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I'm a relatively new user here on StackExchange, and I really like the concept and the implementation. My first question was on Stack Overflow, but it turned out to be a dud with hardly any views and no votes, answers or comments. I also got into Arqade, and with a couple of answers managed to get enough reputation to access the majority of privileges there. That made me realize how much I was missing on Stack Overflow, though. So here's the dilemma: I'm not good enough at programming to answer 99.9% of questions on Stack Overflow, but I don't have enough reputation and accompanying privileges to do do things like comment, post bounties and participate in Meta (without creating a new linked account anyways) which will allow me to learn more about programming, get my questions viewed/answered, and bring such a plight to the attention of the community. It's actually quite disheartening for a new user such as myself to feel as though he is stuck at less than 10 reputation. So my questions are:

Is this (potentially flawed) system of gaining reputation the only way to gain privileges? Or is there some other method like being a member for a certain amount of time? If not, can the community consider implementing some policy that will prevent getting stuck at low reputation?

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"Is gaining reputation the only way to gain privileges?" Yes. There are plenty of books and websites out there that you can read in order to learn basic programming. – Jack Maney Jul 3 '13 at 20:15
You've only been on the site for 15 days. Give it some time and some practice you'll get there – apaul34208 Jul 3 '13 at 20:17
The time and energy investment has a positive side-effect: By performing the work that is required to gain reputation, you make an investment into the site. People act better when they are investors rather than mere users. Additionally, the process is a way to prove that you have the domain knowledge required to be a valuable member of the community. – George Cummins Jul 3 '13 at 20:18
That is the only way to gain priveleges. It seems hard because you have to ask (good) questions or write (good) answers in order to get rep, but it is straight forward, just be strong in what you are good at and answer/ask questions in that specific domain, edit questions/answers and u will get there. – Sai Jul 3 '13 at 20:18
Is there a reason you object to creating a linked account? There is an instant rep boost just for linking accounts for the exact reason you describe here. – andypaxo Jul 3 '13 at 20:19
Getting upvotes on questions and answers is not the only way to gain reputation, by the way. – Al E. Jul 3 '13 at 20:19
@andypaxo No, I don't object to creating a new account; I'm slightly confused as to why there are two ways to get on Meta (one through gaining rep and one through creating an account manually). Also, the rep boost doesn't take effect unless one of your linked accounts has a certain reputation, which I certainly don't. – Turtleweezard Jul 3 '13 at 20:23
@Turtleweezard Meta requires no rep. There is no need for a separate, unassociated account. – Bart Jul 3 '13 at 20:25
It's really not that hard to gain reputation on SO these days. Hang around on android or ios in the mid-morning period of +5 or +6 GMT and copy-paste vaguely relevant answers from other questions. Ususally you don't even need to include any actual explanation, either. – Josh Caswell Jul 3 '13 at 20:28
@JoshCaswell Please don't encourage users to perform bad or even illegal behaviors (plagiarism) in an effort to farm rep. – Servy Jul 3 '13 at 20:29
Oops, did I forget my <sarcastic grimace> tag, @Servy? – Josh Caswell Jul 3 '13 at 20:30
@JoshCaswell That you meant it sarcastically, and even that it's obvious to me, doesn't mean people won't do it anyway. – Servy Jul 3 '13 at 20:31
@Turtleweezard Yes (on meta). See this help page specifically the section "Voting is different on meta". – Servy Jul 3 '13 at 20:34
You say the system is "potentially flawed," but you never say what those "flaws" actually are. If it's just "I want more reputation than I have," it's hard to call that a flaw. – David Robinson Jul 3 '13 at 20:38
I don't think the restrictions do make it harder to gain rep. Most of the privileges have nothing to do with rep. The only exception I can think of is that you can't comment on other user's questions to ask for clarifications that could help you answer. (if that's what you're talking about, you should really focus your question around that topic- right now the question just reads like "I would like more privileges."). But again, get 200 rep on another site and that privilege comes free. – David Robinson Jul 3 '13 at 20:47
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Short of being elected a Moderator, yes, with one caveat (later).

That's okay, though. You can gain reputation through a number of methods; not only answering questions, but also asking them. If you don't ask questions, and don't answer questions, then it doesn't sound like you really are right for StackOverflow - that's okay, it's not for everybody. Go to Arqade or whichever sites you do have questions and/or answers for! That's why there are so many SE sites - for each his/her own.

Now, there is one caveat; you get a +100 bonus for having associated accounts. This of course is still gaining reputation, but it goes really to what you're asking in that you get some privileges without questions or answers. You do have to have 200 reputation at the associated site, though.

From the FAQ:

If you are an experienced Stack Exchange network user with 200 or more reputation on at least one site, you will receive a starting +100 reputation bonus to get you past basic new user restrictions. This will happen automatically on all current Stack Exchange sites where you have an account, and on any other Stack Exchange sites at the time you log in.

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the association bonus doesn't give you privileges without reputation, it just gives you reputation. You earned the privilege because of the reputation that you have. – Servy Jul 3 '13 at 20:21
Correct - I suppose I didn't answer that entirely clearly. – Joe Jul 3 '13 at 20:22
If I remember correctly, the first time you get an association bonus, it applies to both accounts – andypaxo Jul 3 '13 at 20:23
Perhaps you meant that there are ways of getting privileges besides just answering or asking questions. To that end, there are actually several a number of getting reputation, several of which (including the association bonus) are not based on making a post. There are also suggested edits, for another. That doesn't change the fact that the privileges come from reputation. – Servy Jul 3 '13 at 20:24
Ah, yes. You do have to have 200 rep though to get it. Fixed/updated the post. – Joe Jul 3 '13 at 20:24
Yeah the 200 rep is the problem. – Turtleweezard Jul 3 '13 at 20:27
Seems like you're plenty close to 200 on Arqade - just be patient. Good things come to those who wait, and/or work hard and invest their effort in improving the site :) – Joe Jul 3 '13 at 20:28
@Turtleweezard - You're just an approved edit away from the bar on Arqade. Try looking through the LoL tag ( to see if there are any Qs or As which need substantial editing help. Make it a good edit! ;) – KatieK Jul 3 '13 at 22:02

There are two ways of gaining privileges. You can get them through reputation, or you can be elected a moderator. Being a moderator (or community manager) gives you a number of privileges that you can't get through reputation, as well as ensuring you have all privileges that can be given through reputation.

Note that there are very few moderators (on established sites) who haven't unlocked all of the privileges gained through reputation.

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