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Right now, the maximum privilege "unlock" is at 10k reputation:

http://meta.stackoverflow.com/privileges

We're considering adding a new 20k reputation privilege, but having a hard time figuring out exactly what it should be.

Two guidelines:

  1. I would like it to be more than cosmetic -- I'd prefer to add a new and useful privilege that gives people actual power to effect more change on the site they have invested so much time in.
  2. It would also be clever, though by no means required, if the privilege scaled so the more reputation you get above 20k, the more potent this hypothetical privilege is. Although this could be risky and even dangerous, so be careful and think through the consequences of what you're proposing.

Let's hear it -- please propose a new 20k reputation privilege, ideally meeting at least one of the guidelines above!

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62  
This is the last thing that I, a 9665-rep user, needed to see. I'm already hooked, man! –  Pops Nov 11 '10 at 22:59
13  
Lol, most of these answers are by users between 19-21K rep here on meta. –  Joel Coehoorn Nov 11 '10 at 23:15
11  
I don't think that 20k rep users are more thrustworthy than 10k users. I believe after 10k one has proven one's dedication and that one knows the way around SO. I'd rather give the proposed priviledges directly to 10k users. At the moment, they don't gain much power. –  Georg Schölly Nov 12 '10 at 17:55
1  
@Georg: When you have as many users above 20k as SO has (which correlates to the number of users total), it might be worth giving them some additional privileges to reduce moderator load — and I think that should be the goal of any of these high-rep privileges. SO is getting a lot more 10kers, and the specific rep requirement is higher to both reduce the number of users (thus hopefully avoid some abuse) and make it meaningful+fun. The latter includes not swamping users with a ton of new abilities at once, which is already a problem with 10k. –  Gnome Nov 12 '10 at 18:07
3  
This list of privileges that 10k users don't have is useful: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/05/a-theory-of-moderation –  Gordon Gustafson Nov 13 '10 at 18:13
23  
I propose the inability to answer questions that don't already have several answers. This is to take the stress of always needing to be the first to give a decent answer off their backs. (With the added bonus that other people on stackoverflow also get a chance to contribute) ;) –  Joren Nov 16 '10 at 10:11
5  
@Joren that would just increase the number of bounties offered. Also, Jon Skeet would kill you. –  Tyler Carter Dec 17 '10 at 17:51
2  
How about, the higher over 20k you are, the more points you get for upvotes, accepts ... yes I am lazily trying to increase my rep, what of it! –  Aiden Bell Feb 5 '11 at 22:14
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44 Answers 44

Vote to delete answers. There is a constant stream of 'thank you notes,' snarky remarks, and other stuff which isn't formally spam but is clutter.


Edit by waffles

This is now implemented with the following caveats

  1. The answer must have the score of -1 or lower
  2. It requires 3 votes.

Also, the tools deleted tab has been amended to include deleted answers so we can audit this.

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4  
Deleting of crap questions was already shut down, so I don't believe we'd get this in any useful form. If it's just five votes per day or something similar it's fairly pointless, you could usually use up that amount by just going through the first two or three pages of stackoverflow.com/tools/new-answers-old-questions . –  sth Nov 12 '10 at 1:07
26  
while there is no such thing as a bad question, bad answers on the other hand do exist. –  alexanderpas Nov 12 '10 at 2:04
6  
Some manner of answer deletion would be helpful, especially with the stream of Thank You answers. I would much prefer to see this than to see people flag non-spam, non-offensive items improperly. –  Grace Note Nov 12 '10 at 14:45
3  
There was a [feature-request] about this recently - basically a non-punitive "not an answer" flag that deletes but doesn't induce a rep penalty - but I can't seem to find it. This would seem to be a great special privilege for the 20kers. –  Aarobot Nov 12 '10 at 17:03
3  
@Grace: I've always dealt with no-purpose answers as if they were spam, because honestly, they distract from great answers - just like regular spam. –  Georg Schölly Nov 12 '10 at 17:47
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It seems to me that when I first hit 10k, I was able to vote to delete answers. There must have been some reason for removing the privilege. –  mmyers Nov 13 '10 at 18:09
13  
@Georg: As bad as they are, they shouldn't be flagged as spam, because spam flags cause a -100 rep penalty. Actual spamming reflects a commercial intent which justifies that penalty; people shouldn't be penalized equally for stupidity (at least not beyond the usual downvotes). At the moment, you should be dealing with these by flagging them for moderator attention, not using the spam flags. –  Aarobot Nov 14 '10 at 15:29
1  
It appears that not enough 20k users are doing this for non-answers. I just deleted a -1 answer that was flagged as not-an-answer by 14 users, and at least 2 of them were well over 40k. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 7 '12 at 12:38
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Relax or remove the daily limit of flags, close votes, and delete votes. (Did I miss any others?)

