I cannot let go of the impression that scoring reputation on Unix & Linux is harder than on many other StackExchange sites (tex.se to name one).

Is this just my subjective impression or is there some truth to this feeling? Could it be that certain actions are scored less than on other sites? Is this site "rigged" by moderators to give less reputation per action or not?

  • 4
    Do you mean "you get less rep per vote", or "there's less voting"? The reputation gain/loss from a given event is the same as all other non-beta SE sites; I'm not sure about the average vote counts per post Feb 24, 2014 at 0:35
  • @MichaelMrozek I guess that is what I wanted to know; Whether this site is programmed by its moderators to give less reputation per action or not? Feb 24, 2014 at 8:07
  • @on4aa I read your answer too Michael's comment completely different than your OP (which I interpret as more being based on other people voting/you being able to provide the most acceptable answer). Could you uprove your Q to make that more clear?
    – Anthon
    Feb 24, 2014 at 8:55
  • @Anthon I left my question purposely quite open in order to catch all possible answers. Here on meta that should not be of much concern, I may hope. Feb 24, 2014 at 9:00
  • @on4aa No it is not a concern, but I would not have come up with my answer if I had not read the exchange between you and Michael. Others might not read that far. From that point it is better to extend your Q if you want a more diverse set of answers.
    – Anthon
    Feb 24, 2014 at 9:03

6 Answers 6


All sites grant the same amount of reputation for the same events. But different sites have different propensity to vote, and upvotes are the main source of reputation. From the data explorer (data as of a few weeks ago), here are voting statistics for some Stack Exchange sites: the average number of upvotes and downvotes per non-deleted post; the rank is for average votes (up+down) per post. I've included computer-related sites plus the top and bottom 5 (the bottom 5 are all computer-related).

                    up    down  rank
skeptics           12.29  1.66     1
meta                7.95  1.57     2
workplace           7.81  1.14     3
cstheory            8.00  0.82     4
academia            8.11  0.52     5
programmers         7.71  0.85     6
tex                 5.74  0.06    23
mathematica         5.35  0.19    25
reverseengineering  4.80  0.32    35
security            4.63  0.38    38
ux                  4.30  0.20    51
softwarerecs        3.76  0.40    61
networkengineering  3.72  0.30    67
gamedev             3.51  0.39    72
codereview          3.62  0.16    75
craftcms            3.52  0.04    82
blender             3.30  0.11    85
webapps             2.84  0.54    86
unix                3.12  0.14    90
windowsphone        2.62  0.26    101
raspberrypi         2.67  0.13    102
graphicdesign       2.56  0.23    103
dba                 2.55  0.18    104
tor                 2.57  0.15    105
android             2.33  0.38    106
sqa                 2.47  0.12    109
arduino             2.42  0.16    110
gis                 2.44  0.10    111
salesforce          2.39  0.12    112
SuperUser           2.26  0.22    113
ubuntu              2.19  0.24    114
apple               2.22  0.20    115
StackOverflow       2.17  0.23    116
webmasters          2.16  0.15    117
joomla              2.01  0.17    119
ServerFault         1.87  0.21    120
sound               1.85  0.07    121
expressionengine    1.57  0.04    122
drupal              1.36  0.23    123
wordpress           1.20  0.25    124
magento             1.08  0.13    125
sharepoint          1.13  0.05    126

As you can see, computer-related sites tend not to vote much. TeX is an exception, being at the top of the third decile overall. Unix & Linux is way below the median, but is actually above the median for computer-related sites.

  • 1
    This is by far the best answer; raw data does not lie. Sep 24, 2014 at 12:35

You get the same rep changes by the same actions here as on other sites. You can compare the help for the rep gains in on the various sites for that unix&linux, tex, so

However how people vote is in my experience quite different between the various sites, and that might give the impression that U&L is more difficult.

Especially on newer sites like tex.se, and ebooks.se I noticed that you will more easily get a few up votes for an answer. Even when others answers are available. This might be because existing users are more concerned about people coming back there and thus want to encourage (I don't think that is a long term good strategy, but that is another discussion).

