How to get a 10,000 points StackOverflow reputation

How it all started

In spring 2014, I initiated the Hibernate Master Class project, focusing on best practices and well-established usage patterns. I then realized that all my previous Hibernate experience wouldn’t be enough for this task. I needed more than that.

Hibernate has a very steep learning curve and tens of new StackOverflow questions are being asked on a daily basis. With so many problems waiting to be solved, I came to realize this was a great opportunity to prove my current skills while learning some new tricks.

On 8th of May 2014, I gave my very first StackOverflow answer. After 253 days, on 16th of January 2015, I managed to get a reputation of over 10,000:

meta_10k_stackoverflow

StackOveflow facts

StackExchange offers a data query tool to analyze anything you can possible think of. Next I’m going to run some queries against my own account and four well renowned users:

User Reputation Answers
Jon Skeet 743,416 30,812
Peter Lawrey 251,229 10,663
Tomasz Nurkiewicz 152,139 2,964
Lukas Eder 55,208 1077
Vlad Mihalcea 10,018 581

Accepted answers reputation

The accepted answer ratio tells us how much you can count on the OP (question poster) to accept your answers:

User Average acceptance ratio Average acceptance reputation
[Ratio x 15]
Jon Skeet 60.42% 9.06
Peter Lawrey 28,90% 4.35
Tomasz Nurkiewicz 53,91% 8,08
Lukas Eder 46,69% 7.00
Vlad Mihalcea 37,36% 5.60

The chance of having your answer accepted rarely surpasses the 60% rate, so don’t count too much on this one. Some OP will never accept your answer, even if it’s the right one and it has already generated a high score.

Lesson 1: Don’t get upset if your answer was not accepted, and think of your answer as a contribution to our community rather than a gift to the question author.

Up-votes reputation

Another interesting metric is the answer score graph:

meta-10k-upvote-stackoverflow

The average answer score is a good indicator of your overall answer effectiveness, as viewed by the whole community:

User Average Score Average score reputation
[Ratio x 10]
Jon Skeet 8.16 81.6
Peter Lawrey 2.50 25
Tomasz Nurkiewicz 4.67 46.7
Lukas Eder 4.25 42.5
Vlad Mihalcea 0.75 7.5

While the answer acceptance is a one-time event, up-voting can be a recurring action. A good answer can increase your reputation, long after you’ve posted your solution.

Lesson 2: Always strive for getting high-quality answers. Even if they don’t get accepted, someone else might find it later and thank you with an up-vote.

Bounty hunting reputation

I’ve been a bounty hunter from the very beginning and the bounty contribution query proves why I happen to favor featured questions over regular ones:

User Bounty Count Total bounty reputation Average bounty reputation
Jon Skeet 67 8025 119
Tomasz Nurkiewicz 2 100 50
Peter Lawrey 4 225 56
Lukas Eder 2 550 275
Vlad Mihalcea 36 2275 63

To place a bounty, you have to be willing to deduct your own reputation, so naturally the question is both challenging and rewarding. The featured questions have a dedicated tab, therefore getting much more traction than regular ones, increasing the up-vote chance as well.

Lesson 3: Always favor bounty questions over regular ones.

Reputation is a means not a goal

The reputation alone is just a community contribution indicator and you should probably care more about tag badges instead. The tag badges prove one’s expertise in a certain technology, and it’s the fairest endorsement system currently available in the software industry.

If you want to become an expert in a particular area, I strongly recommend you trying to get a gold badge on that topic. The effort of earning 1000 up-votes will get you more than a virtual medal on your StackOverflow account. You will get to improve your problem-solving skills and make a name for yourself in the software community.

As I said it before:

When you answer a question you are reiterating your knowledge. Sometimes you only have a clue, so you start investigating that path, which not only provides you the right answer but it also allows you to strengthen your skills. It’s like constant rehearsing.

Conclusion

If you cannot image developing software without the helping hand of the StackOverflow knowledge base, then you should definitely start contributing.

In the end, the occasional “Thank you, it works now!” is much more rewarding than even a 10,000 points reputation.

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9 thoughts on “How to get a 10,000 points StackOverflow reputation

  1. Congrats on hitting 10k. It sounds like you have a really healthy view of what a tool like SO is for and how to use it.

    Some of the most rewarding answers are the ones I wasn’t quite sure of and had to research (and learn something new) before posting an answer. And of course, it’s rewarding (and affirming) when the OP throws a “thanks!” your way.

  2. Great piece of advice, I am always scared to post an answer because it may not be perfect.

    A good idea as you said is to try and focus in a particular niche of technology or to answer questions from a very recent language where there won’t be many experts (trying to answer a Java or a Spring question promptly, with high quality and that no one else has answered yet is virtually impossible)

    1. Don’t be afraid to offer your help. You’ll learn many thing while answering SO questions. You will get better at understanding problems, especially when there is so little context about the issue. You’ll get a chance to write English (if you’re not a native, it’s better to practice as much as possible). Whenever I feel that I can provide a better answer to an old question, which already has answers with hundreds of points, I do it for the sake of the solution. No answer will ever be perfect, so it’s better to focus on giving the best answer you can.

  3. It’s really great advices! thanks for it
    Do you mind using your quote “The occasional “Thank you, it works now!” is much more rewarding than even a 10,000 points reputation.” with your name in my new blog I am working on it to share knowledge on the field of front-end and hybrid mobile apps development ?

    it’s really made me think different .

    Thanks in advance

  4. Thank you very much for the advice !

    Do you mind to use your quote “The occasional “Thank you, it works now!” is much more rewarding than even a 10,000 points reputation.” with your name in my new blog I am developing it to share my knowledge in the field of front-end and hybrid mobile apps development .

    It’s really have a great effect on me to continue helping others …

    Thanks in Advance

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