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In response to this post, I thought I'd make a counter proposal:

I would argue that overall reputation should be higher to gain rights to edit posts to around 3,000 or so and that 2,000 is too low. I also believe that it should be calculated for the current calendar year and the rights are only applicable if you meet the minimum number within the last year.

We know that the reputation score is a measurement of trust, but so is a users current contributions to the site. I think that folks who are not maintaining 3,000 points in a calendar year are probably not very active contributors.


Increase reputation threshold to edit posts to 3,000 points within the last 12 calendar months (last full year from today).

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Out of curiosity, can you provide any examples of abusive edits by users with a rep over 2000 who aren't earning at a rate of 3000 per year? (Unless you wish to say that you don't want to name and shame anyone) – Andrew Grimm Jul 14 '09 at 7:34
up vote 20 down vote accepted

I don't like it.

IMHO, editing is the single most important feature of Stack Overflow. Editing is why i signed on. Editing is what turns aside from the path to yet another wasteland of poorly-asked questions.

We should encourage that. A good editor shouldn't lose his privileges for spending more time editing than rep-whoring. A bad editor should lose his privileges regardless of how much rep he's managed to accumulate.

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Current activity shows participation... Someone who is not participating actively and disappears for 2 years and comes back is not as familiar with best practices on the site. – RSolberg Jul 14 '09 at 1:24
So if i show up, earn 2K, and then spend the next year cleaning up other people's posts, i'm unceremoniously kicked out. Doesn't that seem a bit... rude? – Shog9 Jul 14 '09 at 1:36
@RSolberg: But if they were editing in those 2 years, that would be fine. RIght? I mean I see no reason why editing can't be considered active participation. I think what is really lacking is a way to vote on edits/editors. Currently, it seems to be hidden from the vote radar. – Jeff Yates Jul 14 '09 at 1:37

Should a users current activity be taken into account when determining a users "trust"?
I feel that once you earn your required rep you have proven, for the most part, that you can be trusted. This shouldn't change over time. If someone stops contributing for a few months for whatever reason, their level of "trust" hasn't changed.

Editing posts shouldn't be a privilege of activity, it should be solely a privilege of "trust". A user can still make semi-frequent contributions by cleaning up posts etc without earning 3000 rep a year.

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I disagree with the idea that reputation is a measure of trust. Reputation is at best a reflection of utility. People don't vote answers or questions up because they trust a person, but because a person has been helpful. The ability to provide a correct and helpful answer may be related to a person's ability to modify something for readability, but doesn't speak to whether a person can be trusted to exercise editing abilities in a cooperative manner.

The way I see it, reputation and the attendant privileges are fundamentally a way to drive participation, not an indication of ability or trust. The question really is how to structure the privilege levels appropriately to maximally drive participation. The levels need to be realistically attainable by individuals with at least moderate interest. From that perspective I think that they are probably ok.

I would agree with the perspective that once you have the privilege there should be a way to determine whether you are exercising it appropriately. So far issues with this seem to be handled at the moderator level on a case by case basis. Perhaps, there is a way to measure both good and bad edits and factor that into a "mod" score that could be used as a more objective way to measure editing ability. Perhaps after you get to 20K, you have the ability to vote on edits the same way you can vote on questions/answers.

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The 20k "edit votes" idea sounds good although I can imagine that it will be difficult due to the number of edits that happen every day. Perhaps only edits made by the non-OP that are above x number of characters changed would be available for voting? This would at least reduce the number while keeping the scope to those most likely to be abusive edits. – Jeff Yates Jul 14 '09 at 5:25
Then again, what makes a 20k person more apt to cast such a vote? – John the Seagull Jul 14 '09 at 5:33
People with over 20k are pretty invested in the site. I would think that they would care when an edit adds/detracts from their question/answer. It would also add another level to aspire to which would drive participation. To me that's really the importance of reputation. – tvanfosson Jul 14 '09 at 13:23

(I made the proposal that this counter-proposal is based on)

What proportion of bad editing is being done by users with a reputation between 2000 and 3000, compared to the proportion of users with a reputation between 2000 and 3000?

My own guess would be that abusive editors would either have an extremely low reputation (drive-by trolls) or an extremely high reputation (people who think they own the place).

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