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(This is a reconstruction, also I've had a change of heart)

I suggest that we replace the rep system with a system based on the average number of votes each user receives. For instance, in this system I'd be a 1.1 since I on average receive 1.1 up votes, while someone like Asaf Karagila is a 4.5 since he receives 4.5 up votes on average. I think the system could curb rep farming, since rep would be based on quality over quantity.

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    $\begingroup$ A problem with this is that a detailed answer to a mildly advanced question often will give rather few votes. By contrast a quickly given, catchy two-liner that contains one completely standard but nice trick can give you many votes. The main problem is that there just is no correlation (in any case not a direct one) between score and quality over the full spectrum. For this to work at all one would at least need to cap the score or damp it significantly for positive extreme. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 9 '15 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @quid doesn't our current system have that problem? In addition, if that's what the people like, then that's what should be considered the best. I only suggest a solution to fix the interpretation of a user's standing in the community. $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ The current system also has this problem, but to a lesser degree. Just check who will be on top in your system math.stackexchange.com/users/65454/liz (if CW disregarded), math.stackexchange.com/users/1319/chris , math.stackexchange.com/users/13905/a-hardin , math.stackexchange.com/users/80061/haugsire Nothing against these users but to say they are the "best" users on the site seem extremely weird. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 9 '15 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ @quid just as he didn't get all the rep from that question, neither would you in this sytem. Also that's a simple fix, take the median rather than the mean. This would get rid of "one time users". $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this system. It seems kind of unfair that you have to have been on this site for several years(sometimes more) to have any kind of influence on the site. $\endgroup$ – user228288 Apr 9 '15 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ @NonStandard Chappers already has close/reopen privilege, being a member for 34 days. If one has something valuable to contribute, points and privileges come quickly. If not... $\endgroup$ – user147263 Apr 9 '15 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ @pizza that's a bit disgenious, don't you think that's an atypical example? I'm top 4% this month, I don't have those privleges. $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Zach466920 I think it largely just depends on how much time you spend on the site. $\endgroup$ – Qudit Apr 9 '15 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ Incidently, the number of upvotes on some of the answers to this recent question are good examples of the reputation system gone out of control. This isn't to say that those answers are bad, but the number of upvotes on some of those answers does seem way out of proportion. $\endgroup$ – Qudit Apr 9 '15 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ @pizza I'll give you the benifit of the doubt and assume your not back-handing me with that comment (I have 52 rep, and I figure you looked), but 1.3 people liked the things I posted, eventually I'll have enough posts that taking an average will make sense. That's why I like this system, I feel more empowered. $\endgroup$ – user228288 Apr 9 '15 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ You'll find the site much more pleasant if you mostly ignore any numbers that SE attaches to objects on this site. These numbers rarely if ever are correlated to anything of value. Ignore the puerile gamification and instead concentrate on what matters - sharing mathematical knowledge. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 9 '15 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @barto I do not see what you want to illustrate. There are 32 votes on the question. It just happens they split 17/-15 Moreover this "vote early"-early idea is in my mind really part of the problem not the solution. It encourages quick-and-dirty answers. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 9 '15 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ @barto what is your point then? There was massive voting on the Q and the A (not each, but this is because of the "early"). If there is a problem it is that there is too much voting not too little when a question becomes highly visible for some reason. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 9 '15 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Zach466920 The only reason Bill has so much reputation is because 1) he has answered a ton of questions, 2) users found those answers helpful, 3) he has been on this site for a long time, 4) he is very active on this site, etc., etc. If you want more reputation, then be more active, particularly in providing high-quality answers. A lot of things don't make sense on MSE. But that's fine. You simply have to learn to live with it. Or leave. And many do, unfortunately, because MSE has become infiltrated with a swarm of mathematical douchebags. It happens though. (-1) $\endgroup$ – Daniel W. Farlow Apr 9 '15 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Um...that was a complete error on my part. I promise I originally had your name correct, I just had edited the question down and then I ended up typing to hastily, which is also why both posts have 10 to many edits. For the record, Ron Gordon totally changed my view on most of this. $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 22:02
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I think the OP has a point to some degree. (Nothing like starting off a post with an incredibly wishy-washy statement!) But, I do agree that rep as an absolute number has a meaning, and that meaning is not necessarily one of reverence. There are other metrics by which we may better measure the average quality of one's questions and answers.

