Doesn't limiting voting points to 200 potentially discourage activity by your most active members?

I have enjoyed answering questions lately, and I would by lying if I did not say that I didn't have certain goals I would like to meet, but at a certain point in the day, it becomes irrelevant to answer as much. Part of my activity is the addictive nature of watching the number rise.

Should they really want to discourage the most active people answering from answering? What is the point of the limit? I don't really expect it to change, but just wondering what others thought.

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    I hate this rule. It seems to be un-needed. What possible benefit does limiting points have? If a post is worth more than 200 points alone due to upvoting, well done on doing a good answer. Ha, I would hate to be a taxi driver and at the end of the night say "sorry, I can't accept any more tips, I've already made my limit of tips for the day :| ) No, instead, it's limited because of... hmmmm... some one help me out here? – Dave Sep 19 '13 at 7:11

Lemme play devil's advocate here... Is it so terrible if it does discourage activity? If someone wakes up in the morning, posts some great answers, hits the rep cap, and takes the rest of the day off (perhaps to do their job or spend time with family or cook waffles), is that necessarily a bad thing?

I mean... what's the worst-case? A question gets asked that only this capped user can answer, and they don't get around to answering it 'til tomorrow? What if this user goes on vacation? Gets sick? Dies? Who's gonna answer the questions then?

Remember, we want a large, healthy community of people posting answers. Not just a tiny handful of obsessive users, but a large group with broad experience.

Of course, you can still answer questions for the joy of providing answers, even if you don't get any "points" for it. And good answers tend to keep generating points long after they've been posted...

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    Some people don't have lives (I'm serious), and are likely to notice mechanisms such as reward caps. Do we really want to lose such helpful people to other online communities that don't put a cap on the reward system? Where casinos may not want to lose gamblers, because it's beneficial to the revenue stream, Q&A systems may not want to lose helpful workaholics (or should we call them volunteeraholics, perhaps?), because it's beneficial to the information stream. I appreciate why, but I doubt it solves a perceived "obsessive users" problem. – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 4:52
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    @Randolf: From what I've seen, the really obsessive users find the little chinks in the armor and bust the rep-cap all to hell anyway. – Shog9 Jun 23 '11 at 5:05
  • If that's the case, then regular users may be getting penalized unfairly. =( – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 6:24
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    @Randolf: "fair" isn't really relevant here (remember, I'm playing devil's advocate). If we were trying to discourage activity and some users don't get discouraged and manage to break past our arbitrary limit via sheer volume of effort... Well, that sucks for satan, but kinda throws your worst-case into question. – Shog9 Jun 25 '11 at 16:19

I don't see how reputation limit discourages activity. The daily rep limit of 200 is only by upvotes. You can still earn more than that if your answer gets accepted or if a bounty is awarded.

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    I understand it is only for upvotes, but that is generally how most people get the majority of their points. Why would you even remotely possibly discourage usage? Why is there ANY limit? – KCotreau Jun 21 '11 at 17:01
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    @KCotreau: I think the limit is there to keep people from using sock puppets to upvote themselves like crazy. – Wuffers Jun 21 '11 at 17:02
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    @Mark Szymanski That makes sense, but my thought would be to warn them, and delete them. – KCotreau Jun 21 '11 at 17:04
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    @KCotreau - let's say there's a really popular question & answer that gets tons of upvotes. Now if it wasn't for the vote limit - the single question can give an unfair advantage. The vote limit ensures a fair cap is imposed so that everyone has a chance to earn rep. – Sathyajith Bhat Jun 21 '11 at 17:06
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    The rate-limited rep also makes total rep a more valuable indicator of not just dedication to the community, but persistent dedication to the community – Darth Android Jun 21 '11 at 17:10
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    excellent point, @DarthAndroid – Sathyajith Bhat Jun 23 '11 at 4:14
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    Just in case anyone's wondering what @Mark Szymanski meant by "sock puppet," a definition that I wrote can be found here with a picture: lumbercartel.ca/glossary/sockpuppet.pl – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 4:55
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    Imagine a user getting editing privileges and the ability to close vote on the site from a one-sentence answer about floppy disks alone. – Daniel Beck Jun 25 '11 at 14:40
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    Though I fully support the comment by @Daniel the rep cap is only per day so does not prevent that happening over time. If that was the aim of the rep cap it would be better applied per question (e.g. only the first 20 upvotes on any one question count to a user's rep. – mas Sep 13 '11 at 14:18
  • @mas Questions such as the one i referred to, or more recently the spicy media files question, are only very hot for a relatively short period of time, with most votes coming in about three days or so. – Daniel Beck Sep 13 '11 at 14:24

Interesting solution to this problem would be to indicate points lost after cap reached. So you can see what a users rep could be, along with what it actually is. It can be similar to those badges that we get awarded. My be even create a few badges. lost 100 points, lost 1000 points.

We then can move through the middle ground. Users get to recognition for there effort, while not actually causing the system to be over representative of popularity / heard mechanics.

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    The Epic badge is awarded for reaching the rep cap 50 times, Legendary for reaching it 150 times and Mortarboard for reaching it even once. – mas Sep 13 '11 at 14:21

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