My initial impression was flawed. I had apparently not tried to submit NEW answers, and only was trying to rate and/or comment on old answers that I thought were good or mostly good to help provide more insight.

Apparently Stack Exchange requires me to submit new answers to gain rep so I can participate in rating/commenting which IMO is where the real value is for someone like me.

Lesson learned. Thank you everyone who helped educate me. :)


I am a software development professional of 25 years. I have amassed a ton of knowledge.

The way StackExchange is set up, they make it tremendously difficult for me to actually help anyone. They force me to ask questions, which I don't need to ask, in order to get reputation, before letting me help.

How do I go about this, without asking a lot of questions I really don't need to ask?

Most of everything that can be asked, has already been asked, so a quick search answers it rather than creating duplicate questions for no reason other than reputation farming. Asking those questions about just because StackExchange requires me to do this seems more like spam than any real user benefit, and I'd prefer to not spam.

This is the reason I haven't contributed to Stack Exchange for many years. I've literally tried responding on several occasions when I could have helped someone, but they have stopped me because I haven't spammed them with enough questions that I don't really have.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can give.

  • 5
    I never asked a single question and yet I have quite some rep. Just answer questions and you’ll get there. Because that’s what’s helping. This is also off-topic on anything non-meta.
    – Daniel B
    Jun 2, 2016 at 20:34
  • I've tried answering questions, and making comments. But it tells me I don't have any rep. And now, someone has downvoted my question, so I have even less rep. Awesome. Jun 2, 2016 at 21:26
  • minor tip, if you can answer some of the new questions comming in on the newest page, subjects that you are very good at, the users who just posted those questions might be more likely to throw you A bone . Answering the older questions with much better answers is awesome, but the user (as one vote) isnt likely to rush back in and vote on it. A great answer for an older question , will be valuable to your reputation in a more long term basis. If your in a rush for some rep hit a few new ones first.
    – Psycogeek
    Jun 3, 2016 at 6:41
  • I have asked 3 questions my entire time here I have nearly 7000 reputation points 6700 of those points come from answers. I also have lost nearly that much with the votes issued, so difficult to earn reputation, not really. Careful of answering older questions, a new answer, should add something significant and shouldn't be a rehash of the same information already shared in another answer (it will be taken for what it appears to be, a way to earn reputation, which is the wrong reason for submitting an answer )
    – Ramhound
    Jun 3, 2016 at 21:47
  • Don't worry about downvotes on this question: downvotes (and upvotes) on meta sites have no effect on reputation. If the downvotes came in before this question was migrated to meta, that will affect your reputation, but only temporarily: you'll get that rep back as part of an automatic cleanup script which runs occasionally (daily or weekly, I think).
    – TRiG
    Jun 8, 2016 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


Post good answers. Don't bother commenting on questions yet as you need 50 rep to comment everywhere.

You also don't have to ask questions either, we have many users who primarily answer questions rather than ask them and many users who ask rather than answer.

The key thing is not to force it. Post good answers and get rep.

Your current answers are very high quality, which is awesome, but they are on old questions with good answers already and php is only conditionally on-topic here. I suspect the age and current answers are why your answers didn't get any upvotes. A problem with php running on your computer is on-topic, actually writing anything in php is off-topic as a programming question.

Keep an eye on the New Questions page, and enjoy your time here.

  • 1
    Thank you. You're right, I can add my own answers instead of making comments on existing answers. It was not intuitive to me since usually I am Googling to find stuff, and so I run across existing answers and I just want to help clarify etc and I've tried commenting. From now on I'll just post different answers. Lesson learned. Jun 3, 2016 at 14:46

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