69

This is a frequently thrown-around term on Internet forums in general and Stack Exchange specifically. Although it conveys a lot of meaning, I'd much prefer a phrase with a less offensive origin.

Urban Dictionary defines a "rep-whore" as:

A person who is obsessed with their status on an internet forum so bribes/ does favours for members of that forum in an attempt to achieve higher rep points.

Is there a nicer alternative phrase?

This is not a Help Vampire, who is more concerned with having others solve their problems.

It's not merely What do you call someone who is addicted to a Q&A website?. I'm not interested in how to deal with "rep-whores", but what to call them.

  • 1
    What does 'does favours for' mean? Is it just answering bad questions, or something more? – smci Feb 13 '15 at 5:18
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    Don't you think the offensiveness of it better conveys the disgust a person feels for a person they would call a "rep whore"? If you call someone that, you're basically saying they'll do anything for a little bit more reputation, more notoriety, on their account. While I understand you not wanting to offend someone, I also think that taking out the offensiveness is also taking out the meaning behind the phrase. I suppose context is all-important here; if you want to insult someone, use the former, and if you want to mention them with no ill will intended, use the latter. – Dispenser Feb 13 '15 at 15:18
  • 4
    @Dispenser I don't think the concern is about offending that person, but that whore is a derogatory term for sex workers (and sometimes women in general). – tim Feb 13 '15 at 20:56
  • 1
    possible duplicate of What's a better way to say, “I'm a TV whore”? – KyleMit Feb 14 '15 at 18:53
  • 12
    rep-ladies-of-the-night? – Brian Drummond Feb 15 '15 at 0:18

12 Answers 12

81

If you want to put a positive spin on it without straying too far from the sound, try rep-hound.

From

hound n
1.1 [with modifier] A person who avidly pursues something:
'he has a reputation as a publicity hound'

(see Oxford Dictionaries: hound)

  • 6
    Nicer doesn't have to be nice, it just has to be niceer than the original term. I think this answer delivers that. I don't care if we call the transformation nicer or more politically correct or anything else, I really justed want a replacement that doesn't lean on the word "whore", which I find inappropriate in a professional context. – KyleMit Feb 11 '15 at 14:24
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    @KyleMit Here's what I don't like about rep-hound: it's not offensive, but it doesn't convey the meaning of rep-whore. It makes me think of rockhounds: people who collect rocks very deliberately. There's nothing dishonest or abusive or sycophantish about that. I agree, though, that leaning on "whore" is inappropriate in a professional context. – Ben Kovitz Feb 11 '15 at 22:27
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    @BenKovitz I do use rep hound, but what you say is why I often opt for rep monger. I've made an answer below. – user39425 Feb 11 '15 at 23:24
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    Now it should become a meme... – nicael Feb 14 '15 at 7:45
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    @nicael, proposed meme-age – KyleMit Feb 14 '15 at 18:54
65

The term rep-farmer is also used.

Discussed here https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/126987/what-is-rep-farming

  • 4
    And I would add "rep-miner" and "rep-harvester", and probably a few others from such occupations. – Hot Licks Feb 12 '15 at 18:46
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    It's worth noticing, that the term 'farming' is broadly used in computer games to describe repetitive, non-challenging actions taken in order to accumulate resources, as opposite for actions that give satisfaction, but cost resources. – Danubian Sailor Feb 13 '15 at 8:14
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    @РСТȢѸФХѾЦЧШЩЪЫЬѢѤЮѦѪѨѬѠѺѮѰѲѴ Sadly, I'm guilty of such farming. This is more visible in RPG or MMORPG games. But he is still correct. – Ismael Miguel Feb 13 '15 at 17:15
  • I think this is the best answer, since as you point out, rep farming is a term in actual use. I think it's more likely to be understood with the intended meaning than rep hound. – snailcar Jul 21 '15 at 20:14
62

Why not rep-junkie. Oxford Online defines junkie as

[WITH MODIFIER] A person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something: power junkies

A Google search shows some minimal usage (sometimes as repjunkie), but ngram does not.

