I would like to decide if I care about reputation. I'm looking for a discussion of both pros and cons.

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    Any particular reason you are looking for this information? This doesn't seem like a very constructive question. – Ash Mar 8 '13 at 8:14
  • I would like to decide if I care about reputation. TY...editing now. – kraftydevil Mar 8 '13 at 8:25
  • @kraftydevil As with my answer to your other question, consider how you phrase your questions from the perspective of folks who are long-time contributors to the site. Your question here might be better phrased "What are main advantages of higher rep?" Assuming you are seeking a positive philosophical discussion, there is also no reason to include the backlash comment, so I edited it out. – EBongo Mar 8 '13 at 10:40

To better answer the questions that I believe are behind your question, I'll instead answer from the perspective of "What describes the ideal active user of Arqade", and present 3 archetypes.

tl:dr: Seek to be a Baby Bear (balancing rep and ideals in moderation), but the site values and benefits from any user that is active and supportive of the site's mission.

The Rep Whore

This user cares so much about rep, it affects everything they do.
Pros: User contributes a lot of questions and answers for popular games, user participates in contests, user answers questions quickly and races to ask valuable questions as soon as possible.
Cons: User couldn't care less about less popular games. User sees no reason to edit the questions or answer of others, or generally to make use of close voting powers. User never explains actions or opinions on chat or meta, and is generally an unknown quantity.
Net result: While the rep whore follows site rules, and generally generates content consistent with Arqade's mission, they leave a lot to be desired in the more "custodial" responsibilities of higher rep users. In the war against unanswered questions, rep whores are mercenaries that can be paid to fight on the side of right - and while this may help win the war, mercenaries do have their undesirable qualities.

The Aloof Idealist

This user doesn't give a damn about reputation. It has no impact on any action they take.
Pros: This user is not protective in any way of their own questions or answers. User may spend a lot of time on non-rep activities like reviewing others questions and answers, closing bad questions, generating tag wikis and community wiki answers, etc. User will be forthcoming about opinions in comments, chat, and meta - including explaining anonymous behaviors like downvotes. User will only ask questions which he/she wants to know the answer to, and is just as satisfied if another user asks first.
Cons: It is difficult to get this user to conform to the norms of the community, since there is no currency with which to incent them. This user doesn't have any sense of urgency to provide timely content when new games are released, or during a contest. In general it is hard to spur this user to participate more or take particular actions. User is also unafraid to participate in negative behaviors such as trolling, personal attacks, or posting inappropriate content - provided they do not suffer anything worse than rep abuse.
Net Result: While the Idealist's philosophical purity has some benefits for certain site activities, they are somewhat of a loose cannon. A few isolated idealists can somewhat be controlled democratically with voting, but a majority would create an anarchy of unclear, difficult to enforce policies and disorder.

The Baby Bear

Goldilocks reference - the happy medium
Pros: This user can be encouraged to generate good content and in general to participate. User seeks to follow site policies, but participates in debates of policy changes, and expresses opinion openly. The user will sometimes step out on their own and take a stand, but generally follows site norms.
Cons: User is "inside the machine", and likely not a revolutionary thinker. User cares enough about rep to not take the controversial stands of the Idealist, but not enough to fanatically generate content like the Rep Whore.
Net Result: The Baby Bear is a bread-and-butter all around good user. Arqade (and other Stack sites) theoretically function best when a majority of users are Baby Bears. The Baby Bear is still disadvantaged in some areas though - and like any team, diversity of participants will often produce best results.

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Pros - you are given more site privileges, as outlined in the privileges link you can find by hovering over your username.

Cons - you don't get these privileges.

Also, it tends to be used, as the privileges page states (I believe) as a way for the community to sort of judge the trustworthiness of users. This gets less important after a while, as it is figured that once you reach a certain rep point (which is an individual choice) you are deemed generally trustworthy.

Naturally, if you use the site in the way it is intended to be used, rep will happen naturally, regardless of your level of caring. You can seek out rep by answering unanswered questions or giving more awesome answers to stuff already answered (if applicable), but in general, rep comes with participation, as it is a key component to how the SE system works.

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