I’m not sure if there’s a word for something so obvious it’s almost tautological, and yet, it for some reason should still be explicitly said. Maybe a “truism”.

I do like the “users” leaderboard as a convenient metric we have right now for who are good contributors. But like so many things, the inverse relationship is just as interesting: the extent to which our leaderboard fails to accord with our intuition about who is actually a good contributor, is a diagnostic for what might be wrong with our reputation system.


I’m not using this post to argue what changes would be beneficial, just to draw attention to this as an interesting diagnostic or bellweather.

It’s important to consider that there is kind of a separation layer between changes in the Stack Exchange system, which are harder to influence, vs. the leeway we do have as a specific SE site in determining many aspects of policy. We can’t reform the rep system on a software level, but we can do plenty to redefine our own moderation policy, for example.

(I personally think that Bumble may be the most expert active contributor we currently have, at least in mathematical logic, and I think they might be a professor emeritus somewhere.)

1 Answer 1


You do overlook some facts here:

  1. Moderation is a task that is very different from contribution.
  2. Being a moderator is a burden, work, nobody will pay you for and, truth be told, you even get criticism above praise almost all the time.
  3. Since people tend to know that, our top (quality) contributors never ran for the post when there were elections.
  4. Also, not to forget, reputation sadly does not necessarily reflect quality.

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