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Why does a user need 150 points to vote in elections (and why not less)?

On the one hand, I can understand that people who rarely visit should not be able to skew results, and that the minimum reduces the chances of fraud.

On the other, I frequent SO quite a bit, but ask and answer relatively few questions. Many of my problems have been answered before. A good moderator would enhance my user experience, too.

Perhaps a veteran SO user can clarify this a bit for me! Most importantly, I wonder if the reputation count is the best way to measure the use of this community (e.g. one does not even have to have an account to use it).

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Well where would you draw the line? –  Lix Jun 13 '12 at 7:25
    
Oh I don't know, I cannot judge how fast a determined user can acquire reputation (especially if reputation points is the goal). But I have less than 50 on SO, and barely 10 on meta. I would love to vote but cannot. I can understand the limitation but am also curious how the number was established. –  radiopaque Jun 13 '12 at 7:27
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A good moderator would enhance my user experience, too. Huh? –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 13 '12 at 7:33
    
There will be more elections in the future. So lots of chances to vote. –  Toon Krijthe Jun 13 '12 at 7:52
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If you work at it for a day you should be able to get your 150 reputation and then you can vote. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 13 '12 at 8:02
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@Ben Being honest, you needed four days to reach 150+ rep. I beside don't have the knowledge to get that fast any rep, so I choosed the hard way: editing. –  Shegit Brahm Jun 13 '12 at 8:12
    
@ShegitBrahm, I may have taken 4 days, but there's also some days where I've received more than 150 reputation in total; the OP already has almost 50 which makes this easier. You should be able to get 150 rep from editing alone in a day; I wouldn't say it's the hard way. A good answer takes time; but it's definitely as hard. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 13 '12 at 8:31
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@GardenGnobobby: bad moderation (whether in Q&A-like places or in true forums) makes for a very different user impression, I would say. Many times I have left communities because moderation was absent or very low quality, just because it was not nice to be there. –  radiopaque Jun 13 '12 at 8:36
    
@Ben: true, but programming is not my daytime job, and although I will eventually get there (150), there is currently no way I can spend a day on SO. But as several people already wrote, visiting frequently and "maturity" to vote are different things. From all the answers given, I think I have a pretty good idea now. –  radiopaque Jun 13 '12 at 8:39
    
Okay...then I don't get your question even a tiny bit... –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 13 '12 at 9:07
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Sockpuppets. Drr. –  Won't Jun 13 '12 at 14:38
    
@Won't: I know. We don't want those :-D To avoid them, I guess a minimum rep is a handy tool. I suppose those with too little rep just need to be patient. –  radiopaque Jun 13 '12 at 14:48
    
"Many of my problems have been answered before." -- upvote the answers (and the questions) then. It isn't hard to reach 150 if you are a legitimate user. –  Chris Jun 15 '12 at 20:17
    
It's important to take the 100 point association bonus into account when deciding on a limit. –  CodesInChaos Jun 15 '12 at 22:26
    
@CodeInChaos: that is true but you get that only after _two_hundred reputation on a site :-) –  radiopaque Jun 16 '12 at 6:31

5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

150 is just a number - I do not believe that it was chosen specifically for any purpose. As we all know, reputation is a rough estimate of how much the community trusts you so you'll have to have some (trust) in order to take part in the election process.

To put some context into what it exactly means when a user has 150 reputation points.
They have the privilege to -

These are not the only privileges you should have when you reach 150 rep but IMO they are relevant to your participation on the site. If you are not privileged enough to perform these actions then you shouldn't be allowed to vote on who your moderators should be. I think that of all the privileges I have listed here, the down vote is the most important because once you have that power, the system basically is saying to you that you now have the ability to decide (and act upon) what is good and what is bad (with regard to content).

