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Two comments on a question today (Horrible Times x) mentioned "if you need the points" got me wondering about the real world benefit of points (other than having more privileges on this site).

For example, does it help in seeking or keeping employment?

I'm retired and don't need or want a job but I like attempting to answer questions about Statistics that involve Mathematica. And, of course, learning things about Mathematica that I had no idea it could do. (Yes, I know, I need a life.)

But is there some practical real-world benefit?

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  • 2
    Ha, sorry to spark a discussion. And of course, Szabolcs is right that an answer should be added regardless of the points involved. My comment was only to add some personality to a suggestion that it be added as an answer, I might just as much have said "so the universe will thank you" or "to keep chaos at bay" or something. I personally have brought up my M.SE account (answers, points, and position on the leaderboard) in a professional context - partly to show that I know how to use Mathematica, and partly to try and convince people I might be an effective mentor in it.
    – Carl Lange
    Oct 9 '21 at 19:07
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    Your comment was fine. It just made me wonder if there were some, say, job seeking benefits to participating in one of these StackExchange forums. For example, I've not run across a CV that mentioned StackExchange (or at least I never noticed that).
    – JimB
    Oct 9 '21 at 19:14
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    @JimB FWIW: 1. I value and have learned a lot from your answers and contributions: whatever your points 2. My points reflect enthusiasm to learn from users and not merit…of late I gave not had the time 3. I have referred to my points, rarely, as interest on Mathematica but not in any meaningful professional sense. 4. I have valued participating in site though as alluded I have not had time. I have learned from questions and answers across the spectrum of users: points and interests.
    – ubpdqn
    Oct 11 '21 at 6:22
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    The short answer: 1. SE points (in the long run at least) demonstrate domain competency that is not easily "faked" imo. 2. Unfortunately, researching Mathematica/Wolfram Language job requirements reveals the futility of "doing it for the perks" (if you want that, gain lots of points on StockOverflow). 3. Points are a bit like likes, they suffice to get people addicted to a platform—and there are worse platforms to be addicted to than MSE. ;-)
    – gwr
    Oct 11 '21 at 12:24
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    The points system is clearly part of a gamification strategy, together with Badges, Leaderboards, Performance graphs, and so on. A large number of points means you feel like you are "winning", whatever that means in our twisted minds. It's a drug.
    – rhermans
    Oct 11 '21 at 15:39
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    @gwr They should have called Operations Research "StockOverflow". ;-)
    – Michael E2
    Oct 14 '21 at 14:33
  • I will not write a thorough answer on this, but I encourage anybody interested to search for "stack exchange gamification", it is well-established that this is the explanation for the point system and quite a body of research about it. scholar.google.com/…
    – rhermans
    Oct 25 '21 at 8:46
  • Being in the community opens up the possibility of collaboration, although that possibility may be almost zero ;-) Nov 23 '21 at 3:51
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Merch!

At 100k, 250k, and upon election as a moderator, you get merch. That’s the only tangible, measurable, real-world benefit.

Visibility

If you reach the top of the rep charts, your will most likely have more profile views, so more people might view your website? It’s impossible (as far as I know) to measure this though.

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    There are only 12 users above 100K and 2 above 250K, so merch is clearly not the motivation for the thousands of users above 200 points that will never even reach 10K.
    – rhermans
    Oct 19 '21 at 11:53
  • @rhermans there’s no other tangible real world benifit. Note that I didn’t say that people only participate for tangible real world benifits though. Oct 19 '21 at 15:49

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