Reputation, also referred to as "rep," is a way to keep track of how much administrators or community members have contributed to the site and how reputable they are. Reputation is an indication of how much the community (and, therefore, the system) trusts you. You can earn reputation by doing things that other people find useful. Completing various tasks (like answering a question) earns you certain amounts of reputation, while performing other less-appreciated ones (like spamming) will deduct rep. Attaining certain amounts of reputation lets you perform different tasks, in addition to letting other people know that you are someone who probably knows what you are talking about (or at least spends a lot of time on the site).
To view information about your reputation, go to your profile by clicking on your username in the top right corner, and then clicking "View Profile." Next, click on the tab that says "Reputation." This will take you to a tab displaying your reputation over time and your reputation breakdown.
The first section, Reputation Over Time, displays your reputation growth by date, month, or year depending on how long you have been a member. You can place your mouse over any spot on the graph to view your reputation at that specific date.
The second section is the Reputation Breakdown. Here you will see exactly how you earned those prized reputation points displayed proudly next to your name. This section explains how many times you performed an action (Count) that gained or lost you reputation, as well as how much reputation (Delta) was awarded.
For more specific information about the reputation you earned, click on the "Activity" tab next to the "Reputation" tab. This will show every action you have performed recently. If any of those actions earned or lost you reputation, the amount will be displayed to the left of the action.
You can view anybody's reputation graph and reputation breakdown by simply going to their profile and clicking on their Reputation tab.
Earning reputation in real life requires a lot of time, money, and hard work. Luckily, earning reputation on the site is easy! There are many different ways to increase your rep.
Helping out other members of the community by asking and answering questions using Getting Started with Answers is a great way to increase your reputation.
The following is a list of all the ways reputation can be earned using Answers:
- Voting Down a Post
- Voting on moderator actions
- Editing tags
- Editing posts
The system takes care of making sure each person gets the correct amount of reputation, so you do not need to worry about the breakdown too much.
The other main way to receive reputation is through step-by-step guides. The more that people complete or like your guides, the more reputation you receive. In addition to reputation from Answers, you can also receive reputation from guides every day.
The following is a complete list of how reputation can be earned through guides:
- Someone links to your guide in Answers
- Someone likes an Answer linking to your guide
- Someone completes your guide
- Someone completes a guide that uses your guide as a prerequisite
When multiple people contribute to a guide, all reputation received from that guide is divvied up amongst each author that has contributed at least 10% to the guide.
Here's an example:
- Alice started the guide, but over time it's grown and her contribution is now 60%
- Bob has made a lot of improvements and added new photos, contributing 36% of the total
- Mallory contributed a few minor edits totalling 4%
If Jane successfully completes the guide, Alice will get +18 points and Bob will get +12. Mallory would not gain any points until she made more substantial changes to the guide. Then, if the guide had any prerequisites, 30 reputation points would be divvied up between its authors.
A key to running a user-based website is monitoring user activity. One way this is done is by removing reputation when someone does something that hurts the site or the community.
As easy as it is to gain reputation using Answers, it is also possible to lose it. By making sure to only publish information that is constructive, you will not have to worry about losing reputation. Reputation is typically lost when an answer or question you post is voted down. This only happens when posts are intentionally unhelpful. On rare occasions, reputation may be lost if your post is removed for being offensive or spam. Again, this will only happen if you intentionally post something offensive or with the intention of spamming.
Certain tasks, such as voting down a post, cost a little bit of reputation—not much, but enough to encourage you to be sparing with your criticism. Voting down posts is a very useful way to provide constructive criticism to others, but abusing the power can hurt the site.
The following is a complete list of the ways that someone can lose reputation when using answers:
- Your answer is downvoted (1-5 times)
- Your answer is downvoted (6-10 times)
- Your answer is downvoted (over 10 times)
- You downvote an answer
- You flag a post
- Your post is removed for being inappropriate
Why is reputation important? What does reputation for users?
You can always ask a question or post an answer. However, as your reputation increases, the system trusts you more and allows you to perform more actions. Here are the actions available in Answers, as well as their required reputations:
- Receive 50 votes per day: 10
- Comment: 20
- Flag a comment: 20
- Flag a post: 30
- Vote down: 100
- Vote on moderator actions: 100
- Edit tags/topic: 200
- Edit a post: 500
- Archive a question: 5,000
- Reopen a question/answer: 10,000
- Delete a question/answer: 20,000
For more information on some of these topics, check out Moderating Posts.
Just like on Answers, gaining more reputation allows more actions when working on step-by-step guide or wiki articles. The following is a list of all these achievable actions and the amount of reputation required:
- Comment on someone's post: 20
- Create a new topic: 500
- Edit a title/tag: 500
- Edit a Wiki Category: 1,000
The main way to moderate what people post is to patrol the edits that they make to pages. Having more reputation means that there is a higher chance that edits you make will be instantly published, regardless of permission thresholds. For information about what reputation allows you to do with the Permissions Manager, as well as what permission thresholds are, check out Permissions and Patrolling info.
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