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Should the reputation requirements to participate in a stackoverflow knowledge exchange site change as the site evolves?

In normal use you gain reputation by being up voted, either your question or your answer. When an SO site is first created there are realtivley few questions and few answers. This makes it easy to gain reputation so you can better participate in the site.

As a site matures it's more difficult to ask a new question or post a good answer. That makes a barrier of entry for participation steeper. Which also makes it hard to vote for good answers or leave constructive comments (15 and 50 reputation respectively). In effect you are prohibited from being a part of the community because you didn't get in early.

Should the barrier of entry for low impact actions (voting, comments) be lower as the site matures and more users gain moderator like permissions (retags, edits, closes) and higher for high impact moderator like permissions as the site matures? People with previous permissions would be grandfathered in as the barriers changed.

This will enable the moderators to moderate the 'less trusted users' rather than the computer (reputation is a measure of how much the system trusts you) but still enable quality participation a growth in users.

This is less of an issue for dynamic topics that stackoverflow has started with (all computer related) and more of an issue for more stable topics (loomoverflow anybody?).

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't think the rep requirements for high-level rep actions should ever increase, otherwise you face the possibilty of someone losing those abilities through no fault of their own. If the system trusted you yesterday, why doesn't it trust you today?

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Perhaps two changes would make it work: 1) Once you have an ability, you don't lose it (subject to moderator/site owner intervention, of course) 2) Base rights (or at least higher-level rights) on a "sliding scale" approach. For example, if you are in the top 35% you can edit posts, top 25% you can vote to close posts, etc. – GalacticCowboy Jul 11 '09 at 18:14
That could make it so users with the same rep would have different privileges, and users with more rep than older users could even have less. That's not really a fair system, users should be created equal by rep, not the time in which rep was gained. – Ian Elliott Jul 11 '09 at 18:21
Also, it's a PITA to manage permissions by user. Why replace a simple if(reputation > threshold) check with some complicated black magic? The other workaround would be increasing the reputation of everyone eligible to the new level, but that is kinda crappy as well for the people just below the threshold. – Michael Stum Jul 11 '09 at 20:32

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