I finally did it! After 432 days, 11 Questions, and 272 answers I finally reached a reputation score of 10,000. This was a goal I set out for myself since I first learned about StackOverflow.
For those of you who don't know, StackOverflow uses reputation score as a means to gauge a level of "trust" the system has for each user. For instance, you don't have the right to vote up a question until you achieve 15 reputation. Want to help out by editing poorly written post? You need 2,000 reputation first. As you keep participating in StackOverflow and build more and more reputation additional privileges become available to you.
The final milestone in this reputation scheme is at 10,000 reputation. At this level, you gain the highest level of priviledge possible without being elected a community moderator.
This topic has been slightly controversial over the short lifetime of StackOverflow. I've read a few blog posts (not important enough to link here) providing dishonest tactics for maximizing your reputation gained per question. However, in my mind, this is equivelant to cheating in school. Sure, you may get a better grade for it, but what does it really buy you? If you graduate and don't know how to be productive in your industry, then you have only failed yourself. Not to mention what happens if you get caught. Your credibility will be shot and all of your hard work and effort will amount to nothing.
That being said, I will provide 3 tips on how to (honestly) gain 10,000 reputation on Stackoverflow:
Be curtious. This sound simple enough, but a little kindness goes a long way. Remember, the people asking these questions are having real problems that they are looking to you to help them with. A little kindness goes a long way. Also, if someone has a better answer than you, or they gave a similar answer quicker than you. You should delete your question and upvote them. This ensures the best answers go to the top of the page, and I'm sure this is what you would want on your question.
This isn't a race. There are tons of people on StackOverflow with more rep than me. They are all probably much smarter than me and seem to answer orders of magnitude more questions than I do. This doesn't matter one bit. This isn't a race, this is all about improving your knowledge through helping others. If you are in this for kudos, you probably could better spend your time doing something else.
If you don't know the answer off of the top of your head, look it up! Part of teaching/helping others involves learning. I don't know much about, say, Ruby but some of the questions asked on StackOverflow are beginner level and can be answered with a little bit of research. Doing this increases your overall skillset and teaches you about other aspects of your field.
Anyway, here's my obligotory 10,000 StackOverflow reputation post. It's taken a long time but it has been worth it. I plan on still answering questions and helping the programming community as much as possible. For those of you who have made it this far, congratulations. For those of you who haven't, don't give up! I'll see you at the finish line soon enough.