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Based on reputation earned, SE sites give different types of privileges to users.

I am only talking about moderation privileges, which have some serious impacts on the community. For example (editing, close and reopen votes, access to moderation privileges).

The privilege will also be lost if the rep goes below the required limit.

The Scenario

I have seen many users, mainly on Stack Overflow, that have just created an account less than 10-20 days and already have reputation of more than 1000 earned from bounties.

A person, with 9 days on the site, earned almost 850 and another one, from 23, earned 1.8k.

In such a case, within a week, they may get the privilege to approve suggested edits and also edit inline.

Within some more days, they will be able to cast close and reopen votes.

The Issue

As said, they are noobs in SE and they may mot have an exact idea of how the community works.

To make it clear, assume that a person earned 2k rep in 10 days from bounties, he can edit inline. But he may not aware of when a post should be edited.

There may be chances of misusing the privileges. It is not their fault but they may not aware of the flow of community from experience.

Also there may be chances of people editing other's posts to abuse (It has already happened on SO many times).

The suggestion

Along with reputation, have some other criteria in order to gain a privilege.

For example:

  • Edit Questions And Answers - 2000 rep and should have at least 100 approved suggested edits.

  • Cast Close And Reopen Votes - 3000 rep and should have at least 100 helpful flags.

  • Access To Moderator Tools - 10000 rep and should complete 1000 review tasks in at least one review queue.


This happens only in rare cases. But I found people with 4k rep in 40 days too.


So, giving such privileges to Rep Hunters is not a good idea because there may be chances of misusing the privilege.

One more feature request - Trusted user privilege should be obtained only if they have a Marshal, Copy editor and at least 2 steward badges.

Marshal - raise 500 helpful flags.

Copy Editor - Edit 500 posts

Steward - complete at least 1000 review items in one review queue.


As a side request, don't apply this on beta as well as small sites.

Please implement it in SO as an experimental/beta feature to see the result.

  • 1
    In favor for Stack Overflow. On the small sites, these badges are much harder to get. But the small sites, by definition, don't have the scaling problem that Stack Overflow has. – S.L. Barth Jun 21 '17 at 8:34
  • In stackoverflow, it is very easy to get the above. also in some sites with high traffic, it won't be a huge problem. – Optimus Prime Jun 21 '17 at 8:36
  • They may add this criteria in experimental or beta phase in Stackoverflow first. @S.L.Barth – Optimus Prime Jun 21 '17 at 8:36
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    You have stated that new users can gain access to moderation tools fairly quickly - and followed on with a lot of FUD about what they might/could/may do with those, given lack of knowledge of how the communities and sites work. However, you have failed to show this to be a substantial, existing issue. We don't tend to fix things that are not actual problems but perceived possible problems. If this becomes a real issue, we will deal with it when it comes up. As it stands, there isn't a flood of new users with moderator privs that are wreaking havoc on the sites. – Oded Jun 21 '17 at 8:54
  • New users who gained quite a lot of reputation in few days by answering bounty questions ... to be honest I would first assume that someone creates a sockpuppet account be answering his own bounty question :/.Well, it looks really suspicious to me. – Tom Jun 21 '17 at 9:14
  • There are many 500 bounties are present on SO. – Optimus Prime Jun 21 '17 at 9:15
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    Reputation points are a poor yardstick for moderation ability. The problem isn't how fast people acquire reputation points. The problem is people who use their privileges badly. The many issues with the review queues on SO have shown that, on SO, that problem is real. – S.L. Barth Jun 21 '17 at 9:21
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    @Tom I answered a question with a 500 points bounty as a new user - because it was interesting and in my field of expertise. Being a noob on SO does not mean being a noob to programming. – Modus Tollens Jun 21 '17 at 9:54
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    @ModusTollens being an expertise in programming doesn't mean you are a well aware of user in SO. we are talking about answering or rep. It is about privileges – Optimus Prime Jun 21 '17 at 9:58
  • @SagarV That was why I was pretty intimidated by earning privileges fast and very careful in using them. What I'm trying to say: the amount of rep is not always related to being aware of the rules. Some users do care and learn, others don't. – Modus Tollens Jun 21 '17 at 10:01
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    I suggest we drop the hypothetical scenario. I believe it should be removed from the post. Let's simply look at known issues with community moderation instead. – S.L. Barth Jun 21 '17 at 10:41
  • @ModusTollens We're not talking about a single question. "Being a noob on SO does not mean being a noob to programming." - No one said something else. – Tom Jun 21 '17 at 10:47
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    1000 review tasks... on IoT we haven't even had 500 new questions yet. – anonymous2 Jun 21 '17 at 12:14
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    If you mean this only for SO then you should ask on MSO. By asking on MSE you are asking for a change across the network, and this would damage every site I participate on. – Monica Cellio Jun 21 '17 at 14:48
  • I agree with the review process. Cause we have so many robo-reviewers on SO (running behind Steward badge to get it as soon as possible). And I am not telling that they're all noobs to SO or SE. – Shashanth Jun 22 '17 at 12:09
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Currently almost all privileges are set at identical levels for all graduated SE sites. The only exception I know of is tag creation. Your proposed changes would completely eliminate community moderation on pretty much all sites except SO, and maybe even there they would have enough impact to render the site unmoderated.

