It’s been about a year since I have been on Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is a site for computer programmers of all skill levels to ask and answer questions. It works pretty great, and I have gotten some good answers there.
Reputation is a (very) rough measurement of how much the Stack Overflow community trusts you. Reputation is never given, it is earned by convincing other Stack Overflow users that you know what you’re talking about.
Here’s how it works: if you post a good question or helpful answer, it will be voted up by your peers: you gain 10 reputation points. If you post something that’s off topic or incorrect, it will be voted down: you lose 2 reputation points. You can earn up to 200 reputation per day, but no more. (Note that votes for any posts marked “community wiki” do not generate reputation.)
Compare with how XBox Gamerscores work:
Your gamerscore is made up of all of the points you earn for earning achievements in Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade games. Each achievement has a certain number of points associated with it so your gamerscore is a way to show other people what games you have played and what you have accomplished. Each 360 game has around 1000 points to earn while arcade games have 200.
I think it’s an effective lubricant to participation, and a pretty good way to slowly give users more capabilities on a website.
If you do any programming, and have never been to Stack Overflow, I would be interested in your first impressions of the site.