Update: The number of moderator flags now depends on your rep. See here.

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18  
This might scale nicely - say 1 more vote per 2500 rep or something like that (starting at 20K). –  user27414 Nov 11 '10 at 22:52
18  
Hmmm, is it really that big of a deal? –  jcolebrand Nov 12 '10 at 0:33
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Another one that makes more work...but still on those occasions that I run out I always find another one I wished I'd saved up for... –  dmckee Nov 12 '10 at 2:30
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You've got a chance of hitting 20k from upvotes on this post -- well planned, sir –  Michael Mrozek Nov 12 '10 at 11:49
7  
As the site grows, I find it easier and easier to run out of close votes, delete votes (now that this is rate limited), and spam flags every day. For some reason, I found myself doing more janitorial work once I crossed the 10k threshold. This is possibly because reputation was no longer that great of a motivator past this point, and / or I felt more invested in the site after participating for that long. –  Brad Larson Nov 12 '10 at 20:53
1  
I built a tool to help me revisit closed questions after the 2 day waiting period before deletion, and found that I really don't have enough delete votes per day to keep up with the stuff that truly deserves deletion. I would wield more delete votes responsibly. :) –  Greg Hewgill Dec 13 '10 at 7:41
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The ability to edit comments.

Moderators already have that ability, and I find it extremely useful. I might entrust that power to a 20K user.

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7  
Yes! Perhaps with the option to delete comments, too. –  user27414 Nov 11 '10 at 22:26
36  
I like this a lot, but it would require us to have a full public revision history for comments. We don't store prior comment revisions, just edit in place and increment a counter.. –  Jeff Atwood Nov 11 '10 at 22:27
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I'm for this only if we have better tracking of this. As it stands, we some history when we do it as a diamond, but it doesn't tell us what changes were made. If we want to open this up really wide, we really need better methods to track who did what. –  Grace Note Nov 11 '10 at 22:28
1  
I think this would be mostly useful for cleaning up flame wars (as opposed to typos, etc). Perhaps a very simple comment removed by Joe "I have 20K and you don't" Smith, rather than a full edit with revisions. –  user27414 Nov 11 '10 at 22:29
2  
What about the ability to edit only your own comments at any time (no 5 minute limit)? –  Jon Seigel Nov 11 '10 at 22:47
6  
Even if it was just the insanely annoying 15 second sliding comment timer was removed I'd go for it. –  Nick Craver Nov 12 '10 at 1:42
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To me this sounds a bit strange, you already get the priv to edit typos at 2000, why get it again at 20k –  waffles Nov 12 '10 at 7:41
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Comments are already considered a second class citizen; more attention to them (both as a 20k power and to fix minor errors) seems out of place. –  Gnome Nov 13 '10 at 4:04
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The ability to protect questions, perhaps limited in the same way close votes/flags are.

This privilege was implemented for 15k users on Feb. 9. 2011.

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3  
ahh, THIS is the idea we had for another 20k power way back when, and I forgot about it and was racking my brain trying to remember it. Thank you for the reminder! –  Jeff Atwood Nov 12 '10 at 7:58
5  
I prefer the suggestion to enable (temporary) locking of questions, but I guess this would be the consolation prize. I don't think that there are that many questions that need to be protected, because frankly I think that users with up to about 1000 rep and occasionally beyond can cause just as much trouble. –  Aarobot Nov 12 '10 at 16:55
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I think this is the wrong question to be asking, I would rather ask:

What work would the moderators like to be able to delegate to the most trusted users?

