What is the reason for having rep on Meta?

Why bother having up- or down-votes on meta? Isn't this a place to express your opinions? Why penalize people for expressing their opinions on this site?

Rep has nothing to do with expressing what peoples' ideas are, so why have it? For example, I, as a single-rep user can't comment, so this is penalizing me for my opinions.

The system also warns me that "you are about to be banned". So, because meta is about peoples' opinions and the community does not like that opinion, you should be banned?

This is a fault in the system IMO. Isn't a good site able to encourage opinions to make the site better? A good site is where there's the ability to discuss and have a back-and-forth discussion between users so as the site can become better. Obviously Jeff Atwood isn't working here anymore. If he did then maybe things could've gotten better.

EDIT: So from the comments, rep shows what your stance is in the community. If you have none then you have no say. Is that the site you want, especially on meta?

And anyone who thinks that this is perfect is wrong. Anything can get better, no matter how good it is.

  • 1
    Downvotes on meta only affect rep on meta. It's not any kind of penalty. – Jolenealaska Apr 8 '17 at 12:15
  • 2
    @Jolenealaska, really, I can't comment b/c my rep is too low. So how is that not a penalty? – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 12:16
  • 1
    Good question. I've always supported the lack of rep on per-site metas, and I don't know why things are done differently here on main meta. (I suspect the reason may be more historical than rational, something to do with the fact that Meta Stack Exchange used to be Meta Stack Overflow.) – Rand al'Thor Apr 8 '17 at 12:17
  • 4
    As an indicator to when you about to get banned. – user202362 Apr 8 '17 at 12:21
  • 6
    Nothing is perfect. What that matters is whether it's close enough to perfect that taking a step ahead takes more resources than is worth it. Right now, the system is penalizing a user that has repeatedly yelled "you suck and your system sucks" without any constructive engagement in comments, and repeatedly at that. This system is close enough to perfect for my taste. – M.A.R. Apr 8 '17 at 13:21
  • 2
    @Kylo because there are much better ways to provide criticism. If you take a look around, there are a lot of meta rants about downvotes, and the ones that came in with a new idea, ones that had a point or were phrased without name-calling or the normal frustration did indeed get a lot of upvotes. This very post is, unlike the previous minus thirty something post, standing at 0 by the time of this comment, with six upvotes. That is because despite your abrasive tone, you have a point somewhere deep there. It just needs a bit digging. – M.A.R. Apr 8 '17 at 13:29
  • 2
    @M.A.R., I don't care about downvotes, I care about a system that encourages people to conform to the norm of that site b/c of downvotes. – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 13:31
  • 4
    You shouldn't care about downvotes. You should care about feedback. – M.A.R. Apr 8 '17 at 13:32
  • 3
    I'm tempted to upvote this because I agree that meta rep generally means very little, since the meaning of votes is very different here to main sites. But the current wording is not constructive. You could garner some support for your idea if you think a bit more carefully about how you word things. – Harry Vervet Apr 8 '17 at 13:40
  • 4
    Being frustrated is bad because it means you're unlikely to cooperate or act constructively, and much more likely to resort to name-calling and insults and somesuch. There's a reason respectful discourse doesn't happen when people are heated. – M.A.R. Apr 8 '17 at 13:51
  • 6
    I didn't get your comment, but any human interaction requires you not to yell, and not to act as if I owe you five hundred dollars. – M.A.R. Apr 8 '17 at 13:54
  • 8
    @KyloRen "Where is the forum to post your frustrations" - somewhere other than SE. Reddit, maybe? I wouldn't know. Like I mentioned in another comment, I've learned that posting frustrations gets you nowhere on SE, but posting your concerns in a reasonable and constructive way might actually stand a chance of getting you what you want. – Rand al'Thor Apr 8 '17 at 13:54
  • 3
    Yanno? I think this is a great question. I'm not caring for the tone its written in, but it actually brings up a valid point (enough that I upvoted it). – Journeyman Geek Apr 8 '17 at 14:09
  • 2
    Dude, stop it. Please. I'm begging you. That comparison is so hyperbolic and nonsensical. And any point you may have will be hidden behind those ridiculous statements. You're on a fast-track to nowhere good if you keep it up. I really hope you're utterly clueless as to the historical events you're using for comparison. If not, you're just being horribly offensive after being told not to do so. – Bart Apr 8 '17 at 14:12
  • 17
    @KyloRen You seem to have this impression that your opinions are not well received because you are on the "wrong side". However, your analysis is not correct. Your opinions are not well received because you have a general pattern of not being able to express them in a constructive manner. It has less do with what your opinions are than it does with how you present them. However, if you were to accept that, you would have to acknowledge that you are not able to communicate properly, and it's way easier just to pretend you're a lone hero fighting for "what's right" or something. – Jason C Apr 8 '17 at 16:09

What is the reason for having rep on Meta?

