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The greatest tension in this website is that StackExchange is designed to be "gamified", rewarding users who answer questions well with little positive reinforcements that they helped people. The prevailing notion is that this is to the detriment of MSE specifically, as nearly any question worth asking has already been asked and answered, and there is no lack of conversation on the meta board of how to shut off the demand for answers in the present and into the future.

Perhaps it would be best to address the problem by trimming the supply of answers rather than the demand. If we removed the gamification aspects from this SE, there would no longer be an extrinsic motivation for people to answer questions, so there would be fewer people trying to answer PSQs before they were closed for lack of context. To give another example, you wouldn't see so many people flooding the review queues with worthless edits, because there wouldn't be a badge for them to chase for doing that. Ultimately, with luck, the community would wean itself down to established users who were only here for a love of mathematics and a desire to optimize the database to a useful compendium of elementary mathematical knowledge.

Another advantage of removing reputation is that it would lessen the suspicion that people who are helpful on this website are doing so to accumulate reputation points. One of the principals of this website is that we shouldn't delete questions with "good" answers. I don't think it's a secret that we actually do that pretty frequently. I can't get inside the heads of the people who make those deletion votes, so I apologize if I'm wrong. But I've gathered over the years that a motivation is to discourage users who attempt to pad their reputation by giving answers to borderline questions that are popular with the userbase. But if there were no reputation to pad, then we might look at good answers as the actual boon to the website that they are rather than a weed that needs to be pulled.

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    $\begingroup$ This post on Meta Stack Exchange by Jon Ericson seems a bit related: The problem with extrinsic motivation Gamification was discussed quite a bit also on this meta: Can someone explain the “economics” of StackExchange points?, Reputation - Why do so many people care? $\endgroup$ Jun 29 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ As a side note, anonymous feedback is somewhat similar to your "hidden reputation" - you can read a bit more in this answer and I have posted a few SEDE queries in chat. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 at 1:57
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    $\begingroup$ Did you find some older feature requests similar to yours? I was able to find only some posts which are about hiding reputation "partially", not removing it alltogether: Options to hide reputation information on Stack Overflow? or Hide the rep and badge count on a user's info box on answers. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 at 2:00
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    $\begingroup$ Is there a stackexchange site that managed to get rid of reputation? Another interesting question might be why mathoverflow also decided to adopt reputation. $\endgroup$
    – Yorch
    Jun 29 at 2:02
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    $\begingroup$ Another question is whether there are SE's that would also want to pursue this option if it were made available to us. Mathematics (and maybe Physics, I don't know) have a different lifecycle than topics like programming and astronomy that will always have new information and new challenges. I'm not proposing that we shut down new questions altogether at this time, but it seems clear that we're closer to the end than we are to the beginning. $\endgroup$
    – user694818
    Jun 29 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ You can always post something similar to this question on meta stack exchange, although I haven't been very successful with that approach in the past. I personally kind of like rep, but I'd have no problem with it being eliminated if it could make the site as pleasant as it was 7 years ago. $\endgroup$
    – Yorch
    Jun 29 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak I didn't see anyone discussing this here before, and the editor didn't suggest anything close when I wrote this post. I think what I'm suggesting here is a more radical proposal. If we make a full break from it, it will do a lot to eliminate the mistrust and suspicion between answerers and closers (and I say this as someone who performs both roles). $\endgroup$
    – user694818
    Jun 29 at 2:19
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any evidence for the claim "The prevailing notion is that this is to the detriment of MSE specifically"? (Although I do understand your point, especially about us being "closer to the end than the beginning".) $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Jun 29 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 MSE meta has been full of conversations about EoQS specifically the need to close PSQs before someone sneaks in with a solution. Another facet of that problem, not such a hot topic lately, is that problem of a "fastest gun in the west" solution that is fast rather than accurate or well-written. All of this is part of a narrative that there is an incentive to write low-quality answers to low-quality questions. $\endgroup$
    – user694818
    Jun 29 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ I am familiar with these discussions, but I did not (and do not) get the impression from them that "The prevailing notion is that this is to the detriment of MSE". Gamification leads to issues, yes, and your links are discussing these issues. However, there are benefits to gamification too, which we have to take into account when deciding is something is detrimental. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Jun 30 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ Dang, he left the site. He wrote a lot of really good answers :/ $\endgroup$
    – Yorch
    Jul 1 at 16:17
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I doubt we will actually get rid of reputation points -- they're pretty deep in the StackExchage DNA, and I think they do play a role in engaging people. But how about this: Only report reputation score to one or two significant figures?

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  • $\begingroup$ This is already the case (I think 3 significant figures for users over 10k). For example, the OP here has displayed rep of 19.1k, and you have to visit their profile for a proper breakdown. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Jun 30 at 8:45

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