And

What would we like the moderators to do quicker?

Then see if 20K+ users or other uses can be given the power to help out.

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33  
As much as we modulate, we're really more in charge of moderation. –  Grace Note Nov 12 '10 at 14:39
1  
If you have a PU-36 explosive space modulator, that is another story. ;) –  Mark C Nov 19 '10 at 23:07
3  
I used my privileges. –  alexanderpas Dec 14 '10 at 18:01
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Let 20K users spend up to two of their close votes on a single question.

You could scale it by letting them cast an additional vote to close on a single question for every 20K or 40K the user has. By the time they are 100K (or 200K), they can spend 5 votes on one question and close it themselves.

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8  
+1. This would be great for questions that don't get enough visibility but require closing. However, I don't think that a non-diamond should be able to close a question in one fell swoop. Even 100k users can get it wrong. –  Andy E Nov 12 '10 at 9:34
17  
Start at 20K, and double it for each additional vote? 2 at 20K, 3 at 40K, 4 at 80K, and stop it there? –  Joel Coehoorn Nov 12 '10 at 15:47
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As an added benefit, old questions with 2 or 3 close votes have a much better chance of being seen on the 10k tools. –  Gnome Nov 12 '10 at 17:28
9  
This could indeed be useful. I've almost given up voting to close all of the duplicates I find regularly because you can't get the attention of others unless you get above the 2-3 vote threshold to appear in the moderator tools. –  Brad Larson Nov 12 '10 at 20:40
3  
@Dra I agree: With powers like these, you are not going to "just abuse them"---you are going to massively abuse them! I can already see the mafias forming up around big-point honchos. –  Mark C Nov 19 '10 at 23:09
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Merging posts would be useful.

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1  
We even have history for merging. It's not very common to need (at least in new sites), but this is something I think we could safely delegate to normal users once they hit 20k. –  Grace Note Nov 11 '10 at 22:32
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@Grace Note: But un-merging is quite difficult, so I think I'd be cautious. –  mmyers Nov 12 '10 at 0:08
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@MichaelMyers ~ If unmerging is difficult, build in a new type of vote for that process too, but only open to 20k and up? –  jcolebrand Nov 12 '10 at 1:04
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Perhaps "participate in merge process". But this sounds like lots of work for everybody involved –  waffles Nov 12 '10 at 7:43
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Maybe the ability to turn answers into comments and comments into answers.

This can be combined with vote for delete answers. (Migrate to comment option).

Update: Converting answers into comments is now implemented for moderators.

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This would be more of a trophy than an ability to moderate the site, but....

Vanity URLs for the person. So for example, stackoverflow.com/KyleBrandt

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7  
What if, eventually, there are two 20k+ users having the same name? –  KennyTM Nov 13 '10 at 8:59
4  
@Kenny Have user pick vanity link; first wins (which encourages people to get there faster) -- it works for Flickr, after all. –  Rowland Shaw Nov 13 '10 at 15:43
18  
It might be worth having vanity email forwarding too, if the user opts to turn it on (so kyle.brandt@serverfault.com etc. This could also be useful for moderators so that if they have to email a user, they don't have to reveal a real email address (which may have a whois with real personal information) –  Rowland Shaw Nov 13 '10 at 15:46
20  
I'm taking stackoverflow.com/jonskeet before he sees this discussion. –  Aarobot Nov 14 '10 at 15:35
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I like this idea, but I think it's unlikely to be implemented for the same reason as similar prior suggestions: it conflicts with a careers feature. –  Joel Coehoorn Nov 17 '10 at 20:46
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Allows users with 20K on one site to have full privileges for everything except vote to close and vote to delete across all stack exchange sites on which they have at least 200 rep (100 for account association plus 100 earned locally).

Why? Certain skills are valid on all sites. Earning 20K rep anywhere shows that you understand on some level what makes a good question/answer and that you know how the general system works; you ought to be able to make good edits and flags at a new site right away. For tagging, you may not know aperture from f-stop on the photography site, but you'd know that '4.0' or '2010' probably aren't good tags anywhere, and you'd know how to fix them when you saw them.