The same reason as having rep anywhere else. It's a useful way to gauge a users standing on the site and a way to control privileges and community moderation.

From Help Center > What is reputation?

Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you; it is earned by convincing your peers that you know what you’re talking about. Basic use of the site, including asking questions, answering, and suggesting edits, does not require any reputation at all. But the more reputation you earn, the more privileges you gain.

Some related previous posts:

It's worth noting that per-site metas don't have their own rep and votes there don't affect a users reputation; exactly because the rep is directly linked to the rep on the main site. Meta Stack Exchange is unique simply because it is its own site.

Why bother having up or down votes on meta. Isn't this a place to express your opinions?

Votes are exactly how users here do express their opinion. That's their main role here; they are a quick and easy way to gauge the community's feeling on feature requests and discussions and help build a community consensus. Without voting Meta would be just be a forum where everyone would have to "answer" to express their opinion.

See Voting is different on meta

| improve this answer | |
  • Ahhh, so being on the wrong side of everyone else is makes you inferior? nice system. – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 12:32
  • 4
    @KyloRen It doesn't "make you inferior" in some ontological sense, you still are who you are. What it does is make it clear how much your contributions are valued by the community, and thereby influence how much you can participate in the community (i.e. make further contributions). As to "being on the wrong side of everyone else", well, that tends to be a disadvantage everywhere in life. – Dan Bron Apr 8 '17 at 12:36
  • @DanBron, but to everyone else and the site, you are considered inferior. So I am to assume that opinions are frowned upon here then? – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 12:37
  • What's wrong with the system? There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with people... hell, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with everyone... why not use reputation as a way to indicate that? Or we scrap reputation and come up with some other indicator and then what's to stop people then complaining about that one? – Cai Apr 8 '17 at 12:38
  • @Cai, great, but I cannot comment on a post you have made. so that is conducive to a fair system? – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 12:40
  • 7
    @KyloRen You're surprised unpopular opinions make you unpopular? In general, SE prefers to focus on facts, not opinions, and there's even a closure reason for "only likely to result in a battle of opinion", but on Meta, discussion is more encouraged, and opinions can be expressed. Opinions in general are not frowned upon. But expressing an opinion doesn't magically insulate you from criticism; in fact, the opposite, it opens you up to the response "that's a poor opinion". The upside of expressing an opinion is your voice is heard; the downside is you have to then listen to everyone else's. – Dan Bron Apr 8 '17 at 12:42
  • 2
    @Kylo Comment threshold here is already 5 (which is a single upvote) as opposed to 50 on normal sites (as downvoting is at 100 so everyone with at least 200 on another site can downvote, as opposed to 125 on normal sites) – Cai Apr 8 '17 at 12:47
  • @KyloRen "I cannot comment on a post you have made" That's clearly wrong as you have made many comments on Cai's post. Please get your facts straight. – DavidPostill Apr 8 '17 at 12:52
  • @KyloRen You've just lost the game. – Dan Bron Apr 8 '17 at 12:53
  • 6
    @KyloRen You actually have a good point here, but ranting and making comparisons to Nazi times isn't helping you to make it or to make yourself understood. Pro tip: try to make your points on meta calmly and rationally, and not let your anger get the better of you. (I say this as someone who went from calling mods Nazis to being one myself. I've been there, and made the transition from unpopular to respected. It is possible.) – Rand al'Thor Apr 8 '17 at 12:53
  • @David I guess he was trying to comment on another post (comment privilege is 5 rep, OP has 1; he can only comment here because it's his own question) – Cai Apr 8 '17 at 12:53
  • @Cai Maybe. But if he continues as he is he will never get his 5 rep back ... – DavidPostill Apr 8 '17 at 12:56
  • @DavidPostill, unlikely, I don't agree with many people so I don't think I will get my rep back. But that does not bother me. – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 12:58
  • 8
    It doesn't make you inherently wrong, no. But in this case, the comparison is so far out of whack that I'd suggest you study up on the atrocities actual nazis committed. I know it's a popular internet comparison to make, but it show a horrible lack of understanding at best, and is a shameful approach at a discussion at worst. – Bart Apr 8 '17 at 13:53

I suspect a good chunk of it is historic. MSE (well MSO) was pretty much set up along the same lines as the original trilogy (and was a bit of an afterthought and the concept of the per site, reputationless meta was almost exactly a year later. I'd note, both of these posts are written by Jeff Atwood, and presumably reflect what he had in mind.

