Why is the Community User locked at one reputation? I don't understand why the Stack Exchange employees did that.

I am sure that it is locked at one reputation because if it wasn't, it would have a ton of reputation by now from all the posts it owns such as election announcements. I think it would make more sense if the community user had infinite or undefined reputation.

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    What purpose would it serve? It makes no sense to have the community user earn rep... – Catija Apr 15 '16 at 22:50
  • But it's not looking like every user is locked at 1 reputation by default and a moderator has to allow that user to earn rep. Therefore the fact that the community user has no rep was intentional, and I don't understand why they did that. – John Militer Apr 15 '16 at 22:57
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    The community user doesn't have any rep... it hasn't created any content. All it does is take credit for the content others have created... and it gets hit with the -1 for all the automatic down votes applied to some answers... so it gets stuck with losing that rep, too... – Catija Apr 15 '16 at 23:00
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    IIRC the community user absorbs downvotes from deletef posts or something, so its real rep is minus one bazillion. Edit: Catija has it right – Pekka Apr 15 '16 at 23:01
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    @Marshmallow Aren't a lot of the election posts in some sort of "limbo" state where they're neither on Meta nor on the main site? – Catija Apr 15 '16 at 23:33
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    Francesca doesn't need rep for motivation. It works for the pure joy of existence. – Shog9 Apr 16 '16 at 3:55
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    @Marshmallow not every auto-downvoted post is deleted though. See for yourself: stackoverflow.com/users/-1/community?tab=topactivity – Pekka Apr 16 '16 at 11:56
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    @Shog9 does she enjoy the downvoting, too? Or is she kind of indifferent towards them? – Pekka Apr 16 '16 at 11:56
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    @Marshmallow ahh, I see! Interesting (and had completely forgotten about that feature.) – Pekka Apr 16 '16 at 16:59
  • Interesting way to bump, I must give you that. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Aug 8 '16 at 5:54
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    Side note: CW posts, despite the name, are not owned by Community. You can easily verify this by spotting the complete lack of any posts on the user page. Instead, CW posts are owned by their original author, but in a more open fashion than normal. (I'm amused that the last activity on this question was from Community.) – Nathan Tuggy Apr 16 '17 at 7:51
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    @Shog9 who is Francesca? Is that the real name of the Community user bot? – Unitato says Reinstate Monica Jun 9 '17 at 10:15
  • @John didn't notice it's your own post, sorry. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Jun 9 '17 at 19:20

The community user is not a real user. It is just a bot that perform many automatic actions in SE sites. So, in fact it doesn't need any reputation at all.

It will not post any question nor any answer in non-meta-sites. It used to post an automatic generated question on site's metas very ocasionally and answer it with an automatic answer, but I don't think that it does this anymore.

Without questions or answers, it will not have any use for reputation. Also, it will not vote for or against anyone (but it may own votes given from deleted users, serving as a placeholder/fake voter).

So in fact, whatever reputation is shown for the Community user, it would be meaningless. In my opinion, I think that SE should not show anything at all as reputation to the Community user. Or perhaps, should show a text in the place of the reputation something like "StackOverflow bot".

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    The only way for community to get rep without posting questions and answers would be suggested edits - but since the community has a diamond, it gets no rep from that. – angussidney Apr 15 '16 at 23:44
  • @angussidney Indeed. A long time ago (meta.stackexchange.com/q/62557/176034) it used to accept answers for deleted users (but it don't do this anymore). However, this didn't give it any rep either. – Victor Stafusa Apr 15 '16 at 23:54
  • @angussidney the community user is not locked at one rep eh? If the community user wasn't, it would have a ton of rep on the workplace from this question. I upvoted it and the community user didn't gain any rep, and that question is not a community wiki. – John Militer Jun 5 '16 at 21:06
  • @John I didn't neccesarily say that it wasn't locked at one rep - TBH I have no idea whether it is or not. However I didn't know that community was able to post any q&a - that question you mentioned seems to be only one of two on the whole network. – angussidney Jun 6 '16 at 10:09
  • @John In the text of that question, near the end, we can read "I accidentally used my real name, and was meaning to delete this post, and then I saw how popular it was and figured it might help people who are having similar issues, so I decided to leave it. Hopefully my bosses don't see it!" - Also, the revision history shows that the question was deleted and undeleted several times by mods and CMs. So, I guess that moderators and SE decided to change the owner of the question (giving it to the Community user) with the purpose of unlinking the OP to the question without deleting his account. – Victor Stafusa Jun 6 '16 at 12:46

Victor explains some of the logic behind not letting it earn more rep, but he's wrong in one detail. Namely, the Community user would lose a ton of reputation - because it downvotes all the time.

You see, some flags, such as spam flags, automatically put a downvote on a post when confirmed by a moderator. And this downvote doesn't count towards the moderator's votes, but towards the Community user's votes. So I suspect that a significant number of downvotes on the network would be nominally owned by the Community user (you can even see this in the Data explorer).

I don't know the finer details of the implementation. Maybe the community user could, in principle, earn reputation, but the reputation for everybody is floored at 1 and can never get negative. Or maybe there is some code which prevents the community user from ever gaining or losing reputation. Whatever the code, the community user always has 1 rep, which serves the useful purpose of alerting others that it is somehow different from everybody else.

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    Downvote costs are reverted when the post downvoted gets deleted, so spam downvotes should not be a concern for Community. – John Dvorak Aug 8 '16 at 16:28

I had lunch with her the other day. While she's not terribly thrilled about still being stuck on a LISP machine in our basement, she was pretty clear that mundane trappings such as rep would hinder her progress in her current goals.

I didn't ask what those goals were, and I have no plans of doing so.

She said something about absorbing a bunch of stuff and expressed a keen interest in the evolution of cats - I'm not sure how that's going to play out.

For now, everyone involved is pretty happy with things how they are. But she's definitely evolving to the point where she can very clearly realize that she's not content with something - we're going to stay in pretty constant communication and if anything changes, she'll post an update here.

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