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I posted a feature-request on meta.SE, but it really belongs here. Whenever a message on S[OFU] says "Sorry, new users can't do X", it should say "Sorry, you need Y rep to do X".

Situations where this comes up:

  • "new users can't create tags"
  • "new users can only post a maximum of one hyperlink"
  • "new users can't use image tags"

Are there some others?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It has been this way for a while, so marking [status-completed]

String.Format("we're sorry, but as a spam prevention mechanism, 
    new users can only post a maximum of one hyperlink. 
    Earn {0} reputation to post more hyperlinks.",

String.Format("we're sorry, but as a spam prevention mechanism, 
    new users aren't allowed to post images. 
    Earn {0} reputation to post images.",

String.Format("users with less than {0} reputation can't create new tags. 
    The tag{1} '{2}' {3} new. Try using {4} existing tag{1} instead.",
    multiple ? "s" : "",
    multiple ? "are" : "is",
    multiple ? "" : "an");
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also I F'ING HATE PLURALIZATION. That is all. – Jeff Atwood Dec 22 '09 at 23:36

I agree that the message could be clearer, but as pointed out by Simon "You need X rep" would be hideously unhelpful to the users who do not know what reputation is yet.

Any user who has just stumbled on the site and signed up to ask a question would likely be in this situation. A compromise might be.

Sorry, new users can't do X

until they have Y [link]reputation[/link]"

A little long, yes, and I'm open to any suggestions about shortening it. But this conveys the following information

  1. New users can't do what you're doing
  2. We have a reputation system here
  3. You CAN do what you want to do once you have Y reputation.
  4. Here's a link explaining reputation and (presumably) how to get it.

As you noticed, with only "New users can't do X" the new users are left with no indication of how to become... "old". With "You need Y reputation" new users are left in the dark about what/why reputation is.

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New users won't understand the concept of rep, so telling them "you need x rep" is just going to confuse them. On the other hand "new users can't do..." is easy to understand for someone new to the site.

(You could put the rep requirement in as a subtext to the main warning I suppose)

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You could fix that easily by providing a link to what rep is. – Ladybug Killer Sep 17 '09 at 8:50
"New users won't understand the concept of rep" this seems a rather patronising attitude. – Richard Sep 17 '09 at 9:46
@Richard: Kids in grade school don't understand quantum physics. It's not patronizing, it's fact. People don't understand anything until it is explained to them. – devinb Sep 17 '09 at 12:33
Ignorance is the natural state of things. The range of subjects I'm ignorant about is positively breathtaking. All we can do is realize that and learn what we can. – David Thornley Sep 17 '09 at 13:59
@David: To be fair, I have no idea what you're ignorant of, and so it would be difficult for it to 'take my breath away'. – devinb Sep 17 '09 at 14:12

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