In the wake of this question (check the comments). I know there have been questions raised on meta about being more friendly to low reps. But are we too friendly for high reps?

I was wondering what people think about this. In general we do come down hard on people with low reputation. And I think there would have been down votes on this question instead of upvotes if the OP had had a lower rep.

On the other hand it's my believe this is a logical thing. People with a lower rep haven't proven themselves in the community, where as high reps often have a larger amount of respect. So in my opinion it's sensible that we are more forgiving towards high rep users.

What is your opinion?

  • 1
    Changed my mind, bad question, deleted it Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 20:13
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    As pure anecdotal evidence, I've asked almost 100 questions (which is still less than 1/3 of Kyle's), and I'm constantly not getting the mega rep boost and great answers for being high rep. Bring on the dictatorship I say! Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 22:07
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    Now that you've deleted the example ... how are we supposed to comment? Commented May 9, 2012 at 2:15
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    My point always was and still is - if anyone asking question which could help at least one other person - this is a contribution to the StackExchange. Because this is not about admins and other. This is about gathering free high quality information.... So If A is what you call high-rep and he brings quality by answering 100 questions. Then imagine that on other end of this story are 100 people (low-rep?). But altogther - world got just better +100 points of quality information. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:35

9 Answers 9


That specific question sucks, in my opinion. Kyle, being both an employee and a respected high-rep user probably gets more slack than someone with 1 rep does. Is it fair? Probably not. Does it really matter? No, not really.

Why does it not matter? Because Kyle has a pattern of valuable contributions to the site. Everyone has a "miss" now and then. New users should be encouraged to have more "hits" than "misses". High rep users generally don't need this reminder unless it becomes a pattern.

Plus, he gets an eternal free pass for me for this excellent burn on our very own Scott Pack.

  • +1 for "It is fair? no. Does it really matter? no." but almost -1 for referencing a burn that happened 4 months ago.
    – Chris S
    Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 1:30
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    That burn was epic and Is highly underrated. Also, since Kyle is only in chat once every 4 months, it's relevant :p
    – MDMarra
    Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 2:48
  • I'm pretty sure that the expiry date on an epic burn is more than 4 months... Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 7:06
  • epic burn? Like 'deep heat on a sock' type burn?
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 12:56
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    "Does it really matter?", yes it does when it sets a bad example. Someone seeing that question may know absolutely nothing about Kyle's (or anyone else's) other contributions, which makes them utterly irrelevant. Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 22:21
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    Being fair doesn't necessarily mean being equal.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 13:01
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    I hate all ya'll.
    – Scott Pack
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 18:59
  • +1 for the fair not being equal comment - it's a lesson I'm always reteaching my kids when they complain about things not being "fair" when it's perfectly fair.. just not equal.
    – Rex
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 14:17

It is natural that you give a bit of leeway to someone who has participated in the community and "earned it". It's also natural that this looks like a bad inconsistency to someone on the outside looking in.

I don't know how to square that circle.

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    Is it actually a real problem? If a new (necessarily low rep) user comes in with a set of awesome answers and questions, as near as I can tell, they're treated quite well also. I also tend to go read through their other posts if I see a really good one and upvote their other awesome Qs & As as well.
    – Magellan
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 20:03
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    I'm not losing sleep over it myself, I am quite comfortable with the idea that people earn a bit of slack, if that's what you're asking. But at the same time, newcomers who see their questions get shut with cold steel are going to feel somewhat vexed by it. There's no getting away from that.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 21:49

The high rep people are like the cranky old ladies at the soup kitchen. They're volunteering their time, talents, and resources to help other people. Sure they can be pissy at times or even wrong. But the fact that they've added so much GOOD quickly negates the little amount of BAD.

At least that's how I see it.

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    While there's a lot of truth in that, and I do love the analogy, just remember that the new kid in school sees them ONLY as cranky old ladies and knows nothing of the good they do. SF gets a LOT of new kids. Commented May 18, 2012 at 10:47

I'd be the first one to admit I treat 'high rep' users better than 'low rep' ones.