Obviously, you could use the longer form reputation junkie, but it lacks the punch.

  • 4
    Some might consider "junkie" to be an ableist slur as it targets people who have an addiction, which is a medical condition. – fluffy Feb 14 '15 at 22:36
33

I too find that phrase a bit offensive, so I often opt for

rep-monger

monger
2 : a person who attempts to stir up or spread something that is usually petty or discreditable —usually used in combination

I've also see whoremonger (for promiscuous men) and deathmonger (common in Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres).

I prefer rep-monger as two words because I think it is difficult to read as one (being unfamiliar and not a real word to most people), that doesn't stop you from typing out repmonger.

  • 2
    Monger carries a pejorative connotation, which is exactly what’s needed. I'm not sure about using two words, though. I think that loses some of the bite. Notice that Merriam-Webster's examples are compounds. The OED lists modern examples of monger on its own, but not with a noun before it. With a noun before it, it gives compounds or hyphenations: “nihilistic noise-mongers”, “straight off a tat-monger’s street barrow”. Coining new words is fine, especially when they follow precedent so well; not coining a compound actually violates precedent. – Ben Kovitz Feb 12 '15 at 0:30
  • @BenKovitz I hyphenated it now. – user39425 Feb 12 '15 at 1:53
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    I think of monger as having a context of selling / distributing; here, the person is interested in gathering. – Floris Feb 12 '15 at 2:50
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    @fredsbend that's a good point. On reflection Ido like this option. – Floris Feb 13 '15 at 11:37
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    @fredsbend I'm afraid I have to agree with Floris about the selling/distribution context. A fishmonger is one who sells fish, not one who buys fish. – Pharap Feb 15 '15 at 8:31
18

The simplest and least pejorative terms would simply be occupied or minded. These remove the implication that the person being discussed is doing something improper through their efforts, which isn't always the case.

He's extremely rep-minded, he always puts a lot of time and thought into his posts

She's fairly rep-oriented, she doesn't answer unless the question is really interesting and likely to gain a lot of attention, I wish we could draw her out more often.

This could also have a negative connotation, depending on the context:

That was rather rep-minded of you, wasn't it?

This implies that someone was doing something purely for some sort of gain while calling out the behavior without potentially insulting them by colorfully alluding to some sort of addiction, lack of discretion or lack of self-esteem.

  • 4
    The only blander way to say it would be "rep-oriented". Once that rubbish spreads to SE, it's all over. – Robert Grant Feb 11 '15 at 7:38
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    The rep system isn't perfect. Early answers often pick up a lot of votes, even if better answers come along later. If I was full-on rep whoring, I'd watch for easy questions where I could dash off a quick but mostly complete answer, and beat the crowd. Usually voters are pretty good, but I think it's possible to abuse the system if that's your goal. – Peter Cordes Feb 15 '15 at 6:46
12

Rep-reaper. As in "reaping (un)deserved fruits of (others) labour".

However, I would like to point out that Political Correctness is not something that should ever be used when talking about descriptive terms. I would even say it does not have any place in communication. To communicate an idea requires objective precision - not subjective correctness. PC tendencies are exactly opposite in outcome: what we then have is obfuscation, not communication.

I'd say "rep-whore" is not only correct, it is also elegant (in content, if not in form). If you think the term does not apply in the case you have, choose another. Less offensive, if it's called for. But do not commit the error of trying to "reduce the shock". If the term "rep-whore" in the given instance applies then it is correct. If not, then not.