I guess SE evolved what the meta concept was over that year.

However, MSE is in an odd place. There's no "parent" site to set privileges. It would be somewhat unpopular to say "hey guys, no reputation for you" - and if you switched to network wide reputation at any point, it might end up inconveniencing small site users and mods. Also being a subject matter expert in something, say programming, does not reflect your knowledge of the system and how. In a practical sense, MSE's an orphan meta site with no parents, and probably would not have existed if SE had grown differently. The quirks of having a site where opinions 'cost' a tangible amount of reputation is probably due to that.

In a sense, reputation here does reflect an odd mix of popularity of your ideas, and trust. It gives an idea of what the MSE community feels of you, and there's no real alternative that we can use that wouldn't inconvenience users in the short run.

In my case I hope its a reflection of how helpful or not I've been to other users, and/or the general feeling people have of my opinions. With individual posts, I've occasionally considered downvotes a badge of honour with answers like this at best and a sign I need to improve.

And well, reputation is essentially imaginary internet points. I suppose the real question is "How do we fairly determine an arbitrary score of how well someone gets SE"

If we used a total of reputation on all sites, it would give larger more active sites more weightage. If we went for none at all, well, there's no barrier of entry (and there's some positive aspects to this). In a practical sense, its a system that has generally worked, at least as badly as the rest of the network.

| improve this answer | |

You have saying even with 1 rep. You have no say only if you are on a post ban. On the Meta SE, as I've heard, this post ban happens only in really exceptional cases. Its reason is the freedom of expression.

Meta SE was once the meta.stackoverflow.com. Until some years ago, the meta SO was both the meta of the stackoverflow and of the whole SE network. Later they were divided.

On the site metas, votes still exist, but they don't affect the reputation. Its obvious reason is that not your meta popularity matters, instead your contributions to the main site. The SE doesn't want complaints and flamewars, they want a lot of visitors producing good content (to attract more visitors).

The meta SE, this site, is different. It doesn't belong to a main site, it is essentially the meta of the whole SE network. It doesn't have mod elections, rather the CMs are its mods. It is essentially a "chief justice department", thus if you want to contribute here, you have some high reason for that. Thus, here, despite that it is a meta, we have rep what we can lose with an unpopular post.

The downvoter circles are not so hard here as on the site metas, because also they know, doing really bad things are much more visible for the SE (note, the CMs can see induvidual votes if they really want). Many of these collective downvoters also think, that producing an antidemocratic, single-tone atmosphere is actually a positive thing. "Help to find the best answer for all questions", around so looks their world view. Although their downs are here more painful, because we have here real rep.

But don't forget: a single upvote balances 5 downs, and a single accept balances 7.5. It seems, the SE refuses only the contributions of the very unpopular posters. If you are over this limit which is not hard even in my case, you are around okay, and they can't do anything.

