1k Reputation on stackoverflow.com
A few weeks ago I got really into stackoverflow.com, the question/answer site for programming:
But now I've got a bit bored of it. If you want to achieve reputation, it seems you have to take the following things into account:
- People will only vote up your answers who are able to see that your answer is correct; therefore common topics or easy topics (such as simple SQL questions) will get more votes and therefore reputation points than something which requires more detailed knowledge such as Oracle optimization tips or Lucene full-text search indexing strategies. (Example of a popular answer, example of non-popular answer)
- Obviously once a question has been correctly answered, there's no point in answering it again. Therefore people tend to surf the newest questions, looking for things to answer. Therefore if you answer a really old question, even if it's still valid and hasn't been answered, nobody will see it and vote up your answer and you won't get points.
- People looking at a question, if there are 3 of 4 answers, they will vote up one of them if they are correct. If yours isn't there yet, you don't get voted up (yet). Therefore you have to answer quickly. Answering quickly is probably the exact opposite of answering in a reflected and considered way, with a lot of detail, etc.
So basically you have the situation that, in order to gain points, you have to keep on refreshing the "newest questions" page, find a really easy question which anyone could answer, and then answer it in a really non-detailed way.
But still, for a week or so, I was obsessed with my status. So it's been definitely a good learning experience for me, that "game mechanics" with arbitrary rewards (which don't cost the site owner anything) can really get your users to get obsessed with whatever you want them to do and make them do free work for you (in this case, build up a set of questions and answers on a website, which does have value to the site owner).