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I've been lurking S.O. whenever I had a problem for at least the last 2+ years. more times than not, I find my solution (or cobble one together) before I get frustrated enough to have the innernets help me with my specific custom problem. Many times, the only commentary I would be able to add would be "thanks!" which really only wastes bits and bandwidth.

I understand implementing measures to keep the bots and SEO kids out, but sometimes its a PITA to start participating in a community.

If you couldn't extract my question from the above rant (or title), this might be a little more clear: why do I require 15 reps to just up vote something? I feel like its kinda silly.

additionally, I noticed the quote off to the left: "We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed." yet I have looked around here and haven't been able to find any justifiable explanation.

edit: Meant 'SEO' not 'SOA'

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15 rep is not that hard to achieve. – BoltClock's a Unicorn May 24 '12 at 5:00
but sometimes its a PITA to start participating in a community - There's another amazing feature. If you can get to 200 reputation on just one site, you can upvote things on any site on the network! :o Insanity! – animuson May 24 '12 at 5:09
1) the reason is what you already understood; 2) a problem needs a practical answer that solves it, not opinions/guesses/hypothesis/chats; those are for regular fora: the whole concept of SO is not to be a regular forum – Damien Pirsy May 24 '12 at 5:26
If you have some kind of fear to post a question or answer, then you could always collect reputation by suggested edits. Look for a grammatically poor post or badly formatted code and improve it. If your suggested edit get approved, you get 2 reps. So with only 7 approved suggested edits, you'll already reach 15. And you contribute something to the community! – BalusC May 24 '12 at 6:04
So let me get this right - you apparently desperately want to participate in the community by voting, but then you complain that "its a PITA to start participating in a community". Did you even think about that before you posted? – RivieraKid May 24 '12 at 7:15
post edit: I meant 'SEO kids', not 'SOA kids' BoltClock: sure, accumulating more than 15 reps, after you've achieved the initial 15 reps, should be easy. Prior to that, a new user is rather limited in ways to acquire 'rep'. Damien: thanks for the confirmation and elaboration. Chichiray: Good suggestions, unfortunately, it requires >100 'rep' points to do this. Riveria: I neither claimed nor implied desperation to participate, just a want. A complaint? Perhaps, but more directly, I asked a question looking for a specific answer that I was able to find elsewhere. – spargonaut May 29 '12 at 4:29
...'was NOT' able to find elsewhere. – spargonaut May 29 '12 at 4:41
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Basically, voting is an integral part of the SE mechanism. One needs to know the significance of voting before one votes--and newbies don't know the significance.

Additionally, allowing everyone to vote will lead to (more) gaming of the system via sockpuppets and the like.

15 rep is easy to get. One good question/answer is enough. Why whine about it?

I understand implementing measures to keep the bots and SOA kids out

Any other ideas to do this?

but sometimes its a PITA to start participating in a community.

Initially, you accumulate privileges pretty quickly if you write a few good posts. Additionally, as @animuson said above, once you reach 200 rep on a site, you get +100 on every site, which removes most newbie barriers.

Many times, the only commentary I would be able to add would be "thanks!" which really only wastes bits and bandwidth.

You can use this:

enter image description here

It doesn't notify the user{*}, but it's a compromise.

*It doesn't act as a vote, but it is recorded. Anon-"voting" trends are accessible to mods.

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I could be wrong (it's happened many times before), but I believe that the anonymous voting you mention is purely for collecting metrics for potential future features and doesn't even result in a "community" up/downvote. – RivieraKid May 24 '12 at 8:04
@RivieraKid: That's what I meant by "doesn't notify the user". Mods can see the anonymous voting trends, though. – Manishearth May 24 '12 at 8:07
Absolutely agree, thought it would be worth clarifying to avoid the OP thinking it's the same as regular voting. – RivieraKid May 24 '12 at 8:55
@RivieraKid: Done – Manishearth May 24 '12 at 8:59
Thanks for the input, I wasn't trying to whine, only ask a legitimate question that I was unable to find an answer for. I disagree with 15 reps being easy to get. if they we're, I would have gotten them and been done with it. Unfortunately, a person with 0 rep is rather limited in the things the site allows you to do to gain rep. SEO kids: this method seems to be effective, but a touch overkill. Other methods might include captchas, e-mail verification, community reporting, blacklisting, etc. regardless, thanks for the input and suggestions. – spargonaut May 29 '12 at 4:42

SEO kids are kept away by rel="nofollow". They would gain nothing from posting spam link and upvoting it.

15 reputation is the sign of some minimal engagement in the community, so you should first try to write good answer (or good question) and get some votes for it or to write some questions and at least accept the answer.

So, if you get 2 upvotes on your answer, you know that it is not so hard (but also not so trivial) to write good answer that will be upvoted, and you feel a bit for what to reward someone's other answer.

If you get 3 upvotes on your question, you'll learn what questions are liked and found usefull by the community.

You could only accept question, but you would need 8 of your questions to be asked. Here also, you'll note that not every question gets answered, either because it is too specific or because it is not clearly written.

I personally find the 15 reps requirement good. I've treated it like a kind of tutorial mode mission to learn the site before fully participating.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the input and further elaboration on the requirement (although your answer seems more of an opinion, albeit a good one, rather than an actual specific policy or reason). The addition of rel="nofollow" makes the "keeping the SEO kids out" argument a moot point, but the 'tutorial mode mission' reasoning makes much more sense. Thanks for your suggestions. – spargonaut May 29 '12 at 16:32

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