What Is a “Reputation Point” and Who Cares?
On every site that invites participation, you see the same things: smart comments, dumb comments, and totally freaky inappropriate comments. We decided that, like eBay where everything you do reflects on you, we’d start tracking that. So when you write a great article, and everyone gives you stars, you get a bunch of points. And when you make a smart comment, you get some points too. Writing an article is more work, of course, so the points reflect this.
Our reputation secret-sauce has a couple more elements to it—stupid comments badly affect your reputation, while a poorly rated article does not (do you know how hard it is to write a real article compared to a spur of the moment comment?) And editors also benefit from a highly rated article, because they had a hand in it too.
So why bother? Well, you can go to the “people” section, and quickly see whose voices you may wish to follow, and whose you may wish to filter out. We also use the reputations to help us figure out who would be a great staff member, or a terrific author.
The reputation algorithm is a work in progress. We know some folks will want to game the system. But we hope it will encourage our readers to say smart things more often, and trolls to hold their tongues.