I happened to read this question and its interesting answers: (Mass of a coin question went viral, despite inital downvotes and negative comments)
There are many names to explain that phenomenon : "bandwagon effect", "nothing succeds like success" etc , but I think for this : (Cooling a cup of coffee with help of a spoon )
we might have to resort to mass hysteria
It is obvious that when one item stays at the top of a list for some time it will stay there forever and grow up beyond control. It is obvious that out of 129 000 viewers 344 will feel compelled to take an active role.
Have you considered a way to prevent that this uncontrollable human behaviour affects the reputation of a member, changing the computing formula from linear to logarithmic or other?
I suppose everyone will agree that it is utterly unfair that a member who works hard for months asking, anwering, editing, etc. hundreds of posts reaches say, 500 pts. of rep, while another one, just asking a rather silly but viral question, gets 3 times as much.
Update wrt Pisanty
This goes a long way towards curbing the 'bandwagon' effect that you note. When questions and answers go viral, they get a lot of their votes in a short period, and this stops the worst of the effect
The cap is an illusion (200 is a huge figure), what you say is simply not true, at least wrt to the question I mentioned. You can easily check here
The cap has never been applied, was ineffective, even during the 'peak', in the first 2 days all votes were counted, the question has afterwards been gaining rep ever since Feb 2011 and (3 and half years later!!!) on Jul 17 last, has reaped a fat score of 25 pts. I was shocked to see that in so many years the user has posted no answer and only that single question.
Of course you may support the current policy or the policy you like. But please acknowledge that if the cap has been useless in this limit case, it is completely useless and the relation is linear, a hard fact.
if you think it is rational or fair, I respect your ideas. It is mainly a problem of semantics: if you had called (like other sites) LIKES it would be acceptable.
Since they called it REPUTATION, when a reader sees an answer signed by a 2000-Rep member, he has the right to know that the member is a great scholar that has given loads of intelligent/competent answers etc., and not to be misled.
limiting the rep cap further would hurt the prolific users who post many small things every day that get upvoted perhaps twice or thrice.
Let get this straight: I have never criticized the cap, I am not concerned. To make my proposal clear and banal:
for each Question/ Answer-to-the-question (x 2):
1-10 votes => 5 pt. every vote, 11-100 votes => 1 pt. every 5 votes, 101-1000 votes => 1 pt. every 100 votes.
By these criteria the quoted question would get a respectable score of 70 pts., and its most voted answer 140. But this is just a silly example. I hope you do not mind this post.
This is my last update, as there seems to be some confusion and misunderstanding
Furthermore, I really don't see why you dislike that question so much. ..
if it is the case that you believe that the members here that actively answer questions do it primarily for reputation points, perhaps it is time to check your premises. ..
Well, the silly question attracted a lot more people to the website, that is also worth something. Also, for<2k rep you also get awarded for editting questions. I do not really see the problem you are trying to
These ,and many others, are unwarranted conclusions you are jumping to. I think I expressed my view in a clear way: if one reads an answer signed by a rep-4000 member one doesn't know if he is a great scholar who gave lots of competent answer or he just gave one single answer to tell that if you want to cool off your coffee you have to stir it.
Note that downvotes in the Meta just indicate disagreement with your views, not that it's a stupid question. I think your question is a perfectly reasonable one, and my downvote indicates only that I don't agree with your view.
When a post has a tag "discussion" you should argument your dissent, the up/down vote is a lazy solution.