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Now, I might be beating a dead horse here, probably one that has been dead and decomposing for a while now, but I'll try it anyway.

There have been plenty of discussions about the new graduation mechanics, and the most controversial one is that the higher privilege levels that come with graduation are still coupled to the design.

The privilege levels are one of the graduation aspects that I think is the easiest to tie to objective measurements. The reputation required for actions like closing should be elevated to the graduation levels once a site has enough active users at the elevated levels to ensure efficient moderation.

I suggest to just tie the elevated privilege levels to a certain number of recently active users above 3k reputation. Closing is the single most important community moderation privilege just behind editing. I'm ignoring deletion as this can be handled by diamond moderators for smaller sites. Editing should be covered by the number of 3k users as well as the requirements are lower than for closing.

I'm not proposing any hard number, that should be done by evaluating all the existing successful betas, but I'd estimate something like ~15-20 users at 3k+ that have been active in the last month. Enough to handle most closings by the community without the diamond moderators.

Elevating the privileges too early is problematic, I still remember Gaming which had a period just after graduation where you needed pretty much every 3k+ user just to close a question without moderators. I think this is one of the graduation aspects that is suited best for an objective threshold, there isn't much debate necessary, either a site has enough active 3k+ users or it doesn't.

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    +1 exactly, not everyone was happy when there were less than a handful of active closers back at chem.SE's graduation. Not even those 3k'ers. – Marshmallow Aug 20 '15 at 20:55
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    This would open the door to setting thresholds for all 'perks' of graduation (you get an election at X eligible voters, you get migration paths at Y migrations, etc). That's worth discussing, definitely (as is your idea here). – hairboat Aug 20 '15 at 21:25
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    There's a lot of sense to this; perhaps it got lost in the discussion, but the original reason for decoupling graduation and privilege levels was simply that the privilege increase is a massive cost to sites not ready for it, and often held up graduation nearly as long as waiting for a design did. Regardless of whether this specific idea goes anywhere, kudos on avoiding the hyperbole and proposing a specific solution to a real problem here. – Shog9 Aug 20 '15 at 21:26
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    @abbyhairboat I'd personally keep migrations as something the SE team decides, I wouldn't tie it to any objective measures. Migrations are just such a messy topic, we should give a site migration paths if they can actually benefit from it, but in general I think it's a good idea to keep them sparse and only enable them if there is an actual need for them. – Mad Scientist Aug 20 '15 at 21:28
  • The choice of 20 as the threshold is anything but arbitrary - it's where the Law of Large Numbers starts working. +1, absolutely agree with the proposal. – Deer Hunter Aug 20 '15 at 22:55
  • So catered to each sites individual and specific needs which suit the site more closely and thus brings about usefulness? And not just a blanket policy, which works on some sites but not others? +1 – James Aug 20 '15 at 22:56
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This was actually one of the things that I was looking at when we were having the design-independent discussion internally. One of the things that was always discussed was privilege levels, and whether a graduated community will be able to handle those increased levels. So I looked at the stats:

Rep Levels by Site

The grey box represents the range where 50% of all sites sat at graduation -- the lines are the highest and lowest values of sites at the time of graduation. Because they were kind of special cookies, SO, SU, SF, and Programmers are all excluded in this graph.

What I looked at was:

  1. How many people can vote in an election
  2. How many people can close now
  3. How many people could close going forward
  4. How many people could delete going forward

The sites I picked were those that we were looking at for design-independent graduation or were having an election prior to graduation.

The point is that each community has a range of values for this. While Code Review is well prepared no matter what the privilege levels go to, that same concept wouldn't work so well for say Network Engineering.

As explained in Ana's post we are definitely still looking for ways to make this work, and your idea is definitely something I've been milling about with in my head. Specifically, I was wondering if slowly ratcheting up privilege levels as the site grows so that there isn't a sudden jump in required numbers may be better.

One of the things that came out of our internal discussions on design-independent graduation is that a sudden jump in privilege levels will feel bad to lower rep users. These are usually the folks who don't speak out on meta, but generally make up the majority of a community. For instance, back when I was elected a mod, I looked at the reputation of voters by taking a look at badges (since you get badges for checking in on an election, and for actually voting):

Voting stats

So 60% of voters have less than 500 rep. Almost 3/4ths had under 1000. These people lose a bunch of their fun magical powers when rep levels go up. So the issue wasn't so much "can a community support higher privilege levels?" which everyone kind of agreed was not an issue for many sites in the design-independent graduation discussion, but rather the sudden increase hurting those users (who are a large part of the communities, but who rarely speak up on meta).

I'm not sure which metrics to use, but for the sake of argument let's say we want X active close voters for every Y questions/day the site gets. Rather than having close privileges start at 500, and then jump to 3000 when 'graduated', we would start at 500, and if bumping that up to 600 would mean we still had X active close voters for every Y questions/day, we would increase the rep level.

On one hand this would mean that each community would have privilege levels according to what they need for their site, which is good. On the other hand it would be a bit confusing (since rep levels would be different on each site), and it may discourage less active users who seeing the rep requirements go up may not feel as motivated to try to reach them (since the goalposts are changing).

I know I posted this as an answer, but it isn't really an answer so much as giving you what I've already been thinking about on this. I trust that the information is better in your hands than sitting about in my head anyway.

  • In the year that has followed, has there been any process on this matter? – Robin Kramer May 4 '17 at 7:48

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