But when I say 'rep' I don't mean of the SF numeric kind, I mean do they write clearly, are they obviously smart, not too needlessly aggressive etc. That matters far more to me than how much SF-rep they've gained.


Is this not the very definition of the word "reputation" and really, the whole point of it?

What good would a reputation be if it carried no weight, had no influence on prejudgment, or trust?

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    This is actually one of the reasons I don't like the term "rep" for the score we get. Commented May 14, 2012 at 12:18

I'm not nice to anyone.

Jokes aside, people do tend to be more respectful to high-rep users, simply because they have been on SO for a while now and they know stuff... I don't think this is necessarily a good thing.

I know this is not a perfect world, but if we lived in one, I'd say: be nice to everyone. All people deserve the same, no matter how much respect they have in this community.


I am new to this site. I like to help as I can. I have learned from past experience that reading the laws-of-the-land "FAQ" can save you some pain. I wont ask a question here unless I can spend the time to format my post in a detailed and focused way.

Some folks ask silly or completely unclear questions. I have seen answers from mild to get your face scraped off along with neg numbers. This makes the more timid or unsure people not want to ask for help.

my 2 cents.

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    This is meant to be a site for professionals. If you can't ask a question correctly (language difficulties taken into account) then you deserve what you get.
    – user9517
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 10:22
  • Harshness is one thing. Being offensive in any manner is not welcome here. If you see answers or comments where someone gets too brutal, rude or offensive please flag it for moderator attention, no matter who posted it. Commented May 27, 2012 at 7:04

Well - if you give a "not nice" comment to hig-reps it can happen that you get bad comments about that. Does it matter? No.

As long as the high-reps themselves understand constructive criticism I can live with (seldom) flame-comments.

Apart from that - there are some low-reps who write very good questions and/or answers. I never saw anyone flaming them.

As for this case - Kyle has withdrawn his question - so count it as a weak minute...


This is true...

Im a completely new user to the Forums and to the Linux scene. I made a question about a bash script problem who ended up being nothing but a simple extra "/" in my shebangs line. While I researched about all possible hard scenarios I overlooked such a simple thing. And its not that I overlooked it, I simply didnt know.

Well.. my question got a fast -1 even though I proved that I researched about the topic.

I still got my question answered and it seems that either someone retracted the -1 or someone voted +1, but it proves that low reps usually get treated "low".

Keep in mind that the lows from today, when you are gone, will be the highs from the future.

  • 2
    Presumably, you're referring to this question on SO. Note that SO and SF are different. In addition, downvotes don't come from moderators but from anyone with 125 reputation score or more (I think). I'm not sure what led these users to downvote the question, perhaps the fact that you hadn't realised it wasn't about bash but ksh, others seem to think it's off-topic too.
    – Bruno
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 18:10
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    @JC - the trick is not to care about rep, you can get really bitter and tied up in it if you do, just concentrate on writing your question in a way that's answerable and serves more than just yourself if possible, then the rep will come to you and you'll increase the chance of getting the answer you want. Oh and we're not a forum by the way.
    – Chopper3
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 20:05
  • @Chopper3 I dont. Actually I tried my best to describe my problem and show that Ive done previous research in the topic (as the rules say), and I felt as if my question was "stupid" or "worthless" when I actually had a serious concern. But I'll keep that in mind, and thanks all of you for the time you took to answer. :)
    – Rhyuk
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 20:15
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    Please don't refer to Stack Exchange sites as forums. The are Q&A sites, whereas forums are discussion areas. The distinction is very important, as it determine much of how the sites work. I will admit however that Meta SF is a bit looser and we do tend to have discussions disguised as Qs and As. Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 4:04
  • Whoa, so much fuzz for saying a word. Im not an english native speaker so I used the term forum, which at my english knowledge was the best I could use to describe the site. I apologize for any inconvenient or sentimental/psychological problems the word forum may have caused to you. Besides, I think @Chopper3 pointed that out for me.
    – Rhyuk
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 18:05

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