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Thanks Lix, that helps a lot. I must say that even so, I don't agree fully. Being able to down vote is not really required to vote. There is an important distinction between active voting rights and passive voting rights. As a "citizen of SO" I can accept that I am not allowed to downvote, but I can certainly have an opinion on the quality of moderation! –  radiopaque Jun 13 '12 at 8:43
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@radiopaque: You can have an opinion. Leave comments on the nominations. Open questions on meta arguing what you feel is most important. But you can't vote. –  Ben Voigt Jun 15 '12 at 19:51

Why do we have an age limit for a real life election? So that people who are adults or in other words those who understand the system can participate to choose a better candidate.

The same happens here. We measure age in terms of reputation, because being inactive on Stack sites doesn't count for anything, you should take part in building SO a better place. You can do it by asking, answering, editing etc. etc. Just reading an answer doesn't do any good for others.

So in our terms (I am using "our" since I consider SO as my own community) 150 reputation is when you are mature enough to know what stuffs are needed to make this community better and once you know about them, you can select who can do this job better than others.

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You are actually pointing out the most basic problem - How do you measure who is an active user that should be trused? (and who not). The Stack Exchange team decided that gaining points is the way, it has its pros and cons, just like any other way. But you have got do it some way, and 150 reputation is just a matter of time. I was visiting Stack Overflow for almost a year before I even made an account, so I somewhat understand your position. But I have no better idea what they should do. You might post another question, where you request another way to gain points.

But maybe wait for a moderator to answer - They know the reasons from inside.

FYI: You gain badges for constantly visiting the sites.

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Moderators don't really know the "reasons from the inside" - only employees know that. We moderators are just regular users who've volunteered our time to help the sites. –  ChrisF Jun 13 '12 at 8:05

When you reach 200 reputation on any site you gain 100 reputation on every other SE site linked to your account. As such 200 can be thought as the amount of respect needed to be considered a responsible member of the community.

With 100 reputation you have most basic communication privileges, giving you an easy way to participate in a an SE site. However not just anyone joining a site for the 1st time should be able to vote, which impacts the whole community, so 100 is kind of low. However, along the same train of thought if at 200 your considered responsible enough to be given these privileges on other sites, you should be plenty responsible to vote.

While 100 seems to low, around 200 seems to me the fair amount. However even at 150 you have to put some work in (you mentioned you only had about 50, and if you added 100 to that you'd have plenty). Also, I suspect they wanted a privilege to fill in the gap from 100-200 ^.^

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Was this really a useful answer? –  jcolebrand Jun 15 '12 at 22:06
    
@jcolebrand Somewhat, the second part. –  Lev Levitsky Jun 15 '12 at 22:18
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@jcolebrand Good point, rewrote and hopefully a bit better, thanks :) –  Fewfre Jun 15 '12 at 22:53
    
You too? You can't hide actions like deleting or undeleting, it's all visible in the revisions page of the post. :/ –  Shadow Wizard Jun 25 '12 at 11:54
    
@ShaDowWizArd Should say 'et tu?" =p But yah, as that post says. In my defense, I didn't think I'd get points back '~' –  Fewfre Jun 25 '12 at 11:58
    
It's all good, guess that post caused lots of law abiding people to get wild for a moment.. ;) –  Shadow Wizard Jun 25 '12 at 11:59
    
@ShaDowWizArd Well, I had planned to do it on SO, saw the post name here, and figured I'd do it here 1st. They should make it so you don't get points back though '~' That's just stupid -.- –  Fewfre Jun 25 '12 at 12:01
    
Not stupid at all - what if a post is deleted by mistake? Or by some revengeful members? –  Shadow Wizard Jun 25 '12 at 12:15
    
@ShaDowWizArd Fair enough. Could always be you don't get badge for 24 hours. At least adds a chance you'll forget to un-delete. But fair enough, no really good way to fix the issue '~' –  Fewfre Jun 25 '12 at 12:18

I would think it's also so someone can't create a bunch of accounts and cheat the elections.

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Yup. @Won't mentioned the problem of sockpuppets as well, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet). –  radiopaque Jun 15 '12 at 20:58

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