software sake which I can understand, but all it's doing for me, at least, is causing unnecessary stress and anger to sprout.

I mean I was one rep point away from being able to comment everywhere (50 rep points) and now, because of a closed question and some downvotes, I'm back down to 39. As far as I know the only way to get more rep points is to post answers and complete badge quotas.

And some of the bronze badges have you post x amount of questions over x amount of days, but the way the system is setup is making me think this is a resource gathering idle game website not a website to further our knowledge.

If I'm thinking this is a resource idle game and I have to post stuff per day I will, and did for my Ledrine question, turn off my brain and post to farm rep.

Why can't rep just serve as an indicator as to who has the most well thought out questions/answers instead of this resource gaming thing that I'm currently experiencing. Or maybe my autism is just irked at this website and all of its incarnations.

Or alternatively, like my resource gathering gaming instincts are telling me, have us spend rep to comment, answer, and question with a daily refill feature that should be much easier (atleast for those stress prone like me) to handle than the current system.

  • $\begingroup$ my gaming instincts are still telling me idle resource gatherer game when I see the rep system. can't help but turn my brain off. that and I made this in a rage. @sphennings good to be reminded of. thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 0:06
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    $\begingroup$ Check these two pages. This one explains the voting mechanic : worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/help/why-vote and this one explain the reputation system : worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/help/whats-reputation $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ *why can't rep just serve as an indicator as to who has the most well thought out questions/answers* I think that's exactly what the rep system does. $\endgroup$
    – Vylix
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 3:01
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    $\begingroup$ Completing badges gives you a badge, not reputation. See this answer from me for different ways to get rep. It's about the maximum of 200 reputation you can earn per day. Posting good stuff leads to reputation. Whether you want to earn badges or not is up to you. It's not about causing anyone stress - it's about making sure people see what's good content and what's not good content. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ Your answers suffer a lot from this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/225370/… $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ Note that you can delete answers and all the rep (positive or negative) from it will disappear. If you have negative net reputation from an answer that might help. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ Just a reminder to all. Be nice. We were all new once. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


The reputation system exists for two reasons. To encourage and discourage certain behaviors and to give more experienced users increasing privileges and responsibility.

The easiest ways to gain the arbitrary internet points that are stack exchange reputation is to receive upvotes on questions and answers. You do this by creating a question or answer that someone else likes or dislikes (Please note that just because people like your post doesn't imply that it is a good fit for this site). This should encourage you to ask good questions and give good answers. You can read the full list of ways to earn and lose reputation here

Because stack exchange is designed to prioritize good answers there is a 1 point reputation penalty for each downvote someone gives to answers, unlike questions. You can also see this in how each question upvote is worth 5 rep while each answer upvote is worth 10.

There are two parts to giving out increasing privileges there are the basic privileges to comment, upvote and downvote and otherwise be a participating member on the site, and there-there are the privileges to become part of the community moderation process. The idea behind earning the basic community actions is to make it harder for a bot to gain the ability to spam across the site and to make sure that people have an understanding of how the site works before they have upvote/downvote privileges.

The Stack Exchange policy towards moderation has always been one of community involvement. The more reputation you have the more you can be involved with the basic upkeep of the site. To see a complete list of privileges and their reputation requirements you can read this list

If you want a better understanding of the thought processes behind the system I'd suggest reading A Theory of Moderation which does a good job of explaining the ideas behind the stack exchange formula.

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    $\begingroup$ For completeness about earning rep: you can also earn rep by suggesting edits that get approved. It gives you +2 rep up to a maximum of 1,000 rep or until you are at least at 2,000 rep total. This applies to tag wikis, too. Accepting an answer also gives you +2 rep and having an answer of yours accepted gives you +15 rep. You could also theoretically earn bounties other people put on your answers if they are really good. Downvotes on either your answers or your questions give you -2 penalty. The normal maximum for earning rep is 200 $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ There's a difference between higher reputation users participating in community moderation and the elected "diamond" moderators. You've already earned your first community moderation privilege, the ability to flag posts for moderator attention. The moderators are there to handle the exceptional cases that can't be handled by the community. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @WorldWeaver Here is a list of privileges and the reputation you need for each one $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ Nice response sphennings. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 21:32

A couple thoughts for you...

The bar to be able to post comments -- this being your proximate goal, it seems -- is pretty low. Let's first focus on that.

For a variety of reasons [1], it's harder to get a question to "stick" than an answer. So answering questions is a good thing to do. Coincidentally, it's also one of the two basic operations of the site! People come with questions, drop 'em some thoughts! Before long you'll have enough to ask, answer, and comment; and what more do you really need?

I wouldn't worry too much about badges and whatnot. For me, they're just a bit of fun. Don't try to metagame it; it's more interesting when you do what you do and get surprised when they drop a badge on you! Some of them are actually pretty funny.

[1] I have some ... intemperate thoughts about this, but that's for another day. ;D

  • $\begingroup$ Also note that an upvote to a question gives +5 rep, an upvote to an answer gives +10 rep. Downvoting questions comes for free, while downvoting answers costs 1 rep to the downvoter. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 6:26

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