  • 3
    You forget the importance of register when it comes to communication. In formal communication we couldn't use "rep-whore" any more than we could use "grammar nazi" because regardless of any political correctness they are crude and slightly obscene terms. Instead we'd replace these terms with formal and/or neutral alternatives. The "grammar nazi" can be replaced with a "stickler" while rep-whore, as yet, lacks a commonly accepted alternative, hence the OP's question. – Lilienthal Feb 11 '15 at 11:03
  • On the other hand eliminating the word "nazi" from common vocabulary on the grounds of offensiveness caused it to have deeply pejorative meaning, when in fact it is perfectly neutral socio-political term. Also, caused serious misuse of other terms from sociology and political science such as "fascism", "socialism" and "communism", replacing them with "liberalism" which in turn is almost exactly opposite in meaning to the terms it replaced, causing only confusion, and being deliberate misdirection to achieve that goal. Also, definition OP gave in question gives little room for alternatives. – AcePL Feb 11 '15 at 17:01
  • Thus causing, in turn, my comment on appropriateness of the term "rep-whore". He asked for nicer alternative, while conveying the meaning. I don't think there's the need for one if the situation warrants use, and that would be the case if we're dealing with person described by cited definition. Rep-whore is a rep-whore, while high-rep-value-community-member is someone quite different. – AcePL Feb 11 '15 at 17:06
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    I don't understand, how is there a problem with the terms fascism, socialism, comunism, and liberalism? Perhaps some terms are applied incorrectly in certain local political arena's? But generally, their meanings are clear and they are used in ways more correct than, say, democracy often is, at least in my experience. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Feb 11 '15 at 19:05
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    @AcePL I personally don't think the discussion on PC's validity belongs on this site but agree with the rest of your points and I'll upvote your answer accordingly since it definitely bears thinking about when using potentially loaded terms. One thing to note though: several active political parties around the globe can be described (or self-describe) as fascist. This is where we introduce the third variable: cultural norms. All this is getting wildly off-topic though so I'll attempt to resist from replying further. :) – Lilienthal Feb 12 '15 at 9:39
10

I would suggest rep-chaser, parallel to phrases such as paper-chaser (someone will stop at almost nothing for money) or celebrity-chaser (someone similarly obsessed with celebrities).

4

rep-obsessed is another candidate.

3

I can't get over how popular this question is. So many visitors, upvotes... and points!

I think I'll post a few neologisms. Perhaps users will accuse me of being a:

  • rep-addict

  • rep-manic

  • rep-sniffer

None of the above are exactly complimentary but I think everyone agrees that a stack exchange user who is obsessed with reputation points, is not to be placed on a pedestal.

3

If you are feeling punnish, you might want to try "rep-robate".

Without the hyphen it won't be that obvious that you aren't just plainly insulting, though.

GUEST-EDIT:

Forgive the intrusion, but I imagine they would prefer to be called a rep-courtesan.

  • 2
    Similarly for rep-eater, rep-eal, and rep-roach. And the opposite would be a rep-resenter, I think. And to get really silly, aviation.stackexchange.com presumably has rep-airmen. And all of that for a rep-rise that goes through the rep-roof... :-) – MarnixKlooster ReinstateMonica Feb 13 '15 at 23:56
  • Ooh, I love rep-eater! And rep-roach is lovely too! :) – Dewi Morgan Feb 14 '15 at 0:09
2

How about "Rep-Skimmer". I think it conveys enough negative connotation to confer the unhelpfulness, without being offensive to any particular group or activity or carrying baggage that's attached to the individual per se, only to the activity in question. Skimmer in this sense is based on the concept of skimming off the top, like cream; going for the easy pickings. I was going to simply point out that the question is based on the notion that 'whore' is a bad word for some reason, and like most 'bad' words, that precept should be taken with a grain of salt; but the instructions stated that I should answer the question.

  • 1
    Just to point out that I didn't say that it was 'bad' specifically. But I do feel as though the word, in this context, is inappropriate. Stack Exchange is a professional Q&A site. If it doesn't belong in a well moderated workplace, it doesn't belong here. Also depending on who you ask, the word could be particularly offensive, and I'd rather err on the side of inclusivity. – KyleMit Feb 10 '15 at 21:12
1

I think rep-player conveys the tone of the activity while separating the moral ambiguity and social stigma that the word whore drags into the discussion.

protected by Matt E. Эллен Feb 12 '15 at 9:14

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