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Why does reputation have a lower bound of 1?

Why does a person start on 1 reputation? Why not 0? It can confuse the calculation of reputation points.

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marked as duplicate by Lance Roberts, Anna Lear, Michael Petrotta, Mark Trapp, Sathya Oct 14 '11 at 4:36

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How can it confuse the calculation? –  slugster Oct 14 '11 at 3:05
You get 1 point for breathing. –  LarsTech Oct 14 '11 at 3:07
"There are two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors." –  Johnsyweb Oct 14 '11 at 3:10
Meh, let's scrap the whole thing and switch to a scoring system based on dice rolls. Upvotes are 2d6 +modifers, stave off downvotes with saving throws, etc. –  Anthony Pegram Oct 14 '11 at 3:38
And also, why can't you have a reputation lower than 1? –  iphonemaniac Oct 14 '11 at 3:48

1 Answer 1

up vote 19 down vote accepted

No, it can't start at 0.

See the problem is we're not very good programmers, and the divide by 0 errors were absolutely killing us, so 1 is the minimum.

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Ok thanks! I get it now! –  iphonemaniac Oct 14 '11 at 4:23
but answers start on 0... jks –  Antony Oct 14 '11 at 4:24
so, that might be why negative reputations don't happen? –  iphonemaniac Oct 14 '11 at 4:24
@iphonemaniac - When reputation reaches 0 we get errors again, so we stop before it gets there...that's why it never gets to negative either. –  Nick Craver Oct 14 '11 at 4:25
You'll be singing a different tune when Jon Skeet overflows the rep column in the database –  Michael Mrozek Oct 14 '11 at 4:56
Heh, and I always thought it was a psychological thing, as in "We give you one point for free, so that you don't have to feel like you're a zero." –  Robert Harvey Oct 14 '11 at 19:54

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