Of reputation in Stackoverflow

6th December evokes memories of the infamous Ayodhya incident.  But 6th December 2011 is an important day in my technical career - the day I reached 10000 reputation in Stackoverflow.

I first got exposed to SO (as it is called in short) in my earlier organization, when I interacted with the customer, for whom we were doing a project.  "What a name for a website", I thought.  This was more than two years back and SO was not that popular (at least in my circle).  It was strange to see a website for question and answers.  "I can understand people asking questions, but who would want to take the time to answer them?", so I thought.

How wrong was I!

So far, I have been used to various forums and mailing lists for discussing technical topics.  They continue to exist and vary in popularity.

We faced a problem in our project and I decided to ask about this in SO - my first question.  I did not expect a response and was surprised to see one in a few hours.  Though it did not meet my requirement, it changed my perception about the response that a question in SO would have.

Soon I began to go through the questions that were being asked and realized that there were many for which I knew the answer (or had a response).  Now, why would I want to spend time browsing questions and answering?

The answer lies in the reputation system built into the site.  Human beings are inherently egoistic and feel good when someone pats them on their back or recognizes them in some form. In SO, anyone can recognize an answer (or even a question) by press of a button (called upvote).  This gives some points (called reputation) to the person who answered the question.  Thus, a person can build up his reputation by giving answers which agree with or find useful.

There it was... I was no different from others.  I realized I wanted to see some reputation against my name.  As I started providing answers and started seeing people recognize me for the answers, my interest in answering increased. I suspect this is what drives the bulk of the SO users.

I joined SO in Jan 2010.  It is 2 years 1 months now.  It has been an enjoyable experience, being able to contribute what you know in the form of answers.

Of late, much attention has been focussed on Sachin's 100th century. As I neared my 10000th reputation, I had an internal contest on who would reach this first!  Lucky me!

10000 reputation in SO is by no means high, when you consider the large number of users with reputations greater than 100k (10 times mine).

I achieved another milestone today, which is the All Time Top Answerer for maven tag.

This milestone may be shortlived since it is based on reputation, which keeps changing every minute!  And then again, the only reason I reached this is because the person who had this record, Pascal has not been answering questions in this tag for a long while now!


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