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It seems to me a little unfair the way the daily rep boundary works from midnight UTC for users in the UK or Europe, assuming that they don't use SO every day.

If I don't access SO on a particular day (maybe it's a weekend, busy at work etc) and then use the site the following day, I may hit my rep limit in the morning and then that's it. If the boundary was midday UTC, I'd be able to amass points in the morning and the afternoon. Of course, this would only affect those users who weren't on SO every day.

This means that currently, such US users have an advantage in how many points they are likely to gain in a day over similar UK/Europe users. Unless they work into the early hours I suppose!

It would be nice if we could choose from midnight-midnight or midday-midday boundaries.

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I've raised this myself, to no result. Good luck. – please delete me Sep 9 '09 at 7:52
Will you ever want to change which frame you're capping at in order to game the system? – random Sep 9 '09 at 7:55
@random - perish the thought! This could just be accounted for by always doing the adjustment against you. For example, if you changed from midday to midnight based at 11.59pm having reached your daily cap, it started from the next-but-one midnight, so you'd in fact lost 12 hours of rep points. – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 8:00
Try working with 10am as the reset point. It's doable. – random Sep 9 '09 at 8:17
"US users with the same usage profile as me have a rep advantage built-in." (comment on my reply) - if true, then arguably they're not doing much with that advantage - only 4 of the top 10 users (by rep) list US locations (although 2 don't show a location). Compare/contrast to the usage stats showing US as the biggest user-base. My unscientific conclusion from this: overall there is no specific advantage/disadvantage in locale - or perhaps this even could be evidence that the US has the disadvantage? – Marc Gravell Sep 9 '09 at 8:36
@Marc - but I'm talking about more casual users. My whole argument does not apply to people who are on SO from dawn til dusk! – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 9:03
OK; point taken - much harder to measure that, of course... – Marc Gravell Sep 9 '09 at 9:32
I think it matters for high rep users; the sooner you reach the rep cap, the better (in this case, I think AU has an advantage). However, for casual users, the cutoff time shouldn't really matter. It might still matter where you live, not because of SO time boundaries, but because some hours are more active (and SO can't do anything about it). Overall, it is not a big issue, considering the complexity it adds to the system. @Marc: You can safely assume I'm far enough from US ;) – xmm0 Sep 9 '09 at 9:40
@Mehrdad: I'd be interested to hear why you think AU has the advantage there. In fact, I'm tempted to open up a whole new meta question to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of certain time zones for different classss of user. (It wouldn't be suitable in this feature request question.) – Jon Skeet Sep 9 '09 at 10:01
@Jon: It's just a feeling but I'll be happy to contribute to your new question. Comment space is not long enough. – xmm0 Sep 9 '09 at 10:56
@Mehrdad: If you reach the limit on comment space, you might want to consider posting it as an answer instead.... – awe Sep 9 '09 at 11:45
If you are a casual user, then why are you so concerned with the rep limit. Contradictory much? – TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 12:07
@TheTXI - when I say "casual" I suppose I mean anyone who isn't on SO all day, every day. I'm in that bracket (see my comments to Jon Skeet's answer). I care about rep because it's important – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 13:00
@TheTXI - I've removed the word "casual" from my question. I was pretty clear about it being users who weren't on SO the entire time though, I think you're being a mite nitpicky! – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 13:02
How many users hit the daily rep limit on a regular basis? My guess is a very small number (100 or less), I am not sure this feature request is worth the time for less than 100 users. I rather time be spent on other items. – David Basarab Sep 9 '09 at 13:17
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think there has to be a common line in the sand, so it might as well be UTC.

I guess I don't count as a "casual" user, but I can't say that I've seen a huge handicap here. But is your point that a casual US user essentially gets 2 SO days in one local day?

Untimately, though - rep is a side business. The real point of the site is to provide quality questions and answers. You can do that at any time of the day. Does it matter if you've maxed? I certainly don't suddenly stop looking at questions at the 200pt barrier.

And of course - the reverse is true, too; imagine you are available one evening and the next morning. Currently you get 2 SO days here, where-as a different time-zone may only see 1 SO day. On average it evens out, I suspect.

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Well, I often do stop when I've reached my points limit and I've seen enough here on meta to suggest that others do the same. It's happened quite a lot recently that I've missed out on a lot of points because my rep resets at midnight instead of midday, which would be fine if everyone was affected the same way but of course they aren't: US users with the same usage profile as me have a rep advantage built-in. – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 8:13
And why does there have to be a single, common line in the sand? What's wrong with a choice of 2? – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 8:13

The rep cap is fundamentally arbitrary. As Marc says, different situations will favour different places for the boundary, and it probably evens out anyway.

As I've said many times before, I'd prefer to have a non-time-based rep cap, e.g. a cap on a per-post basis, or something similar. Time doesn't make much sense to me. Given that the system is arbitrary, I'd rather not make it any more complicated than it has to be. If time is going to be spent on the rep cap, I'd rather it was spent coming up with a different system, working out exactly what it's trying to achieve and where the cap should be based on that goal.

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Yes, I still like the per-post idea. It seems more fair based on contribution rather than timing... – Marc Gravell Sep 9 '09 at 8:30
"It probably evens out anyway" - I suspect that it doesn't even out at all because the vast majority of users will have a normal working (or waking) day. Hence a casual US user is always at a slight advantage and likely to gain from the fact that the reset it in UTC. I also don't think that a choice of 2 options is very complicated. Not sure what I think about your post-based limit; it seems to discourage the "perfecting" of an answer – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 9:02
Having any user setting is clearly more complicated that everyone having the same line. Note that casual users aren't likely to hit the rep limit anyway... and those that do are probably just as likely to do a bit one evening and then a bit the next morning as lots both sides of midday. My post-based limit would be a pretty high one - maybe 500 - so I don't think it would seriously discourage improving an answer as much as possible. – Jon Skeet Sep 9 '09 at 9:58
I would describe myself as casual-ish in the sense that some days I'm too busy to answer much, I occasionally have a life in the evenings and on weekends. I've noticed recently that when I have had some time to post, I've been missing out on 200 points (lets say once/week) just because of my time zone. Having a higher limit would be one solution - 200 is proving to be too low IMHO – oxbow_lakes Sep 9 '09 at 10:40
I'm sure you would find you'd lose points the other way round if you changed the boundary though. It's just one of those things. As for 200 being too low, and worrying about missing out on 200 points... yesterday (just yesterday) I missed out on 2000 points due to the limit, so you should think yourself lucky :) – Jon Skeet Sep 9 '09 at 12:49
@Jon Skeet: well that absolutely crushes me. I was just starting to feel good about myself at having a potential 1500 point day on meta once. – TheTXI Sep 9 '09 at 13:57

As has been brought up before, there are potential pitfalls when it comes to complicating things for the system if everyone gets to pick and choose when they want their time frames to be, and it won't have any real value. As Skeet said, it is simple enough to do some Q&A in the morning, some in the evening, or however the timeframes line up.

As a "casual" user, this shouldn't matter much and only those who have a hardcore fascination with capping out every day would really care (if at all).

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