1000 review tasks is insane, and no privilege should be hidden behind such an absurd hurdle.

100 flags is only achievable on the largest sites, the same with 100 approved suggested edits.

There are lots of users far below these thresholds that use their moderation privileges responsibly, far more than the few that abuse them. You'd prevent all of them from participating in community moderation for a very dubious benefit, and probably no benefit at all.

Community moderation works because while there is a barrier, it's relatively low. It's just enough to make sure that in most cases the users are here long enough to have learned the basic rules.

Bounties for completely new users break the assumptions behind the privileges (and I'd probably look if they're socks, as it is unusual for a completely new user to get a high bounty, or several), the same goes for incredibly popular first posts that gather votes over multiple days. These are exceptions, and it's not worth it to break the privilege system for everyone else to address these rare cases.

If a user misuses the privileges, there are always the diamond moderators to stop them. Community moderation handles the common case, not the exceptions.

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    In addition to your objections, the suggested different criteria (100 approved suggested edits, 100 helpful flags, complete 1000 review tasks, etc) are very complicated to implement. What if only one criterium was used like must be a site user for at least 100 days? – Jan Doggen Jun 21 '17 at 8:56
4

Reputation is a poor yardstick for reviewing ability. The many issues in the review queues on Stack Overflow have made this clear.

The scenario presented here is about users quickly gaining reputation. But, the speed with which users acquire moderation privileges isn't the problem. The problem is people using their privileges badly (robo-reviewing, bad edits, vengeance downvoting, etc). The speed with which they gained these privileges doesn't matter - only how they use these privileges.

Requiring a badge for a privilege isn't new. Before we had the review queues, Stack Overflow had only one /review page. To get access to it, you had to have the Strunk & White badge.

Requiring a badge before getting moderation privileges may help on Stack Overflow, which has long suffered from sloppy reviewing. The current, purely rep-based community moderation system just doesn't scale anymore there.

The small sites are a different matter. For the smaller sites, it may be hard to impossible to get some of these badges. But the smaller sites don't have the scale problems that Stack Overflow has.

We could discuss the details at length. For example, I would not want the Steward badge to be a requirement. Robo-reviewers get it much faster than serious reviewers. Instead, we might require the Reviewer badge and not having failed an audit in the last 100 reviews.

But all of those are details. In principle, requiring badges as well as rep for certain moderation privileges can help alleviate the scale problems that Stack Overflow has.

So, I'd like to see some version of this on Stack Overflow.

  • +1 for the clear explanation and for telling about the old SO review system. I didn't knew about that. – Optimus Prime Jun 21 '17 at 10:48

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