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How should I feel about the Stack Exchange reputation point system?

I am new to the Physics Stack Exchange site as a contributor. I try to answer questions that I am sure that I know the answer of. I hope that I create enough reputation and put my Stack Exchange reputation in my CV. So, the reputation points matter to me.

Sometimes, I spend a lot of time answering a question and then the question is removed! Other times, I work out a detailed question and write down the answer for a bounty questions and I get the most votes but in the end my answer is not picked. There are times, and I write a long answer but no vote up and no vote down. Does anyone read my answers at all?

Do I care too much? Should I avoid answering questions with long answers?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: Is Physics SE on your CV? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Dec 19 '20 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ In the IT world, it is better to leave your SO profile out of your CV in various reasons. For physics jobs, I think the case is similar. For pros, their publication list is important. Here you can learn and teach a lot. $\endgroup$ – peterh Dec 19 '20 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ It is Stack Exchange, not Stackexchange. See e.g. Proper Use of the Stack Exchange Name (the last section). $\endgroup$ – Peter Mortensen Dec 20 '20 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ Stronger than the comment by @peterh-ReinstateMonica: I would NOT under any circumstances put your SE score your CV. Not from any of SE sites. $\endgroup$ – Brick Dec 22 '20 at 16:14
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Of your 65 answers to date, you've written 59 in the last ten days. If you continued at that pace for very long, you would become one of the most prolific answerers of questions in our community. You don't show up yet in this sitewide query because of the schedule on which its cache is updated, but if you poke around in dates in the past, you'll see that our most vigorous answerers typically only average one or two answers per day over any extended period of time.

The most common scores for answers from the authors at the top of that prolific list are zero and one points; you are not alone there.

As far as

does anyone read my answers at all?

your user profile currently estimates that helpful things you've written have been seen by many thousands of people.

If you are finding posting frustrating, take a break from it. We'll still be here when you're ready to come back. It sounds like you have some breathing room to be more judicious in choosing which questions to answer, but I'd say overall you are doing just fine.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for clarifying. I am changing field of research and I had to stop teaching. I found that SE can satisfy my love for teaching. I will remember your advice. $\endgroup$ – Kian Maleki Dec 19 '20 at 15:38
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Rob's answer covers most of the ground, but I'll chime in with some additional comments.

I hope that I create enough reputation and put my Stackexchange reputation in my CV. So, the reputation points matter to me.

To be honest, this is a bit of a weird goal. The specifics of your CV will depend on what type of job you're applying for, and indeed (as explained on Is Physics SE on your CV?) there are often several strong reasons why including your SE participation, and particularly your reputation, may not be a good idea or might even be directly harmful, regardless of how high your reputation is.

(In short, no matter how high the number, it's unlikely that the people reading the CV will know how to interpret it, and if the number is high then there is a distinct risk that it will be taken as a diversion away from your "real" work.)

On the other hand, if you are proud of your writing on this site, and you feel that it is a valuable contribution towards your hireability for the job you're applying for, then your CV is a good place to showcase your best posts and link to a place where more can be found.


Some shorter thoughts:

Sometimes, I spend a lot of time answering a question and then the question is removed!

This is a bit unclear. If you mean that questions get closed after you answer, then you should have a look at the closure policies and get a better feeling for what is off-topic here -- but it doesn't seem like you have many of those. If you mean that the question is deleted by the question owner, then this is rather bad luck and not very usual. If this keeps happening, save the links and ping somebody with 10k+ rep on chat -- we should be able to see the threads and help you recognize any patterns involved.

Other than that, as generic advise to stop that, I would recommend staying away from low-effort questions. The higher the effort that went into the post, the less likely that it will be removed.

Other times, I work out a detailed question and write down the answer for a bounty questions and I get the most votes but in the end my answer is not picked. There are times, and I write a long answer but no vote up and no vote down, does anyone read my answers at all?

As a general rule, it helps to think of the numeric rep as a secondary effect to writing nice posts. The post scoring is correlated with post quality, but it doesn't track it exactly, and it's not a great goal to track. If you can put yourself in the right mental spot for it, it's better if you just focus on writing posts that you yourself find satisfying to write (and you feel are satisfying to read). Keep an ear open for feedback, both in the form of explicit comments as well as under-scoring posts as an indication that the text did not strike a chord with its audience, but don't set too much stock on the numbers. If you write good text, the rep will come.

(And, also, as you spend more time writing, you get a better sense for what works and what doesn't, and that makes it easier to write posts that hit the mark more often. It comes with time, so don't worry about it! just write stuff you enjoy, and that intuition will build as you go.)

More generally: you're close to 1k rep and 60 answers in less than two weeks -- that is very impressive, and if you keep going like this you'll reach some very high reps very fast. (Also, if you keep going like this, you might burn out early, so take it easy whenever you need to!)

And, also: welcome to the site! I look forward to reading your contributions :-).

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for your advice. I will try to remember everything you said. $\endgroup$ – Kian Maleki Dec 19 '20 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ As a physicist who has hired outside of academia, I'd go stronger on the "weird goal" part of this answer. A recruiter or hiring manager for a job is typically sorting through hundreds of resumes / CVs. In the early passes, you've got very little of their time to convince them you're worth a deeper look. Your SE score is not going to warrant a deeper look, and the fact that you put it there suggests that either (a) you're not savvy enough to understand the stakes of what you've submitted or (b) you don't have real qualifications and you're just filling space. Neither is a good message. $\endgroup$ – Brick Dec 22 '20 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Kian A point to maybe add about the rep is also that it highly depends on the type of questions you answer: Good answers on topics many people understand are likely to earn much more upvotes than equally good answers on very specialized topics. On the other hand, demonstrating you are an expert on a specialized topic might be more relevant in the end. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Dec 25 '20 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch I completely agree with this. My top voted answers are answers to very simple, general question. My best niche answer got sometimes only one or two answer. But at least I know I helped someone with it, and some of these question are found by people later without an account. At the same time, sometimes I read answers to difficult questions, but I don't upvote, because I don't know if they're correct or not. $\endgroup$ – Bernhard Jan 1 at 15:55

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