The reason to hold back vote-to-open/close and vote-to-delete is that it takes a lot more involvement within each specific community to understand what's on-topic for that community.

This would have the pleasant side effect of helping seed new communities with privileged users faster as well.

As a side note, while I think this is a great idea, perhaps it's something to save for the 50K milestone.

An alternative that scales would be to divide rep requirements in half every time you double your rep at 20K and beyond.

Another alternative is to award an additional 100 rep for account association for each site on which you have at least 20K rep. This would encourage participation on more sites and help give 20K users an additional leg up on new sites without giving away the farm. So if you're 20K one one site and you associate your account to a new site, you get the base 100 for account association plus another 100 reward because you've earned 20K once: 200 total. If you're 20K on two sites, 300 total. The advantage here is that you wouldn't have to change the privilege calculation algorithm anywhere.

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2  
I likes this. The biggest counter-argument would be the vote to close privilege. That taken away, this might even be something for the 10k range IMO –  Pëkka Dec 6 '10 at 21:38
8  
A community should be policed by subject matter experts, not simply those who have some experience moderating a site. –  Adam Davis Jan 7 '11 at 18:58
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@Pollyana - that's why the suggestion holds back those abilities that actually involve 'policing'. –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 7 '11 at 19:14
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No! Different sites are growing different cultures, and all the Stack Exchange sites are qualitatively smaller than SO with different needs. –  Reid Jan 28 '11 at 2:26
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At least getting the passive privileges would be nice. Such as split-votes, view close-votes, view deleted answers,... –  CodesInChaos Feb 7 '12 at 17:41
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Remove the rate-limiting on comments.

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3  
Never remove a rate limit! loosening it however is perfectly acceptable. –  alexanderpas Nov 12 '10 at 2:12
62  
At least remove the "you need to wait 15 seconds and you only waited 14 -- timer reset. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" –  Michael Mrozek Nov 12 '10 at 6:58
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Yeah. This would ideally be in addition to some more meaningful change, but I would certainly appreciate it anyway. –  mmyers Nov 12 '10 at 14:24
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+100, this is the worst bug-by-design in Stack Overflow –  Lance Roberts Nov 14 '10 at 8:35
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With 1500 rep you can edit tag wikis if you have 100 upvotes or are in the top 20 of the tag.

You could lower this threshold by increasing rep above 20k. Eventually eliminating it altogether.

Other wikis (for example the privilege wiki) can be made accessible too.

The ability to edit any tag wiki was given to 20k users on Feb. 9. 2011. The old tag wiki editor requirements are no longer in effect.

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6  
While I would trust 20k users with this, I'm not sure how useful it would be. Presumably they won't use it much because they're not experts in the tags in question. So I would expect grammar, speling (sic), and usage edits, but not much else. Not a bad thing, but really just another chore. –  dmckee Nov 12 '10 at 1:46
10  
Over in p.se someone used [monitor] when there was [screen]. I was unable to set up the synonym because I had no rep in those tags. I think there is a level of rep where you can be trusted not to attempt things you don't know enough to do - eg I can decide yes on monitor/screen and "leave it alone" on some detailed tech I don't know. –  Kate Gregory Nov 14 '10 at 11:37
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From Are the hottest questions necessarily the right ones to feature?:

Perhaps the featured questions should be hand-picked from among the hottest questions?

We could empower 20k users to cast votes for featured questions.


I want to address the question of "How strong would this be?". The existing formula is documented as:

(log(Qviews)*4) + ((Qanswers * Qscore)/5) + sum(Ascores)  
--------------------------------------------------------  
((Qage+1) - ((Qage - Qupdated)/2)) ^ 1.5

I propose something like

(log(Qviews)*4) + ((Qanswers * Qscore)/5 + Qvotes) + sum(Ascores)
------------------------------------------------------------------
((Qage+1) - ((Qage - Qupdated)/2)) ^ 1.5

where votes age out after a time like those to close, reopen, delete, etc. Perhaps 24 hours is a good time constant.

Any way, the point is that this would be the power to nudge question up, not the unilateral power to install them on the featured list.

I don't have a really good answer to Georg's comment, except that I think the existing system already has that problem and that this will not exacerbate it by much.

