Every so often, a new question is asked by someone inquiring why their rep didn't go up, even though it should. These are (nearly) always closed as a duplicate of the FAQ entry, "How does 'Reputation' work?". Either users aren't reading the FAQ, or they do, but don't read it all because of how massive it is. I think we should notify users the first time they hit the rep cap. Maybe a simple Stack Exchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™ notification?

As discussed in the comments, the wording of the Mortarboard badge can also be confusing to new users (emphasis mine):

Earned at least 200 reputation in a single day.

While it is possible to earn more than 200 reputation in a day, the wording can be misleading and make someone unaware of the rep cap think they can get 200 reputation from votes. The wording doesn't have any mention of the rep cap.

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    There's a badge (Mortarboard) for hitting the cap for the first time, so they'll get a system notification for that. Adding a link to the existing FAQ entry about the rep cap on the bounty description page could be enough. – Servy Aug 14 '13 at 20:48
  • @Servy yep, Mortarboard. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Aug 14 '13 at 20:49
  • @ShaWizDowArd Beat you by a few seconds with my edit ;) – Servy Aug 14 '13 at 20:50
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    Well, it just says you earned 200 reputation. It doesn't say daily reputation gain is capped at 200. – Old Checkmark Aug 14 '13 at 20:50
  • @OldCheckmark See edit. – Servy Aug 14 '13 at 20:51
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    @OldCheckmark that's kindof what I'm getting at. All the user knows is that they got 200 rep in a day. It doesn't mention anywhere but the FAQ that the cap is 200. – Cole Johnson Aug 14 '13 at 20:52
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    It says "Earned at least 200 reputation in a single day." The way that reads to me is it is possible to earn more then 200 rep in a day. – Joe W Aug 14 '13 at 20:53
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    @JoeW It is possible, with accept and bounty rep (which is why that wording exists at all), but I agree that the wording is quite misleading to a new user. – apsillers Aug 14 '13 at 20:55
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    @apsillers Yes, it is possible to earn more then 200 rep in a day but the issue is that the 200 rep cap from upvotes isn't easy to spot if you don't know about it. – Joe W Aug 14 '13 at 20:58
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    Maybe we should change it to "Hit the reputation cap" (with the link)? – Cole Johnson Aug 14 '13 at 21:03
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    Who's idea was it to call the Stack Exchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™ a button?? I'm outraged. – Robert Harvey Aug 14 '13 at 21:30
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    @ColeJohnson - It is possible to hit 200 reputation and get the mortar board badge without hitting the cap though. So linking the two things isn't always correct. – Martin Smith Aug 14 '13 at 21:42
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    @ColeJohnson - My point is that the two things are not coupled at all. You can get the mortarboard badge an indeterminate length of time before hitting the rep cap. So trying to solve it by rewording the mortarboard is the wrong approach. – Martin Smith Aug 14 '13 at 21:56
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    @ColeJohnson [to-keep-people-from-making-absurdly-long-tags] The tag should really just be multicollider – Robert Harvey Aug 14 '13 at 22:09
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    @RobertHarvey there should be an exception for cases like this. Like give moderators the ability to create tags with more than 25 characters, but anyone can use them. – Cole Johnson Aug 16 '13 at 9:45

We changed the Mortarboard badge description to:

Earned at least 200 reputation (the daily maximum) in a single day.

The description links to the "What is reputation?" help page, which talks about the rep cap and what is exempt from it.

Hope this clears up some of the confusion!

  • Does this badge still get awarded end-of-day though? That might diminish the benefit of adding the link if there's a large gap between the point when the user stops receiving rep and the time they get notified of the badge. – Tim Stone Nov 19 '13 at 22:48
  • Yes. We didn't change the schedule for when the badge gets awarded; there might be a short period of confusion, but it's a trade off between temporary confusion (maybe - a lot of people probably aren't hanging out on the site watching rep that closely anyway) and double-notifying people. I'd really like to avoid sending duplicate notifications. Let's see what, if any, affect the description change has before talking about if we should do more? – Laura Nov 19 '13 at 22:53
  • I'm pretty sure a large portion of the people who ask about this are the few people who are compulsively watching their reputation. That said, I was mostly just making a side note since I don't think this is a very big issue to begin with, so playing it by ear seems entirely fine by me. – Tim Stone Nov 19 '13 at 23:35

I'd just add an entry in the reputation history on the user profile that says that you hit the reputation cap and links to some explanation. I don't think an explicit notification is necessary, but the information should be there if a user checks out their reputation history to figure out why they aren't gaining any more reputation.

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    That would work, but I highly doubt everyone checks their reputation history. – Cole Johnson Aug 14 '13 at 21:51
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    @ColeJohnson - People aggrieved that they are "missing" rep would. – Martin Smith Aug 14 '13 at 21:55
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    +1 yeah people who comes on Meta asking about the missing rep usually mention about their reputation history, so I see this to be a viable solution – Old Checkmark Aug 14 '13 at 22:19
  • @MartinSmith good point. Never thought of that. – Cole Johnson Aug 16 '13 at 9:47

Does anyone else remember that glorious gold banner that used to pop up whenever you got a new badge? I assume it was removed because it got a bit annoying for some of the power users (cough, Skeet, cough, Lippert).

I assume Nick and company still have the code for it lying around somewhere. Why not bring it back for select, important badges and notifications? If I understand Mortarboard correctly, it's no longer awarded for capping out your rep, just getting 200 total, so we couldn't just tie those together as some are suggesting.

So why not show the glorious gold banner when the user caps for the first time, and have it read

Congratulations, you have capped your reputation for the first time

Or something less hoaky, ideally.

  • They do use SVN don't they? The "rev" text at the bottom is wrapped in a div with an id of svnrev. – Cole Johnson Aug 14 '13 at 22:46
  • Point taken, but I sure hope they use something a little more pleasant than SVN :) – Adam Rackis Aug 14 '13 at 22:49
  • Like what? TeamFoundation? You have to be out of your mind to use that. Then there's git, but I don't see how that would be an advantage here considering they've been using svn. – Cole Johnson Aug 14 '13 at 23:24
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    @Cole - never used GIT. I used to use SVN, but my current job is on Mercurial. I don't think I can ever go back - it's just amazing. – Adam Rackis Aug 15 '13 at 0:23
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    I'm pretty sure the Stack Exchange folks use Mercurial, @Cole. At least for their main development work. They do one-off open source projects using a variety of VCS implementations. – Cody Gray Aug 16 '13 at 5:23
  • @CodyGray than why is the id for the div around the version named svnrev? – Cole Johnson Aug 16 '13 at 5:38
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    @Cole Probably because they used to use Subversion, and have since switched to Mercurial. That was years ago now, but you don't go around changing names, lest ye breaketh something all foolish-like. – Cody Gray Aug 16 '13 at 6:22
  • @CodyGray eh forget old software. If we supported old software, then why don't we support Internet Explorer? – Cole Johnson Aug 16 '13 at 9:46
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    I had nothing to do with it; for the most part I ignore the points and the badges and the UI around them. I honestly hadn't noticed there'd been a change. – Eric Lippert Aug 22 '13 at 23:08
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    You're a gentleman and a scholar, @Eric. I was sorry to see awhile back that you had left Microsoft. We need people like you working on C# 6 – Adam Rackis Aug 23 '13 at 2:41

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