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I've only recently understood what the percentage figures on the All Privileges page mean and was confused about them until now. This aspect could use further clarification on that page.

I used to think it reflected what percentage of the total user base had each given privilege, either currently or as a hard limit (i.e. a fixed percentage always had a specific privilege and the points required changed over time). The latter obviously makes a lot less sense than the former. Now I finally understand what it actually means: You personally are this far towards having this privilege yourself.

Perhaps the phrase 'completion percentage' can be used at the bottom of the sidebar on that page? Especially with the broadening scope of the Stack Exchange network, this aspect should be explained a little more obviously.

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As always on these sites: when in doubt, hover your mouse over the text for more detail. But then, of course, one must know one is in doubt... :-) –  Arjan Dec 24 '10 at 9:36
It didn't even occur to me to try that, whether I knew I was in doubt or not. That's too hidden a feature to be of help for most users, especially given the broadening of the subject matter using this engine. Of course, you may argue that it doesn't really make a difference if you know what the number means anyway, since you're no further from having a privilege if you know it or not. –  Joost Schuur Dec 24 '10 at 9:48
I suddenly wonder how people get to that page. If it is when some new feature has been unlocked, then things may be much more clear (especially if the topbar message might give some hint). But when accidentally clicking one's own reputation instead of one's own name (and not awaiting its tooltip) then this might be more confusing indeed. Still then, following Click on any privilege to learn more about it makes things clear in the end, for the curious. –  Arjan Dec 24 '10 at 10:53
I only recently found out about it myself, probably by miss-clicking my account name link, but when you click on the individual privilege, it's still not as clear as it could be. Right now, I have a 161 score on meta, and clicking on 'access to moderator tools', listed at 1% shows it needs a score of 10,000. Considering odd numbers and rounding involved, the correlation isn't immediately clear. –  Joost Schuur Dec 24 '10 at 11:19
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2 Answers

I just gained my first privileges moments ago, so I have some recent experience with this :) I found the percentages page by following the link in the alert message about my new privileges. When I first saw the list, I had the same confusion, but since I had just been told that I had gained 4 new privileges, and there were around that many marked "100%" while most of the others were "0%", it was pretty obvious that they must indicate my progress, rather than the user base.

Of course if you come to Meta with more rep. (from another stack site), then you don't get the benefit of this perspective :) And in any case, adding some explanation will only make it more clear, right?

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In addition to being confusing, they're rounded down! Very pessimistic attitude towards life in general :)

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