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I can speak for the situation on GameDev.SE, where we have few active over 3k rep members doing maintenance work. There are lower rep members who would do it though.

I think the 3k rep limit for closing votes and reviewing everything is way too high. You don't need to be a great question asker or answerer to actually be able to keep the place clean. As a user on GD.SE what I do mostly is maintenance (reviewing), and not answering. My reputation is at 1,314 and as it stands right now, the only way for me to get to review other parts of the site would be to go on a reputation hunt. Which feels artificial and hard to achieve at the same time.

Any chance for the rep limits to be lowered?

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    I would definately be one of those under 3k rep users, who would either have to go on a rep hunt or just stay where I am forever. More users reviewing would help a ton, in my opinion – Pip Jan 24 '14 at 22:54
  • The problem with this is that 1k rep on GameDev is NOT the same as 1k rep, say, on SO, since GameDev doesn't get as much traffic, and it takes FOREVER to get the same amount of rep on GameDev that you can get in a few hours on SO. – Pip Jan 24 '14 at 23:09
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    If this was to be done on SO or any site with review audits, I'd like to see this put into place first: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/214541/… to avoid a flood of new reviewers trying to game badges all at once and letting garbage through in the process. – Brad Larson Jan 24 '14 at 23:30
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    You don't need to be a great question asker or answerer to actually be able to keep the place clean - as a low-rep user, I agree. – Trojan Jan 25 '14 at 1:19
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I think the 3k rep limit for closing votes and reviewing everything is way too high

I'm starting to think it's too low. If you haven't spent serious time using the tools available to you, putting you in a situation where you're expected to use them expertly is a bit naive. Review was supposed to provide guidance and education for the folks picking up these tools, but I'm not sure we really hit the mark there - in particular, recent discussions surrounding close reasons on Stack Overflow have tended to involve entirely too many people with not a lot of answers to their name but very strong opinions about what other people should be answering - this is, quite frankly, crap.

You earn moderation privileges by doing things that demonstrate an understanding of the site. That can involve editing, asking questions, and of course answering - they're all important, but the relative amounts of reputation granted for those three things should tell you at a glance which ones you should probably focus on first.

Once you've gained enough experience doing stuff that helps build the site, you'll be much better equipped to help the rest of the folks keep the place swept and clean.

