Are we too stingy awarding reputation points to newbies?

Are we too stingy awarding reputation points to newbies?


Case in point: a recent post Points scoreboard by a newbie, Ocube -


I've watched the 'Greetings and introductions' video twice but it is not registering any score for me. I am getting scores for the other parts of the lesson but none for the video.

Please help.



His post is polite, well-written, practical, and of general interest to all members.

It resulted in two first-class responses by 2 long-time members. Yet he was not awarded with an "up" vote. Later on, Ocube wrote a note of thanks for those excellent responses. Again, no "up" vote.

I'm asking what may seem like a provocative question, because I'm concerned that so many newbies drop by, ask good questions, and then disappear forever.

An "up" vote, when merited, seems the way to encourage them to return.

Another reason I'm asking is that I've been a member here for only 9 weeks. Yet the reputation points I've gleaned place me in the 99th percentile of more than 200,000 members. And the badges I've earned place me in the 100th percentile.

Please don't misunderstand; I'm not crowing about my "success."

Quite the contrary: To me, my high ranking means that only a tiny minority of members become frequent contributors. (About 400, or two-tenths of 1% is my rough estimate.)

Would paying more attention to awarding "up" votes help to encourage newbies to become more active?

Obviously, I'm convinced it would.

(Visit Ocube's thread, Points Scoreboard to read additional comments I wrote about this crucial issue.)

updated JUN 22, 2010
edited by hlsbookworm
posted by 0057ed01
I added a hyperlink, hope you don't mind, just figured that more people might look at it if it was easier to get too :) - hlsbookworm, FEB 2, 2010
Thanks. For some odd reason, my answer format has empty "boxes" where the "link" function is placed. Someone suggested it may be a browser problem, which I keep reminding myself to check out. - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

7 Answers


Newbie here. At 57 I am starting to learn Spanish and find this site interesting and helpful. The points, badges, and other symbols of merit are useful and motivating. For me, this is a bit of a hard slog........even the beginning lessons. My guess is there most likely is not a large outpouring of questions from the truly new......we are spending most of our energy playing and replaying the videos........grin

updated JUN 22, 2010
posted by ironone
Welcome to the Forum, ironone. Good comment, too. What you say is so, so true! Learning another language is (more than?) a "bit of a hard slog." Been there, still there! - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

I can relate to what you're saying. At times, I'll see 8 or 9 answers to a newbies' question, but no votes for the newbie (though I've noticed the same happens with old-timers, as well). I'll even see votes for the Answers to the newbies' question, but again, no votes for the newbie. Sometimes, I'll vote for the new Poster just because it generated such a great response and/or, as you pointed out, is well-scripted (there are so many others that are not). angry

There are days that my Profile page is full of "you've received 0 points for voting up...." LOL However, I admit that I don't always vote them up either. I end up moving on to the next Topic. red face

Thanks for mentioning this. It's easy to underestimate its potential positive impact on a newcomer. Whether or not they choose to stick around, I'll certainly be more vigilant in awarding "merited" points to our new members in the future! wink

BTW: Wow~~you've only been here for 9 weeks? gulp

Congratulations on your SpanishDict accomplishments!


updated FEB 2, 2010
edited by Dee914
posted by Dee914
Thanks, Dee. I'm adding on to your good reasons for an "up" vote, which is when I learn anything new from a question. Even when the question is phrased poorly. That's a "ripe" opportunity to edit to help the newbie learn how write a better one. - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

Points make things interesting and may give a sense of accomplishment; I like to get points but it does not keep me here. This seems to be one of the better places to learn Spanish and that is why I come back. The discussions and questions are interesting as well as the games and contests but sometimes I find myself spending too much time on them when I should be trying to learn the things I know I am lacking.

updated FEB 2, 2010
posted by 00d7cd75
Yes, it is difficult to find a balance on such a rich site. But I wouldn't worry abot spending time on questions and games and contests. Personally, I've found some of my best "lessons" there. Especially with the dialogs that arise from the Questions. - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

Well, first of all, I have to say: You've only been here for 9 weeks?!? Wow! It seems like you've been here forever...

Now that that has been said wink

I agree, I try to vote up questions that have good grammar or are just a good question by newcomers.

However, I think also, we can tend to get carried away with just voting up to try to get them to come back, and start voting up answers that really shouldn't be.

For example, last night (as you already know, but others might not) there was a poster who was trying to start trouble. Yet when I looked, at least half, if not more of his posts were voted up, so that he/she had 100 reputation at one point (which, however, they soon lost from being flagged). Now, maybe this person had a "friend" who was trying to get him votes or something else, maybe a member was trying to be generous, the possibilities are endless...but still.

Those are just a few of my thoughts....

updated FEB 2, 2010
posted by hlsbookworm
Good points, but last night's escapade was a rare one. I discussed this more fully, but it's been bumped down to the bottom. - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

I agree with you completely volpon. There have been many times where I notice a newbie has written a well thought out question and garnered many responses but has 0 votes. This bothers me as well. Wouldn't it be a good rule of thumb that if a question intrigues us enough to answer or has been asked politely and formatted well that it should receive a vote from us? After all, the information the newbie is looking for may not seem valuable to us but could be a pivotal learning point for them.

updated FEB 2, 2010
posted by renaerules
Agree wholeheartedly with you, too, renaerules. Except that I would add that a poorly formatted question of substance gives an opportunity - with some quick editing - to teach a newbie how to write a better one. - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

Honestly, I don't usually look at how long a person has been here or their reputation, badges, or points. I usually don't even look at who posted the question or answer. I read them and vote them up if I think they merit it.

I do check the points etc. when answering a question if it's going to involve Spanish usage. That way I know (more or less) what level the person is and I try to respond appropriately. I also sometimes check their profile for the same reason. But that's only to help me gauge how to respond; it has nothing to do with whether I vote for a question or an answer.

updated FEB 2, 2010
posted by Lrtward
Sound approach, except that I really get a kick browsing through profiles. They often have such fascinating personal information. I was downright joyful when I learned that you recently celebrated your 109th birthday, when you don't look a day over 30! :) - 0057ed01, FEB 2, 2010

No argument here, hisbookworm. That's why I used the phrase "when merited."

Those "up" votes on that despicable thread were likely done by other miscreants that piled on to do even more mischief.

Which, when one thinks about it, happens very rarely on this site, unlike other sites I visit.

That's due to the tireless vigilance of the administrators and members to protect the high standards this site has maintained...

updated FEB 2, 2010
edited by 0057ed01
posted by 0057ed01
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.