| improve this answer | |
  • How is giving literally everyone a vote "anti democratic"? – Dan Bron Apr 8 '17 at 13:30
  • 1
    @DanBrown As I explained, not this is antidemocratic. Giving vote for everybody is actually an useful form of the self-expression. What I complained about, if these votes are tuned to oppress minority opinions. Unfortunately, it is a quite common phenomenon on the site metas, and on a lesser form also here. I don't think it would be the fault of the system - simply we have such a community. Actually, if you have a nonmainstream opinion, you are in the continuous risk of downvoted to the hell. I think it is bad, so I communicate here ignoring the votes. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '17 at 13:38
  • 4
    I just don't think describing anything about the SE model as "undemocratic" is a fair or accurate characterization. People ar voting for what they like, and voting against what they don't like. Is it an "unfair oppression" or "antidemocratic" in a political election if the candidate who most people voted for gets into office, and the candidate only a few people voted for and most people dislike does not win? Now, democracy has its own risks, including the risk of "rule by the mob", to the detriment of minority's, but that's a recognized problem of democracy, not SE. SE is democratic. – Dan Bron Apr 8 '17 at 13:43
  • @DanBrown The problem with it leads to a self-strenghtening effect: as the minority views are continuously expelled, the community focuses to a more single tone. It also increases its sensitivity to the lesser "uncommon" views. The result is an inbred community which oppresses any "deviance" always with the most harsh measures, full with people seeing any free expression as a deviation. Yes, in theory it is still democratic - but in practice, if you don't have some internal urge to always show your loyalty to the actual higher powers, they guarantee for you to not feel yourself well here. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '17 at 13:50
  • @DanBrown Thanks - as you can see in my posts, I don't really take care the downs. I get far enough ups to balance them, and I think this is exactly what this community needs. Simply people wanting to do against this single-tone model. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '17 at 13:52
  • Personally, I have no inner urge to show loyalty to any higher powers here, whoever they may be. I vote my conscience. I cannot see how you can say electing a politician using this system is democratic but voting on proposals on SE is undemocratic. Yes, there is a bandwagon effect which distorts things, and that is not applicable to secret ballots in political elections. But then voting here, while not secret, is anonymous, so you can't "show yourself as loyal" by voting. No, minority views are simply minority views, and that's reflected in the small number of votes for them. – Dan Bron Apr 8 '17 at 13:54
  • I really appreciate you opinion, but you are really being penalized for it. I am going to UV , as I hate this system. – KyloRen Apr 8 '17 at 13:55
  • @DanBrown With 400 ups and 200 downs also I don't think you would be so bad. Check the vote stats of others, their up/down ratio shows a lot. On the meta talks I've found in many cases this phenomenon, this highly antidemocratic psychological stance, that people try to continuously demostrate their loyalty to the power ("community", mods, SE, anything). These people also tend to fight against differing opinions until the last shot. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '17 at 14:10
  • @DanBrown I never understood, what drives them - the SE doesn't want this from them, the SE only wants good posts from them (on the main site). I think they have same internal, conscient or nonconscient suspiction, that doing this, "the system" will later somehow reward it for them. I try to explain them, that it is completely false, there is no "system", there is only a site which makes fun by writing posts and reading others, that is all. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '17 at 14:12
  • @KyloRen I know it, and I know what I am doing. If you want to help, make a high rep (at least 200) on any of the SE sites and then join me here. The rule is very simple: share your opinions, what you've found here and on the SE sites, and do this by completely ignoring the votes. Simply be free, resist the psychological pressure of the vote counts, be yourself. Many will hate you for that, you will get sometimes suspensions, many will commit every possible to always "misunderstand" your posts on the possible worst ways - but you will be a free spirit and you wil be an example for all. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 8 '17 at 14:18
  • 13
    There's this "us vs. them" attitude all over this post, and you're assuming that if I agree with, say, what Shog9 says, I'm trying to appeal to him? That's utterly ridiculous. – M.A.R. Apr 8 '17 at 14:31
  • 12
    @KyloRen Don't kid yourself. Your freedom is not why people "hate" your "opinions". Your inability to express a thought without ranting and your sense of entitlement combined with total lack of grasp of a bigger picture or any sense of empathy is more likely the reason. Your opinions on their own are fine, but you turn away even people that otherwise agree with you. Any poor reception you receive is on you, and until you take responsibility for that you can expect more of the same. – Jason C Apr 8 '17 at 16:11
  • 5
    @peterh All of them are heavily ranty. You may just have trouble identifying rants. He asks interesting questions, overlaid with a very poor tone and exceedingly non-constructive comments (e.g. how he Godwinned his own post in the comments above -- not a winning strategy). For a prime example, look at this post here compared to the linked duplicate. (PS I restarted CAD already once before, I officially declare myself defeated on those proposals, heh. It's very disappointing.) – Jason C Apr 8 '17 at 17:16
  • 6
    @peterh Of course I read into tone. Because in this case what he's asked has been asked before in a much more civil way. It might have been a different outcome had this been a new conversation. But I reasonably (I believe) demand a certain level of civil discourse, and I have no sympathy for folks with a clearly demonstrated sense of entitlement in cases like this. If the conversation has been had a dozen times before, yeah, you better bring it up in a civil way. There's no reason whatsoever to entertain this conversation in a non-constructive manner when constructive versions of it exist. – Jason C Apr 8 '17 at 17:29
  • 2
    (And no you would not get suspended for "comment flag overusing". I myself frequently will raise many comment flags on NC discussions if I feel a finer level of flagging granularity is required over simply flagging an entire post and requesting a mass comment cleanup. Comment flags are fine, flag away. It's probably easier for you to just flag a whole post though, just in terms of amount of times you have to click. That said, often times I'll flag nothing if I feel a clean-up isn't worth it / the comments or post is ultimately doomed anyways. Case-by-case.) – Jason C Apr 8 '17 at 17:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .