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For example, on bitcoin.stackexchange.com and android.stackexchange.com and stackoverflow.com I have different reputation scores. This is very frustrating because I have no interest in wasting hours on several different websites just to perform the simplest of tasks.

Correct me if I am wrong, but "meta.stackexchange.com" seems to be where I should ask questions about stackexchange sites in general, right?

Before asking I first checked and found here an outline about how reputation works, but it didn't say anything about the different sites and I couldn't comment to ask for clarification there. I also checked similar questions such as this one which did say that reputation is not shared between Meta and Stack Overflow, but seemed to say that other Stack Exchange sites share reputation which simply does not happen and I can't find any explanation as to why. Even the help center isn't clear on this. On this page it explains how reputation is earned, but doesn't explain why every topic category needs its own reputation system.

Honestly, I could care less about reputation. It makes no difference to me. All I want to be able to do is ask questions, get answers, up or down vote, and comment as needed. IMHO, if a person can be trusted to do these simple tasks on one subdomain they should be allowed to do the same on all subdomains. A person doesn't need reputation in the thousands. A person only needs to prove that they are a real and rational person.

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3 Answers 3

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Each site is a different community - knowledge of bitcoin doesn't automatically mean knowledge of Android or cooking or chess or...

The reputation points you gain on any one community is a proxy to knowledge in that area and in how that community operates (different communities have different rules - some kinds of questions that are OK on one, are not on another) - as such it gives you access to the different tools that let you fully participate in that community, as someone who has shown they know the rules.

A person only needs to prove that they are a real and rational person.

Yes - we agree with that. This is why we give you an association bonus of 100 reputation points (enough to give you access to most basic actions on a site). This bonus is awarded on all the sites you are active on as soon as you get to 200 reputation points on one of them.

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  • Generally speaking, I am much more likely to ask and answer on other sites simply because there are less barriers there. While I understand that having knowledge in one area doesn't mean I have knowledge in others, very frequently when I go to answer a question I find that I can't, or I'll see a very good answer that was closed even though I found it very helpful and I can't even SAY anything about it. It's all around a very uncomfortable mechanic that just discourages new users. That association bonus makes more sense. I wish that was on the help pages.
    – Elliander
    Jul 10, 2015 at 17:43
  • Unfortunately, even though I'm the one who asked this question, I don't have enough "reputation" to even say if I think someone answer to my question is helpful or now. That part still makes no sense to me. I can be trusted to pick a best answer, but I can't be trusted to give feedback about answers in general?
    – Elliander
    Jul 10, 2015 at 17:46
  • Well, we see the accept to mean "this was the most helpful answer for me". The community votes are the community endorsement for a post.
    – Oded
    Jul 10, 2015 at 17:53
  • Sorry @Oded, but I think the "The reputation points you gain on any one community is a proxy to knowledge in that area" is misleading: a user with 0 questions and 0 answers on "a" site, with 500 accepted edits (and 100 association bonus), has about 1100 rep. Even though the user may not have a clue about the topics on that site ... but does have access to eg the first/late posts review queues ... Sep 7, 2018 at 18:52
  • Someone who can make 500 reasonable edits to the posts on a site clearly knows at least the basics of that subject, in order to have first understood the problems in each post and then how to appropriately correct them. Treating that rep as a proxy for topic knowledge is not unreasonable at all, especially when that would be the highest they can go on edits only and it's not that high an amount on any significantly-sized site.
    – Nij
    Aug 23, 2019 at 9:22
  • @Nij, the edits could simply be for grammar, style, etc., not for content. I recently contributed to a site I'd not spent much time with. As wonderful as I thought it was, my very long and detailed answer, complete with many citations, was quickly and thoroughly shot down. I think it had a -9 score before I deleted it and won a peer-pressure badge. I simply wasn't familiar enough with how things must be done and what is expected in an answer on that site. And that inexperience and naïveté were despite my having over 8k in combined reputation on other sites. Aug 23, 2019 at 13:58
  • We're not talking a first answer with no clue, we're talking changes made to 500 posts on a site. They aren't nearly comparable.
    – Nij
    Aug 23, 2019 at 22:08
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Correct me if I am wrong, but "meta.stackexchange.com" seems to be where I should ask questions about stackexchange sites in general, right?

That is correct. If it pertains just to a certain site then it belongs on that site's meta.

There is a very simple and understandable reason why each site has it's own reputation. Just because you know how stackoverflow works, doesn't mean that you know/understand how questions on physics.stackexchange should work (trust me, I got hammered for having a little fun on their meta which would be perfectly fine on so.meta).

You need to show on each site that you understand the appropriatness of questions, answers, edits, etc... before gaining new privileges to each site.

Now, once you get to a certain rep level on one site where you are trusted not to be a spammer and show that you can be trusted a little more than someone very new, you do get an automatic 100 rep on each site that you join. This gives you extra powers to do some things that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do.

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Honestly the answers given doesn't resolve the issue. Privilege is a matter of trust and not knowledge. If you've shown trust on one site you shouldn't have to prove yourself again on a different one. This is akin to once you have a qualification to do a job you need to start all over again when you want to work for another company. It makes no sense at all.

I can understand that reputation is also a measure of your knowledge in a certain area but that shouldn't extend to whether or not you can comment in a community once you have sufficient reputation across sites.

It's this policy which is preventing meaningful contributions from newcomers.

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    Did you see the part in the top answer which mentions the association bonus? This gives you the comment privilege across sites. Additionally, this isn't really an answer to the stated question, more of a "me too".
    – bobble
    Jun 6 at 19:55
  • @Bobble It is an additional explanation of the problem. That doesn't solve the big issue. A person can have 1000 reputation across 100 sites but unless that's mainly on one site it doesn't give them any additional privileges. Also there are different requirements on different sites and for different questions so it's not inconceivable there are still restrictions in place.
    – PromZA
    Jun 6 at 20:06
  • Agreed. But it is unlikely ever to be changed. For instance, there could be scaled privileges; the scale factor would be close to 1.00 for all software development and IT-related sites. It could also be dependent on to which extent certain privileges are actually exercised (say, number of close votes cast). Jun 6 at 21:03

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