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11  
That would be bad news for obscure tags that don't have many high-rep users. –  Georg Schölly Nov 12 '10 at 17:51
1  
@Georg: Presumably you believe there are more high rep users who concentrate on popular tags that low traffic ones. That's reasonable, and I agree. But I think that it is not the same as "very high rep users don't read questions in obsucre tags". I have to presume that high rep users are not going to vote to highlight every new instance of "Why is my c++ struct bigger than it's parts?", but rather questions that they find enlightening. And where are they likely to be enlightened? In there strong subjects or there less strong one? –  dmckee Nov 15 '10 at 15:54
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No more robot verification!

and/or

The ability to grafitit unicorns over any question they want to

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6  
Somebody suggested a "vote to cornify this question" button last year, I think. –  mmyers Nov 12 '10 at 14:17
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+1, but obviously just for the robot bit. –  MPelletier Nov 19 '10 at 18:26
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+1, but obviously just the graffiti bit. –  Oak Dec 14 '10 at 18:13
1  
Until someone hijacks a high rep user's account in a coffee shop using cookie hijacking, and then posts thousands of "answers" in a few minutes... –  Adam Davis Jan 7 '11 at 18:59
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Ability to delete comments. Not really clever but I think comments could use a good scrubbing now and again.

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8  
Random fact: One out of every eight comments is a "Thank you". –  sth Nov 12 '10 at 1:16
6  
@sth But not necessarily only thanking them; hopefully many of those are along the lines of "Thanks, but (useful comment starts here)" –  Michael Mrozek Nov 12 '10 at 7:10
9  
Human communication does not only consist of the exchange of information: phatic communication is important too. –  Gareth Rees Nov 12 '10 at 11:48
9  
@sth Thank you, those stats are really useful. –  Daniel Daranas Nov 12 '10 at 14:08
4  
I don't know how many of you were around in the early days of SO, so I'll point out here that this used to be possible for (I think) 4k+ rep users. But then it was abused and the privilege had to be removed. –  mmyers Nov 12 '10 at 14:12
4  
I just flag meaningless comments as noise. If enough people did that, I think we'd have a lot less of those comments. –  Georg Schölly Nov 12 '10 at 17:50
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Remove the 2 day limit on voting to delete closed questions.

20K users should have enough about them to know when a question should be deleted rather than leaving it closed.

Obviously still have the 3 non-moderator delete votes requirement.


EDIT by waffles

This is now implemented for all 20k users.

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8  
Even questions that are of no use to the site should have time for the OP to read comments (and answers) and possibly ask (in comments) if they don't understand or want advice on how/where to ask. If you want to remove the 2 day limit before voting, okay, but not the 2 day limit before the question is actually deleted. –  Gnome Nov 12 '10 at 17:29
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No really useful per se, but it'd be nice to get access to the site usage statistics available to moderators, view suspicious vote patterns, etc

This can even have a higher rep requirement if you will.

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4  
For a start, I'd like to view my own usage statistics... :( –  Ether Feb 23 '11 at 17:25
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Timers should not apply to 20K users. Or even stop them at 5K.

Or, as in the question, scale them depending on rep e.g. 5K has a four second comment vote counter, 10K three seconds, etc.

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The ability to temporarily lock questions from being edited, to prevent ridiculous edit wars like this one. 3 votes from 20k+ users locks the post for a day or so. Perhaps when voting to lock, pick an edit to rollback and lock to?

This would be a nice filler before a moderator notices what's going on and locks it permanently.


Aarobot has a good way of looking at it, "stop the presses until a moderator looks at it" - throws unlocking out of the window but it would be a great way of halting abuse until a moderator arrives.

