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It is only now that I realize how detailed the http://stackoverflow.com/privileges pages are. When I received the corresponding privileges I never looked up the corresponding page. I rather used the faq to read about the site when I saw it fit. After all, the privileges of relevance to beginners are at the bottom of the page. That cannot be important...

Maybe users should be required to read (i.e. visit) the corresponding privilege page before they eventually get their privilege.

Any such requirement can lead to an "automatic" reaction, but it might still be worth the try.

It might be interesting to see how many of these pages have been actually visited by people with that privilege.

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Simple yet potentially effective. I like it. –  Jay Riggs Jan 14 '13 at 21:46
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Hmm, when I earned a new privilege, I always followed the link to the corresponding privilege page to learn more about it (the initial reading when I registered didn't remain completely unforgotten). Am I really that odd? –  Daniel Fischer Jan 14 '13 at 21:52
    
@Dan: And it was not the "trusted user" page, instead? –  false Jan 14 '13 at 21:57
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IIRC, the link went straight to the page describing the just earned privilege. Like stackoverflow.com/privileges/comment –  Daniel Fischer Jan 14 '13 at 22:02
    
@Dan: I vaguely remember it. But wasn't there also the -cycle here- x for "speed reading"? –  false Jan 14 '13 at 22:09
    
You mean the cross to close the notification bar? Yes, if you don't want to read it, you needn't. –  Daniel Fischer Jan 14 '13 at 22:12

2 Answers 2

They're detailed because we assume that folks who read it will want a deep understanding of the privilege they're reading about.

That's not necessarily true for everyone. I certainly didn't need to read a page-long, five-section document to figure out how down-voting worked. The guidance in the UI itself (both explicitly in the form of tooltips or pop-up messages, and implicitly in how it reacts to being used) should suffice for the majority of users.

And if it doesn't, that needs to be fixed.

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Down-voting is an excellent example. It is rarely used by many. And also rarely understood (at least my anecdotal evidence suggests this). In my context about 5%. (To be fair, it is difficult to tell how often it is used: many retract their contribution upon downvoting & commenting) –  false Jan 16 '13 at 14:52
    
While it's true that down-votes are used a lot less than up-votes (slightly under 9% of votes are down-votes), over 66% of users who can down-vote have down-voted at least once. –  Shog9 Jan 16 '13 at 17:40
    
Do you know how many users of a privilege have read the corresponding page about it? –  false Jan 16 '13 at 18:26
    
Nope. But two thirds of them figured out how to use it one way or another. –  Shog9 Jan 16 '13 at 18:27

In case anyone else is wondering how to actually navigate to this page on a different site (ie a beta site where the rep requirements are different), the quickest route from navigation seems to be

  • Users --> Moderators --> "privileges earned through reputation"

or

  • FAQ --> Reputation --> Privileges

Perhaps this needs to be more easily available? Maybe a link on your profile page (next to "Meta User" and "network profile") called "Privileges" ?

I don't know when I would ever navigate to those pages with the paths I showed above -- it took me a while to even find them while looking -- so perhaps placing a link in a more intuitive/public location would help.

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Hover over your name in the top-line: A summary including a link to privileges pops up. At least on SO, MSO, AU, programmers. –  false Jan 15 '13 at 1:06
    
@false so it seems is the case even on beta sites (The Workplace at least). Guess I never noticed that before... –  enderland Jan 15 '13 at 1:08
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@false I've seen it on every SE site I've ever logged in to –  bungeshea Jan 20 '13 at 3:31

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