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    Sounds a bit like an argument in favor of different thresholds for different sites - with SO being the one that needs the highest threshold. – Mysticial Jan 24 '14 at 23:59
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    However, there is nothing in place for us flaggers (yes, I have probably have flagged 500 questions for closing) who flag a lot of questions, but aren't a 3K user yet. – hichris123 Jan 25 '14 at 0:00
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    The only issue is, cleaning requires knowledge of the website's rules, and gaining amounts of reputation requires knowledge of the subjects discussed on the website. You don't have to know how to answer question X to tell it is actually fit for the website. – user230705 Jan 25 '14 at 0:01
  • @Mysticial I totally agree. I think the amount of traffic, and the amount of people that already have this privilege, need to be factored in somehow, even if only minorly. – Pip Jan 25 '14 at 0:01
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    What you imply but don't mention is that the closing privilege defines the scope of the site. If a community decides that something is off-topic then it is, no matter what anyone says. The lower the rep the looser the definition of off-topic will be, solely because the time spent on the site will be less. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not something to be granted lightly. – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 25 '14 at 0:07
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    Actually, in many cases, you do @Alex. – Shog9 Jan 25 '14 at 0:12
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    That's definitely part of the problem, @ben. I've told this story before, but one of the reasons why I came to SO in the first place was disgust with the growing cliquish attitude on a different forum - mostly from relatively new users themselves - who preferred to spend more time berating new users than actually answering questions. They claimed they were "protecting" the community, but I watched more experienced programmers leave or curtail their contributions due to this poisonous environment than from the actual crap being asked. – Shog9 Jan 25 '14 at 0:16
  • Many sounds pretty exaggerated to me, and I am sure there are many who would agree. – user230705 Jan 25 '14 at 0:19
  • I am unsure how other sites are, but I've been reviewing things on gamedev.se for ~1 year. I never met a question or an answer that I wasn't able to review properly, even though I didn't have the actual hands-on experience to answer them. – user230705 Jan 25 '14 at 0:23
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    You don't have to take my word for it, @Alex. Step far enough outside of your comfort zone, pick a site where you know nothing about the topic - not even the most basic terminology - and start going through questions. Blatantly off-topic spam is pretty easy to recognize everywhere; it gets progressively more difficult from there on in. – Shog9 Jan 25 '14 at 0:23
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    I never said a complete lack of knowledge would not hinder your reviewing process. Actually, I agree, it would make it impossible in some situations. But how is this an argument against lowering the rep tiers? If you actually get 1k rep on a website about a particular topic, it shows that you have at least some knowledge of the topic. – user230705 Jan 25 '14 at 0:25
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    I'm not saying that you - or even lots of other people with low amounts reputation - couldn't do this effectively. I'm saying that there are a lot of people who can't, and the way we try to avoid problems here is to require folks to earn a certain level of trust first. If you're not willing to do that, that sucks - but there are others who aren't able to do that, and handing them powerful tools would be a mistake. – Shog9 Jan 25 '14 at 0:27
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    Yet, those that submit flags earn no reputation for their efforts, so perhaps it's not just about reputation. There are a number of individuals that are below 3K rep, yet have earned the Marshal Badge and the Deputy Badge. I'm confident that many of those individuals may succeed at this review process. Maybe they could be included, but at a lower amount of close votes per day? Cheers. – Anil Natha Jan 25 '14 at 3:22
  • I agree with your answer now. – user230705 Apr 15 '15 at 16:46
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I think lower reputation requirements could be useful. It allows more people to be involved in deciding the direction of the site. Gives people a sense of ownership and hopefully encourage growth since privileges are more attainable.

However, I'd suggest they be lowered based on the number of days visited, helpful flags, accepted edits and good reviews. This makes those privileges more available to users who clearly have an interest in the topic of the site, but are perhaps not sure enough to answer or don't have any questions that aren't asked already. Those users would know how things work on the site, what kind of questions are on topic, and which ones aren't.

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    Based on the number of days visited sounds good. Perhaps also based on existing helpful flags and reviews. – user230705 Jan 25 '14 at 0:05
  • @AlexM. Added, good idea. – MichaelHouse Jan 25 '14 at 0:11
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I don't necessarily agree that lowering the reputation requirement would be desirable or useful (on GDSE or anywhere else in a similar traffic-disproportion situation).

Any StackExchange site is built by questions and answers. They're the most important aspect of the site. Second to questions and answers is the visibility of the site outside the network (to draw in new users, neophyte and experienced both, to contribute to the Q&A feedback loop).

Reviewing the queues is an important aspect of maintaining a site and to an extent shaping it, but I would argue that if one is really interested in growing an SE site, one has access to all the tools they need to contribute most effectively almost right away:

  • You can flag questions at 15 reputation. This is more than low enough, since you exceed that simply from the inter-site linking bonus.
  • You can answer questions at 1 reputation.
  • You can always promote the site externally via Twitter or whatever other organic reach you may have (word of mouth, IRC channels, talking about how you found a great answer to a problem with co-workers).

Further, I do agree with Shog's point that using the site is the best way to learn how to effectively deal with the review queues. Building the experience of answering (or attempting to answer) questions can help build one's background for why certain review decisions should be made. Why this should be closed as too broad but that is just borderline enough to stick around, et cetera.

For GDSE specifically, what the site needs now is more good answers (and more good questions). It does not need more close votes. Certainly it would be very nice to have more users who can review so we need to make fewer unilateral moderator decisions, but I don't think it's so big a problem as to warrant a change in the software; I feel like that would be treating the symptom and not the disease.

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