IMO when a member posts something that is well thought out or argued; and/or is properly supported by statistics, references, and their sources (links); and/or is either witty or entertaining it deserves a REPUTATION POINT.
I believe it adds to the forum when you indicate on your reply to the post you thought earned a point that you have awarded one. Readers might take an extra look at something you thought was so well done.
Here is an easy to use guide on how you can award a Reputation Point.
How do I give a Reputation Point?
You can give someone a Reputation Point by clicking on the square green + icon on the upper right hand corner of any of THEIR posts. Doing so will take you to another screen where you must click on SUBMIT to finish the process. This screen will also give you the opportunity to indicate what you believed earned that member a Reputation Point.
When should you give someone a reputation point?
Hand out reputation to a user when you feel they made a thoughtful, interesting, funny, or intelligent post.
When I give someone reputation, how many points do I add to their score?
Each time you give someone reputation it adds one point to their score.
Where can I see who has given me reputation?
You can see who has given you reputation in the UCP. On the UCP main page, you can see the last 5 reputation points you received. The tab to the far right says "Reputation", and if you click that you can see all of the reputation, along with comments, given to you.
Where can I see the reputation leaders?
Check out this thread, which is updated weekly, to see the users with the highest reputation score.
How many posts do you need to make before handing out reputation?
You must make three posts before you are allowed to hand out reputation.