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Am I the only person who keeps thinking of Rep as XP? I keep thinking (and almost typing) thinks like:

"You should post that comment as an answer then you can earn some XP from it." or "Man I have earned a lot of XP from that question"

I almost think we could rename Rep on RPG.SE to XP. But of course we shouldn't because keeping consistency with other StackExchange sites. (Note: I am not suggesting we should rename Rep to XP. Just pointing out the interesting parallels)

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Augh! You've discovered our secret!

The resemblance isn't a coincidence. Stack Exchange employs a thing called gamification - that's where the badges and reputation points come from. It's a nice reward, and helps motivate you to seek out stuff you can do to help.

You're not being mind-controlled though: various studies have found that gamification is only really effective at motivating people to do stuff they would've enjoyed doing anyway, so if this site didn't exist you might be over using Giant in the Playground or whatever.

It would also be cool to call it XP, though reputation alone has important connotations, including that it's more than just a thing you earn.

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Reskinning rep as XP was actually a suggestion on this site and Gaming around their site launches. StackExchange never really bought into the idea.

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I think reputation is better for the sense it carries. Losing "XP" for a bad contribution (answer, question) doesn't make sense. Losing reputation fits better. Your contribution to the site grants you reputation because other users judges your work for "how much it contributes to the site". Even if this economy grants you achievements (badges) and new abilities (privileges) going as far as saying reputation is equivalent to XP is not accurate.

And yes, reputation instead of XP is also because it's more generic for non-gaming related communities like Math or Drupal Answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point: both gains and losses of rep teach us things, arguably increasing our personal XP regardless of whether the rep is up or down. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 18 '14 at 22:15

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