Why cannot a user below 1000 reputation points have an expanded usercard?

I'm aware of what is mentioned on Privileges page. It says only an Established User can make his/her expanded usercard available to others i.e. a user can see a expanded usercard of all the established users but the latter can't see such of a <1000 rep user.

What's the point you want to make?

I couldn't understand why this expanded usercard is considered a privilege at all!

To my understanding, a privilege granted to a user is something that has the potential to affect this website, viz comments, chat, meta, up/down-vote, post Q/A, bounty, edit, (close, open, delete) a question, etc. All of them makes sense to be granted as a privilege since otherwise, the chances of abuse are high by an inexperienced user.

But how come an expanded usercard fits this definition? It certainly (whether it is available or not) doesn't affect the quality/quantity of the content on this website at all.

IMO it should be available to everyone.

Did you do Google?

I found this link on blog.stackoverflow.com (by Jeff Atwood):

We treat the expanding user card as a bit of a privilege, so you must have 1,000 or more reputation for it to appear. Any user with less than 1k rep will not have a user card hover by definition. And, of course, there has to be a reasonably complete user profile, otherwise there’s nothing to show!

The reasoning for having an expanded usercard is given as:

I belatedly realized we weren’t making it easy to discover information about the smart people answering all those questions. Sure, we show the basics (reputation, name, badges) in the default User Card that every post is “signed” with — but that gives you the barest of context into the person answering, or their professional background in the topic.

To rectify that, we now have improved User Cards that expand when you hover over the avatar, displaying location, key links, and an excerpt of the “About Me” field:

So now you can quickly discover a bit more about the human being who wrote that post — without needing to click all the way through to their user page.


There are some other subtle ways we try to keep this user card hover useful, such as prioritizing any “identity” links like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, etcetera — and you can override the excerpt for total control of what displays on your expanded User Card. See our meta post for more detail.

I can fathom what good the expanded usercard serves, but nowhere Jeff mentioned the proper reasoning for making this as a privilege.

Is there something inherently missing/wrong in my definition of privileges, or does there exist no strong reason for having the said feature as a privilege?


3 Answers 3


To my understanding, a privilege granted to a user is something that has the potential to affect this website [...]

Often, yes. But it doesn't have to be. A "privilege" in the context of our sites is simply something you unlock - a feature, like the expanded user card, fits that definition.

The expanded user card is simply a perk, a reward given to someone for reaching 1000 reputation (along with the ability to see vote counts and create read-only chat rooms).


It's true that the expanded usercard is different from other privileges in that it's not an extra ability. But it still serves purpose as an unlockable achievement. It's nice to occasionally "win" something that doesn't carry an (implicit or imagined) obligation of doing something extra, like the ability to cast close votes does.

Rather than remove this unlockable, we should add more of them... at least, according to Jon Ericson:

I'm looking for unlockables that could be spread around reputation levels like tapas dishes.


Another possible reason is that the about info of low rep users might sometimes be SPAM. (I don't have data to back this claim, it's just an assumption).

  • 3
    Good point, but if you can elaborate on this, adding examples and link to existing discussions about it, it will really improve this answer. Commented May 25, 2015 at 10:28
  • No need to delete, just saying that in its current state the answer is "OK", while it can be edited to shape, making it "Good". :) Commented May 25, 2015 at 10:52
  • That may be true (regardless of any data to back this claim). However, could you explain how having SPAM in the info of a user will have any impact on the website? Hovering over the avatar of this spammer is optional by any other user, and since the SPAM isn't visible anywhere on the website (other than deliberately hovering or vising the spammer's profile), I see no reason why should it be restricted for <1000 rep users.
    – 286110
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 11:08
  • 1
    @Firelord That's not really how it works logically. You need a reason to do something; not doing is the default state. Why should SE help users with minimal contribution advertise themselves? It's a reward.
    – user154510
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 13:00
  • @MatthewRead IMO you actually posted an answer as a comment, though brief it is. Your comment used in the context of the reasoning by Jeff answers the question well. Thanks! Could you please post it as an answer, or did you avoid it by posting it as a comment?
    – 286110
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 14:09
  • 1
    @Firelord I think Anna is basically saying the same thing in her answer.
    – user154510
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:41
  • @MatthewRead I already upvoted it because she gave an alternate definition of what SE considers a "privilege". However, it wasn't enough to answer my question since it was a very generalized answer to me. Your comment about SE helping established users to advertise more easily via this privilege does the job here. Anyhow, if you don't want to answer explicitly then fine by me.
    – 286110
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:48

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