If you read my recent post about TeX, you will know that I am a more than casual contributor to tex.stackexchange.com and have a possibly-obsessive interest in that typesetting language, largely from a programming perspective. In the last month alone I have gained 3,000 reputation on that site—about 100 per day, in what has for the last week or so been an intentional drive to hit 10,000 total. Today I have reached that goal. This gives me the status of a moderator (at least, in privileges if not title).
The process of becoming one of the top users on the site (right now I am number 29, and in February I was number 13 for the month; currently, I am either number 1 or number 2 for the first three days of March) is exactly as much work as I thought it would be when I was first agog at the ridiculously elevated reputations of those who were (and still are) then the gods of TeX. The top user has 70,000 reputation and maintains it, as far as I can tell, by routinely reaching the reputation cap of 200 per day, or even exceeding it through various awards not subject to the cap. This week I have also hit the cap most days, which takes three or four answers or the occasional bounty (which is usually not worth the reputation it earns, but the questions are more interesting when I know how to answer them).
Not long ago I also asked what turned out to be a staggeringly popular question that first got more than 50 votes, and then got more than 5,000 views when Stefan Kottwitz put a link to it somewhere. This was not much effort to write but contributes only about 3% of my newly astronomical score, and so was not as economical as it seems.
I say all this not to brag but to give context to my decision to take a sabbatical. Spending hours upon hours each day looking for interesting questions and then debugging clever answers (and in my humble opinion, many of them are quite clever) is a huge drain on my time and clearly, I can’t manage it properly. I should be editing my thesis for publication; I should be writing two papers; I should be reading my new mentor Mitya Boyarchenko’s work so that I have something to talk about with him when I get to Michigan.
I have by no means achieved every goal for that site. I have never really earned a gold badge (other than the backhanded compliment of the “Fanatic” badge for visiting for 100 consecutive days. For a long time I would force myself not to visit every now and then just to avert getting this one, but I slipped up a few months ago. It just confirms what I’ve been saying. It should be called the “Obsessive” badge). I have not been interviewed, as they do occasionally with top users (though seemingly only with the ones who are somewhat notable for contributing to TeX off the site). I have not finished my pgfkeys tracing package. But these will have to wait.
I expect my reputation to slowly accrue at a rate of 10 or 20 per day, since I now have so many answers that people stumble upon them and vote them up even if I do nothing at all. So I think there will be no problem if I take off until, say, the end of the spring quarter.
So, if you are from TeX.SX, see you again on June 16th.