Relating to "why should anyone accept an answer", why not alter the point allocation system in a way that encourages discussion, thought provoking questions, or something along those lines?

It could eliminate {some of} the whining about not getting their answer accepted, since this is a different kind of community. To support that train of thought here is an alternative point distribution we could use:

answer is voted up.....  +15        
question is voted up...  +5  
answer is accepted.....  +10     (+2 to acceptor) 
post is voted down.....  -2  (-1 to voter)

It encourages people to actually read existing answers and rate the best answer. On the flip side, it encourages good answers. For times that a Q & A is needed, it is welcome but de-emphasized when compared to StackOverflow and the other sites that value closed-ended discussions.

For comparison purposes, here is the current (as of 9/7/10) point distribution:

answer is voted up....   +10    
question is voted up..   +5 
answer is accepted....   +15     (+2 to acceptor)
post is voted down...    -2  (-1 to voter)

Edit: Updated calculus

  • I don't think we've had any serious 'whining'- we're still in beta and discussing what works and what doesn't. As for the point allocation system, what would you suggest? Sep 8, 2010 at 3:26
  • Very true there isn't whining today... but I can see it coming. If we set the expectation in the beginning perhaps we can make things better. Sep 8, 2010 at 3:35
  • Moved my comments to an answer, it became a bit too much here... And in this way it allows people to agree (upvote) or to disagree (downvote) to my answer. Sep 12, 2010 at 22:19

5 Answers 5


Increasing the up-vote reputation isn't going to encourage much better answers, to the voter it will still be a +1 or -1. He's not going to think in terms of "it has 30, I give him 15 or take 2 away"... Instead it will be encouraging people to place more answers, they could maybe have a worse quality. If there comes reasonable whining, I guess it's the accept system that must improve, not the reputation economy. Maybe we could let the owner agree (not accept, still needs a better word) with multiple answers based on the amount of answers...

Example given: For less than 10 answer, he can agree with 1 answer to be really helpful/good. For more than 10 answers, he can agree with 2 answers to be really good. For more than 30 answers, he can agree with 3, etc... It would need some fine-tuning because the amount of answers are probably to high in this example, but maybe it could tend to be a good idea to type out a better subjective answer. This system does not break the more objective questions (which has less answers, thus 1 agreement) and also works for posts with lots of questions... It needs a better word than "agree" though. :-)

In case you do change the original reputation slightly, the down-vote should also change in proportion to counter the described inflation effect my Mark. And even this only will not help towards the reputations being abnormally high... (An user that would have 6k+ could have 10k+)


I think we should leave the system as-is. A lot of thought and data has gone into balancing out the current numbers, and we've only been at this for about 6 days. I think we should wait until we've been around a bit longer and see if there's actually any problems (eg, people not getting enough rep due to answers not being accepted).


I don't think a -4 for this question is warranted... considering even SO revised the point calculation a few months ago: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/03/important-reputation-rule-changes/

At some point in the future I think this should be re-addressed.

  • 2
    +1 to your Q and A. Because I don't think any non-vitriolic discussion question needs to be downvoted. Oct 4, 2010 at 3:47

The calculus you propose would lead to serious rep inflation and, in general, a devaluing of the reputation system as a whole.

By giving rep for up-voting, people would merely use their vote allotment of 30 times a day to upvote 30 answers, whether or not there are 30 up-votable answers or whether there are questions that need voting or questions/answers that need down-voting, just to get a guaranteed 60 rep points a day.

In addition, by inflating the rep value of an up-vote, it would only take three two upvotes to outvalue an accepted answer. Imagine a answer with 15 10 upvotes: that'd be the equivalent of the answer being accepted 5 times in addition to the rep received from the up-votes.

Changing the rep values of actions is not the solution. Rather than changing the reputation calculus (especially in such a lopsided manner), we should be looking for ways to incentivize accepting answers if low accept rates become an issue.

Edit: parts of my response have been rendered moot by the latest change to the original post.

  • 3
    Why should we encourage accepted answers? Given that most questions are subjective, they don't mean much.
    – Gelatin
    Sep 8, 2010 at 14:20
  • 1
    Feel free to offer your own calculus Sep 8, 2010 at 14:35
  • @Simon Brown, my answer is framed based on the premise of the original question: that there's going to be inevitable whining about answers not being accepted.
    – user8
    Sep 8, 2010 at 17:14
  • @MakerOfThings7, as I said in my answer, I do not believe changing the rep values awarded for different actions solves the problem and would only cause further problems.
    – user8
    Sep 8, 2010 at 17:15

I've frequently criticised the points adjustments associated with down votes on SO, but I see no reason to complicate things by making this site different from all the others.

  • 1
    This site is different and it would actually complicate things if we don't change the site according to that, in my answer I placed a suggestion to ditch the accept system and give it a new behavior and name. This will remove the "accept" confusion... When doing a comparison with Super User we see that the overall accept rate there is more than 50% while our site has less than 25%, I don't see this improve in the future so I think that it's better to make that system more loose so that the owner is more encouraged to agree (or a better word) questions. Sep 12, 2010 at 22:34

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