And let me preface the rest of what I'm going to say with the fact that, if the OP is really 16 years old as he states, then his mathematical knowledge is quite far ahead of most of his peers. I applaud his smarts and guts for showing his wares among the likes of the university professors, Ph.D. students, and other oddballs that inhabit this site.

(And I assume that I am speaking of a male with a moniker beginning with "Zach..." Please correct me if I am wrong.)

OK, that all said, the OP has been on this site for all of 43 days. The user he chooses to pick on, Asaf, has been on the site for 4 years and 8 months. The OP has provided about 50 answers; Asaf, nearly 4200. Asaf is a productive contributor who provides consistently high-quality content both in the main site and meta, and is the sort of chap one may want to have a beer with. So, if Asaf's "value" to this site should not be 500 times that of the OP, then maybe it should be more like 1,000, or 5,000 times that of the OP's.

I could go on. But I hope to simply disabuse the OP of the notion that the highest-rep users are "farmers." Well, at least most of them. But people who have high rep post a lot of high-quality answers. People who post a lot of low-quality crap do not have high reps. It is as simple as that. It does not mean that high-rep users are better human beings than low-rep users. It just means that they have posted a lot of stuff that the community generally approves of.

Now, we may argue whether a user with 60K rep that has posted 1,000 answers has made better contributions than the user with 60K rep who has posted 4,000 answers. Hell, the SE Blog posted something about an "impact score" that measures a user's overall impact on the site not that long ago. So we know that rep alone does not paint a complete picture of a user's contributions here. But it does have a certain meaning. And that meaning is useful and should not be neglected.

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  • $\begingroup$ @Ron Gordon That point about the difference in the actual number of questions completely made me (nearly) reverse my opinion. I was thinking about equalizing the playing field so that the range of reputation amounts would be decreased to conceivable sizes. Your comment made me realize that it just nullifies the appreciation for the years of work done by others. Having said that, a rep system based on something more than simple arithmetic would be appreciated... $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ Like I said before: simply looking at a user's profile and what kind of questions they answer and what kind of answers they provide should be perfectly adequate to see how useful or knowledgeable a user is. $\endgroup$ – Daniel W. Farlow Apr 9 '15 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @MagicMan I know, but honestly I'd like a lazy way out at least some of the time. $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MagicMan also I completely shredded this question. I'll let you choose. Should I a) delete the question, b) start a new question with my edits, c) do nothing, d) none of the above? $\endgroup$ – Zach466920 Apr 9 '15 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Zach466920 Well, if you have a new question, then I'd ask a new question. :) If your old question is no longer relevant, then I'd delete it. $\endgroup$ – Daniel W. Farlow Apr 9 '15 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, Asaf would like to have a beer with most people who would drink it. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 9 '15 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ (Oh, and thanks for the warm words. :-)) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 9 '15 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: I know one other guy named Asaf - he's a cousin of mine from Herzliya who has moved to Massachusetts, where I live. He's a really good guy, so based on that small sample, I assume all dudes named "Asaf" are good guys too. My interactions with you here reinforce that bias. $\endgroup$ – Ron Gordon Apr 10 '15 at 12:34
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Slightly off-topic
Concerning unbalanced voting when there are many answers to one question, the system could show a message like

Don't forget to take a look at the other answers! The highest voted answer is not necessarily the best one.

to repress unbalanced voting (in case the user voted up one answer while there are many others). The system does already supervise voting patterns; for example it may give the following message: enter image description here

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