It can also be that, due to the topic, a site will have less (often) diverse good answers, that gives you less of a chance to gain rep if you answer with a working, but non-optimal answer. E.g. you give an answer here on U&L using perl/python/awk/sed and then Gilles, Stephane or slm someone comes with a better answer using bash or ksh only. Those simpler/better answers tend to get more up votes is my impression.

What certainly can be different between sites, is what levels of reputation gains you which privileges. E.g. on U&L you get access to the moderator tools at 10K, on ebooks this is at 2K. I lost some reviewing/voting privileges on tex.se at some point. I don't know whether that was because those rep levels were adjusted after getting out of Beta or enough users with higher rep were active.

  • Regarding your last paragraph, I think it had to do with the site getting out of Beta (i.e. graduating).
    – tshepang
    Feb 24, 2014 at 16:38
  • Yes, the rep levels are standard as well. Mod tools: 10k for all non-beta sites, and 2k for beta.
    – terdon Mod
    Feb 25, 2014 at 11:29

Personally, I find that U&L is by far the easiest place to get rep. I'm active (as in >2k) on Super User, English, Biology and regularly visit Ubuntu and SciFi. Of these, I find that people are much more generous with their upvotes here. For example, I went from 5k to 20k in about 4 months.

The differences you see depend on three main things:

  1. The number of users. Of course, since this is a smaller site than tex.se or SO, we get fewer views per post and, by extension, fewer possible votes. The flip side of this is that the regulars tend to read all questions at least once while on the big sites they get buried very quickly.

  2. What constitutes a good answer for each community. We like long comprehensive answers here. We like platform agnostic ones; we like general and portable solutions.

  3. What kind of questions do we like? This community really gets off on obscure shell trickery and elegant one liners. It tends to be a (friendly) competition to out-geek each other. Other categories of question often get less love. We don't tend to be all that interested in GUI stuff for example (perfectly on-topic mind you).

Specifically, in your case, you have only posted 8 answers, how much rep do you want ;) ? Of those 8, 6 have not been upvoted:

  • One of these is your answer to your own post which you chose not to accept, you have no one to blame but yourself for that.

  • Another was a really great and detailed answer which has been unfairly overlooked (I upvoted it). Probably because it was a question not many people found interesting.

  • One was not an answer but a comment (I've flagged it).

  • Another does not really answer the question, it just discusses the issue.

  • This one is reasonable enough, just hasn't gotten much attention (and half of it is just repeating an earlier answer)

  • This one is a bad answer because you mention a script and don't show the actual script. You just link to it and that is something we try to avoid. Next time, include the script in your answer and give the link as a reference.

So, in all, once you get the hang on what kind of answer we like here you'll see that it is actually quite easy to get rep. I hope you'll stick around and do so!


Different SE communities vote differently. I find it harder to gain reputation on Stack Overflow than here for example. It's even easier in Ask Ubuntu, and easier still on main SE meta. It feels harder on Server Fault.

These experiences may be unique to me of course (I haven't done any measurements), but I am pretty sure the voting patterns are different between individual SE communities.

  • Yes, perhaps it all boils down to people on other sites being more lenient to vote or maybe just sheer number of users, hence a higher likelihood of someone voting. Feb 24, 2014 at 8:53

I don't think it's any harder or easier than any other SE site. I frequent AU, SU, SF and it seems about the same. It's really a matter of putting time in to do research and attempt to answer the Q's. That's all I do.


The number of people who view an already answered question is important. The user numbers differ between the sites.

I don't remember whether I had a similar impression on serverfault but here I am seldom satisfied with the voting I get. What I consider my best answers usually get few votes only (which does not mean that the community doesn't value the answer; it can simply mean that few people are interested in the question at all; and if you are not familiar with the subject then it's difficult to assess a complicated answer).

On the other hand I recently got so many votes for an answer which was neither difficult nor comprehensive that I felt kind of embarrassed and did some research today in order to add some information to "justify" the voting...

  • It also seems to me that U&L could benefit from a bit more lenient voting, even though if it were only to motivate posters. I do admit that is difficult to strike the right balance; too quick voting on the first answer as seen on some other sites neither is desirable. Feb 24, 2014 at 17:15

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