There is a certain User(s) on this Exchange that is deliberately posting silly questions in order to entice high voting, badges and reputation increases. Why? I don't know, but I do know they're doing it. I'm sure some of you know who I'm talking about.

I'm not exactly sure, but adding bounties to questions that already have nearly hundreds of votes, many answers and such just seems like poor abuse (the bounty was of the lowest scale possible) among other things...

At what point does someone's drive for reputation (and not something more productive) get noticed and dealt with? Or do we encourage silly questions and fun with no purpose?

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    The problem is that these are not hypothetical, unless for some reason you don't believe me. Alright so I'm going to take it that Travel wants to see more interesting questions that don't affect my personal (or their personal) travel, but instead are fun. Thanks! – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 11:40
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    Why can't something be fun and affect your personal travels? I feel sorry for you if you're sad when you travel. – JoErNanO Sep 3 '15 at 12:01
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    What? I never said it can't be. I said that I can think of things 100x more interesting and fun than the travel I am doing. That would defeat the purpose of travel if one was sad... What are you talking about? – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 12:08
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    To be fair, he may simply have added that bounty to get the bounty badge. I too like going for badges, but I'd have put it on something else, personally. – Mark Mayo Sep 3 '15 at 13:08
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    @MarkMayo on all of their 'silly questions' ? – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 13:23
  • @insidesin I've not gone to inspect each one, I just observed it as a possibility. Self-promotion/rep farming is also a possibility :/ – Mark Mayo Sep 3 '15 at 13:49
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    I wouldn't have brought it up if I looked at it as a one off bounty addition.. :/ – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 13:57
  • I'm glad you're accepting my apology, you are welcome friend. – insidesin Sep 9 '15 at 13:44

The position of Stack Exchange is very clear: you vote on the question or the answer, not the person. Period. I have been flagging comments by people who say they are downvoting, voting to close or the like "because your other questions...". That's just not right. And these flags have been marked helpful, so the moderators appear to agree with me.

There have been some very silly and useless questions posted here - gold bars, bulletproof vests, and so on - but there have also been some intriguing and interesting ones from the same user, often phrased in a way that is a little irritating, but still interesting. What we should do is clearly to downvote bad questions, close offtopic questions, answer questions we can answer, and edit both questions and answers to ensure they meet our standards around readability, politeness, and so on.

Where this approach struggles is the Hot Questions List. Questions with titles that grab attention bring people over to the site who don't know our norms, and can upvote because of the association bonus but can't downvote. They often upvote the question for being intriguing, and then wander away. I totally agree that this is a problem. It results in a front page that misrepresents what this site really is. However, the solution for that is not to try to get people to stop asking intriguing questions that might attract clueless upvoters. Try to convince yourself that they are also attracting good new Travel users who look at other questions on the site, benefit from them, and maybe even start participating.

Rule 1 on any online community is that it's nearly impossible to ask anyone to stop doing anything. Your best bet is always to ask everyone else to do more of what you want the community to be doing. Here we also have the editing and closing powers to mitigate the worst silly questions. There's no reason to run around doing anything to non silly questions just because you distrust the reasons they were asked. Judge them on their merits, or lack of merits, improve them if you can, and that's all.

  • Good to know that I'm not alone in this struggle. Thank you. :) – JoErNanO Sep 5 '15 at 15:33
  • on the hot questions issue, I've just put a bounty on meta.stackexchange.com/questions/238420/… – Kate Gregory Sep 5 '15 at 17:53
  • Okay so 'fake' albeit interesting questions are good? :/ – insidesin Sep 6 '15 at 10:50
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    i didn't give an opinion on fakeness. I just said vote the question. If you think that it's fake, and that it's fakeness makes it not good, then vote it down. My point is that you shouldn't vote it down because "I think you ask a lot of fake questions and have more rep than you deserve". I am also explaining an effect of the Hot Questions list that is frankly out of our control. – Kate Gregory Sep 6 '15 at 11:36

I'm not sure if Meta is the right place to discuss this. It feels more like public shaming rather than an actual question on the site. Nevertheless I'll give my two cents on the matter.

I'll answer with a question: do we care about rep farming? Is it forbidden by SE policy? I could not find a definite answer, despite there being various question on Meta SE on the topic:

  1. What is rep farming?
  2. What is the correct response to obvious reputation farming?

There's even a question by Jeff himself on tips on how to gain rep quickly: Six simple tips to get reputation fast on any Stack Exchange site It would therefore be safe to assume that gaining reputation is not forbidden by SE policy, as long as one does not violate site rules. For example rep farming by sock-puppetry is obviously forbidden.

On the other hand, rep farming by legally engaging in QA activity is not. Nobody is forcing the community to upvote the posts and answer the questions. It's quite the opposite: if the community upvotes the posts then that's a symptom of such posts being recognised as quality (per today's standards) and thus belonging on the site.

I don't even think that offering bounties to get badges is forbidden. Once again, aiming to gather all participation badges by engaging in QA activity on the site is definitely not forbidden.

Having said this I don't like the idea of passing qualitative judgements on the thin-air likeness of the questions: what might be a valid travel reason for me might be complete nonsense to you. I might want to travel to see, and use, all the toilets in the world. You might think this is crazy. That shouldn't stop me from asking my toilet-travel related questions on this site. IMHO if it's a valid, on topic Travel question then it belongs on Travel SE. Regardless of whether the question is implausible, weird, funny, sad, real or not real.

  • "It feels more like public shaming rather than an actual question on the site.". Not really, I can't really bring an issue about users doing a certain thing without it being public shaming? "what might be a valid travel reason for me might be complete nonsense to you" ... not really. If I were to ask a question based on my upcoming trip to a spacestation that cost me several million, it should not be closed based on that logic? – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 10:16
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    Regarding your second point: yes it should not be closed. Did you know we have a question about flying to the moon? – JoErNanO Sep 3 '15 at 10:51
  • I'm not asking whether it's possible. I'm telling you I'm going to do it, can you recommend what company to do it with? – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 10:54
  • When I get up there @JoErNanO do I tip Housten for the successful ride? – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 10:55
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    @insidesin Ah see: recommendations are off topic. It'll get closed. And yes I would tip them since they're a US based agency and probably get paid minimum wage. – JoErNanO Sep 3 '15 at 12:00
  • Okay I'll make a post tomorrow on my plans to go into orbit, I'm not sure what to bring as I've never done it. Good question incoming! :) – insidesin Sep 3 '15 at 12:10
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    (facepalm) ;) here we go... – Mark Mayo Sep 3 '15 at 13:01

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