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The chat profile for a user includes a reputation total. This appears to be the sum of the reputation from all sites. A few days ago I logged in to a few other sites just out of curiosity, grew my chat reputation by 1k.

Given that there are 84 sites in the network, it seems like a person could get 200 rep on one site, and then login every single site in the network, and they would get 8,500 reputation points on chat (200+83*100).

This can be somewhat deceptive on chat when you see some with what appears to be a large reputation, and then find that they have used the site hardly at all. Reputation is intended as a measurement of helpful participation. If you include the account association bonuses, in a network-wide calculation, then I don't think it reflects participation very well.

This is slightly concerning because it appears that chat privileges is based purely on the total reputation. (I could be mistaken/wrong, I haven't anything on meta that contractions this assumption though). It seems like a person could get to a point where they can deal with flags by just getting a small amount of rep on a few sites. If my understand is correct, I do wonder if the chat reputation should be based on having 1k, or 10k on a single site, instead of having a total rep of 1k or 10k on all of the sites combined.

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The association is 100 rep, not 200. –  Cole Johnson Apr 3 '13 at 22:42
    
@ColeJohnson, right, but you don't get the bonus until you reach 200 on a site. Which why I my formula was basically 200 + numberOfSites*100 –  Zoredache Apr 3 '13 at 22:58
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Well, actually 101. –  Cole Johnson Apr 3 '13 at 23:04
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Actually 100, and the 1 comes from just signing up. ;) –  A.M. Aug 2 '13 at 21:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Your point is noted. We are going to try a slightly different rep formula on chat, to see how it pans out... Getting a true "is this 100 from the rep-bonus" on every site is... somewhat complicated, and probably unnecessarily subtle. Our thought now is basically: once you start getting rep above the rep-bonus level (on any site), we'll look only at sites where you're contribution is non-trivial. This won't impact anyone's ability to talk on chat, but will prevent perceived rep escalation by abusing rep bonus.

Yes, there is a narrow edge case where it might mean that someone doesn't have some higher access level, but tbh the cases where this will genuinely cause a difference are supremely slim. We're going to give it a go, anyway. We can always change it back (it will only affect how chat calculates network reputation).

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I'm too lazy to create a sockpuppet and test: do you get ~100 rep for chat purposes just for joining every SE site with no contribution? –  Gilles Aug 14 '13 at 17:59

I definitely agree, and now we actually have 99 sites. I for no real reason have an account on every site, more as an achievement then anything else. This might give me chat moderator tools, I haven't used chat much though. This is definitely bad, since I only have about ~300 non-association bonus rep overall.

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Now that we have 98 sites total (some are private betas, though), this may be a real problem. It's easy to get 10k chat rep for any 300 rep user now. And 300 rep is easy to get on some sites. A user could theoretically create 6 such accounts and chat-ban people at will.

I suggest this be calculated similar to the flair rep: sum of all rep on all sites where rep>=200

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I don't think I have ever seen a problem with this but I agree that this makes sense. –  Rory Alsop Feb 3 '13 at 9:35

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