I am thinking to ask my students to join the site and earn reputation. For every 100 points gained, I can increase their marks by a point.

Do you think this is a good idea for them? For the site? Would it work? (e.g friends might vote themselves up)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There was a somewhat similar proposal on Cross Validated SE (meta.stats.stackexchange.com/questions/1000/…) and the answer by whuber (one of that site's moderators) makes some important points. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AdamBailey Yes, the possibility (raised in that post) that lazy students may post rubbish during the last week of term in a vain attempt to salvage their grade seems quite problematic. $\endgroup$
    – Ubiquitous
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 17:07

2 Answers 2


Some random observations:

  1. This site, like all sites in the Stack Exchange network, is public and welcomes new members who have a sincere interest in contributing. So the official answer is that your students would be welcome to participate here.

  2. We (both the moderators and other users) monitor for suspicious voting behaviour. But there is always a way to game the system in a manner that is hard to detect. Thus, if people have large incentives to game the system then gaming is a potential concern.

  3. You can earn reputation on this site both by answering question and by asking them; you might want to think about whether that suits your needs for assigning credit or not (I guess that asking a truly interesting question is no easier than writing a good answer, so it might be okay).

  4. Don't underestimate how hard it is to earn 100 points of rep here. If the scale is 100 rep per point gained then a user would have to be in our top 1–2% of contributors to earn 5 additional points. So this will never be a very large portion of peoples' grades.

  5. It's possible (though unlikely) that people might end up with negative rep if their participation is not well-received here.


I am TAing an intro graduate micro course, and plan to redirect students to participate on this site if they need help or resources. It might be fruitful to let the StackExchange market clear naturally and allow interested students gain reputation naturally. A subsidy, if small enough, might cause students to focus more on the miniscule subsidy rather than the other intrinsic benefits of using a site like this, and thus, undervalue the site.


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