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It seems to me that there are a lot of questions that just because they use a mechanic or setting that's all the rage will essentially garner free rep for putting just about any answer, even if it was already one that was stated, and even/especially if there is an easy answer to it.

Disclaimer:

  • I'm not asking for any retroactive changes on anyone's behalf.* However, it seems that the more obscure knowledge isn't rewarded as well because not as many people can confirm it.
  • I'm not invalidating the answers put forward by anyone, especially if they answered before reading the other answers that are present.

However a well researched and worded answer to a question might get two or three upvotes and a 'best answer' where a on a more popular tag question (E.G. D&D 3.5) thread can easily get seven or eight upvotes merely for being present.

High Traffic Answer where the question has high upvotes for an answer that takes exactly one reference to a page and paragraph (or sidebar) of a core book and no real need for extrapolation of the answer.

Another Higher Traffic Answer where the question was something literally solved by one line of core text that was in no way hidden or debatable. I don't think that my excerpt was really worth a "Nice Answer" badge, but thank you for the nod readers.

Underrated Answer where the answer is researched and well worded, but not trafficked.

Less Trafficked Question/Answer required knowledge of the system and the world as well as cross-referencing different parts of the book. This question even had a bounty for a time and both answers are relatively ignored.

What, if anything should be done in these cases?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is definitely something we need to be aware of, and I'm glad there's now something I can link to about it. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Nov 20 '13 at 7:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ The reputation system has many short comings: this is one. The same thing can be said of any SE sites since the more popular tags, the more upvotes it gets. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Nov 20 '13 at 9:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ 'Free Rep' is a lousy term, as it implies people aren't doing anything to earn it. Answering questions the community is interested in is by definition earning it. \$\endgroup\$ – Tridus Nov 21 '13 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like the High Traffic question is actually more interesting than it looks, because there's a surprising amount of misinformation and controversy around that topic. Maybe there's a better example out there? I don't doubt the effect, just that example. \$\endgroup\$ – Yamikuronue Nov 21 '13 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Come see the violence inherent in the system! \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Nov 24 '13 at 0:32
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  • Upvote answers you find useful.
  • Spread (via the share link, so you get credit) answers you think deserve more attention.
  • Decry the corruption of today's youth.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget "Rage against the machine." Or "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Nov 20 '13 at 12:20
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This trend is baked into the system. High-profile tags like and get the lion's share of our citizens' attention, for the very simple reason that it's what we're more likely to understand and maybe benefit from. This means threads with those tags get more action: more answers (good and bad) AND more votes (up and down, but we most often reserve downvotes for egregious site violations, so the general trend is up).

But just because it's never going to go away doesn't mean we can't work to alleviate it: We should pay more attention to other tags. RPG.SE is relatively unique in that we can often tell if a question/answer is worth upvoting or downvoting even if we aren't very familiar with the system in question, so let's take advantage of that. You'll probably find that reading about other systems helps broaden your approach to whatever games you're running--I know it did for me!

If you use tag filters to reduce the number of posts you see on the site, consider relaxing the filters. If you use tag subscriptions, add non-system-specific tags like to broaden the posts you interact with.

Invite your friends to join the site! Presumably they share some of your interests, and this will increase the number of citizens who pay attention to the tags you're interested in.

Join the chat and call attention to posts that need love, or (as Brian suggests) spread the link through your Social Media Of Choice.

Model the behavior you want to see.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I agree that we can often tell if a question/answer is worth upvoting or downvoting even if we aren't very familiar with the system in question. I can comment on gm-techniques in other systems because I know gm-techniques, but I wouldn't venture a guess on a rogue-trader question. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Nov 21 '13 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @C.Ross Yes, that's exactly what I mean. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Nov 21 '13 at 15:05
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I think it has to do with why people upvote which is always a personal choice. I'll never upvote questions and answers about a game I don't know simply because I'm no "expert" in that game and I don't want to mess with the natural selection of this beautiful community. I'll never answer questions about Pathfinder, 3.5 or others because I'm really out of touch with all the expansions and I can't even GM them properly. The only exception to that is if it's a new user asking a great question never answered before on a main stream game.

Yes, I think, main stream leads to more rep because it gets more attention. I don't see many Microscope questions around.

I think we should have a way to tip people who ask great questions by giving them our own reputation. Or maybe that could be abused I don't know...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that you can “tip” great answers with your own reputation, using bounties. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 21 '13 at 3:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Total tangent: I've facilitated many games of Microscope, and my experience is that there aren't usually many questions about either the rules or how to accomplish something non-rules-based. It's a very easy game to teach and use, so that is also a factor in why you see so few Microscope questions. :) (This is probably true of a number of other games too.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 21 '13 at 9:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan You can tip answers yes but not questions..which is a missing feature I believe. \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Nov 21 '13 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I think that's also why some tags gets more questions and answers (and thus rep). Because Pathfinder is way more complicated than Dungeon World and 4E by it's nature will generate many MANY questions. \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Nov 21 '13 at 13:16

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