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3  
Then we could have a lock/unlock war before we get on to the edit war :) –  user27414 Nov 12 '10 at 13:31
3  
I like this, and I'd like to see it expanded to a full (but temporary) lock, which could also be used to halt close/reopen wars. Have the timer set to a few hours, and if a moderator doesn't choose to permanently lock it (or decides to prematurely unlock it) then it cannot be locked again by the 20ks. In other words, this is basically a means to stop the presses until a diamond mod can look at it. –  Aarobot Nov 12 '10 at 16:51
1  
Re: Edit - it does preclude "vote-to-unlock" and I think that's actually a good thing. These wars happen because people get too emotionally invested in the question/answer; thus the rationale is to take attention away from the post and give everybody a chance to cool off. Presumably this would also kick off an automatic moderator flag so that it's easy for a mod to cancel it in the case of abuse. But even if a diamond mod doesn't step in, the cooling-off period would be beneficial. –  Aarobot Nov 12 '10 at 17:10
1  
This could also be handled by automatically locking any post (just for a day, as here) with X edits in N minutes. I don't remember many false positives for X=10, N=60 (but that would include "quickly accidentally wiki'd questions"), but it would cover this case, the "bomb effing USA" troll, and several others. –  Gnome Nov 12 '10 at 17:23
1  
Request'd. –  Gnome Nov 13 '10 at 5:54
1  
+1, giving them the ability to lock and protect posts would really be helpful. –  Tim Post Feb 8 '11 at 19:47
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Allow 20k+ users initiate a rep-recalc for user?

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6  
obsolete now that anyone can do this on their own meta.stackexchange.com/questions/14200/… –  yhw42 Dec 22 '10 at 0:28
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I'm not sure it's worth looking for privileges to grant, personally.

By the time someone's reached 20K, I'd hope they're really doing it for the love of knowledge-sharing rather than for some sort of reward - so I don't think it's needed as a "hook". I suspect you're thinking of it more as a way of giving back to regular users, but frankly the site is its own reward IMO.

I think user powers should be granted according to what the site needs, and according to who is in a best position to fulfil those needs.

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4  
I did notice a lull after the 10k point for quite a few users. So another "hook" may be a good idea. –  waffles Nov 12 '10 at 7:35
7  
I was thinking more of giving out more powers -- and "with great power comes great responsibility". I figure users with 20k+ have earned more of everyone's trust. –  Jeff Atwood Nov 12 '10 at 7:55
4  
When you have as many users above 20k as SO has (which correlates to the number of users total), it might be worth giving them some additional privileges to reduce moderator load — and I think that should be the goal of any of these privileges. So, I agree with you in essence, but also see rep as a decent automatic judge of who is in a good position to fulfill those needs. –  Gnome Nov 12 '10 at 17:18
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The ability to put questions/answers on hold for a certain amount of time (maybe 30-60 minutes, that would be subject to balance).

A question/answer that is on hold can not be seen by anyone except the on who posted it and other 20k+ users.

A user can put a question/answer on hold to give the asker/answerer a chance to fix it before the closing/downvoting starts, or worse, a wrong answer gets accepted or upvoted. That means putting a question/answer on hold should always be done with a comment indicating what should be improved (fix formatting, provide information, provide links, etc.). If the question is fixed, a privileged user can take it off hold again.

The intention here is, to reduce noise, and to enforce that people actually think before they post. I think if someone is new to the site and experiences this once, he might actually learn more than if his question just gets closed.

Second Idea: Lower rep users can flag posts for language problems. A privileged user that speaks the native language of the poster can put the post on hold, discuss problems in the native language of the poster and help translate. This would of course require some kind of language property in the profile.

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Reset (or decrease) spam/offensive flags.

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2  
we're doing some advanced work on chat flags at the moment and we expect this will be backported to the core engine –  Jeff Atwood Nov 11 '10 at 22:25
1  
@Jeff - VERY glad to hear it! –  user27414 Nov 11 '10 at 22:25
10  
Would also be nice to be able to vote against a close before a Q is closed. –  Richard Nov 12 '10 at 10:58
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Add "flagged comments" to the moderator tools.

(Frankly, this is probably fine for 10K)

Update: This is now implemented in the 10k tools.

Update #2: This has been removed from 10k tools again, see: Feedback on tools/flagged changes

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Allow users with 20K+ reputation points to see other users' deleted answers.

Why? So that when a user complains on Meta about getting blocked by the bad content mechanism, the entirety of 20k+ users can review the decision, and raise a flag if the blocking looks doubtful.

It's not that I distrust the team to do the right thing in blocking persistently bad question askers - not at all. I think this is the best new feature in all of SO's history. But it's an automated algorithm, and there is always the possibility of unfair blockings, or (very rarely) unjustified downvotings that lead to a blocking.

Making deleted questions visible would allow a part of the community to quality control the process. Plus I'm pretty sure people who reach 20k have become so tired of shitty questions, they are unlikely to raise hell for blocked users unless in cases where it's clear that the ruling was really, really unfair.

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3  
It's useful in general too, to see if a user with a flagged post has a history of that sort of thing so you can mod flag it –  Michael Mrozek Dec 6 '10 at 21:08
1  
@Ether deleted posts can currently be viewed only if you know the URL. The proposal is to make them visible in the user's history to 20k+ers –  Pëkka Feb 23 '11 at 17:54
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is now implemented with at least two new privilege levels:

  • 15k allows users to protect questions

  • 20k allows users to make edits to tag wikis without going through peer review of any kind, and also to cast delete votes against negatively voted answers. Also they can cast delete votes against a closed question regardless of its age.

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The ability to cornify the avatar of annoying users for 24 hours.

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14  
This would only encourage users to be annoying –  jmfsg Nov 12 '10 at 16:19
4  
Avatar cornification should be a reward! –  sth Nov 13 '10 at 4:04
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add a new and useful privilege that gives people actual power to effect more change on the site

When I try to think of new abilities that fit this requirement, I start by looking for things that I think are broken in some way on Stack Overflow. And, really, not much is right now. However, there are three areas that I think could use some improvement: tagging, attention for old 'open' questions, and better handling of off-topic questions.

I'm not sure any of those could be helped with new abilities for individual users without an extensive addition to the user interface to support it (with the possible exception of perhaps making it easier for 20K users to close questions).

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@Jeff - Right now there's lots of fail around closing Qs. Too many questions slip by, it can take a long time sometimes to close a question, and users get confused and mad because they don't understand things like 'subjective' and why other similar questions are open, or mostly they just don't like that their question was closed. Also, the simple truth is that when a new user's question is closed for any reason (even legitimate ones), it leaves them with a horrible experience on the site. Over time this could drive users elsewhere. A new 20k power might help close more Qs, but that's it. –  Joel Coehoorn Nov 12 '10 at 15:46
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@joel Honestly? I don't really care if question askers have a terrible experience. These users are insignificant relative to the importance of question answerers who do all the work in our system. In many ways the question askers are the least important users in our system, and often harmful users. –  Jeff Atwood Nov 12 '10 at 21:21
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@Jeff - The questions are where it all starts. If you want to think of answerers as your main audience, then question askers are the source of the content you serve to them. Also, I don't think you have many answerers who weren't at one time primarily askers. –  Joel Coehoorn Nov 12 '10 at 21:24
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@joel there are a million people with a million questions. Each one thinks they are a unique snowflake. They are not. Whatever question they have, someone else will have and ask. What is unique and precious, is people who have the answers and are willing to share them. Common Q&A system fallacy that has destroyed many a system, so I'm happy for our competitors to keep thinking question askers are important. –  Jeff Atwood Nov 12 '10 at 21:36
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that said I am happy to make closing better but only to protect answerers. If askers are sad that their questions are closed, well, my advice to them is to stop sucking and be awesome instead. :) –  Jeff Atwood Nov 12 '10 at 21:42
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A real idea:

The ability to propose tag synonyms that are instantly accepted - with the extra condition that you need to have over 50 votes in the original tag already.

A silly idea:

The ability to change your display name at any time.

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No matter how much reputation I have, given the possibility, I'd abuse the name changing to the infinity and beyond. –  jmfsg Nov 24 '10 at 18:45
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Allow the gifting of reputation for exceptional questions/answers up to double what the current received rep for that question/answer is. Make it so you can gift, e.g., 5% of what you have above 20k per day, and give the user that received the gift a "gifted" badge.

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And the one who gifts gets the "Santa" badge. :) –  yhw42 Dec 6 '10 at 21:48
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This is possible to do with the bounty system (under other name and UI). –  Paŭlo Ebermann Jul 6 '11 at 18:15
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protected by Jon Seigel Feb 12 '11 at 23:03

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