I recently tried posting an answer and got the following error messages:

You must have a minimum of 1 reputation to post on this site.

You must log in to post.

Screenshot of error message

The first issue here is that as you can clearly see in the top right of the image I am logged in and have quite a bit more than 1 reputation on the site. However, I suppose something could have happened to log me out while I was still on that page, and it hadn't been refreshed, so perhaps that is not an actual bug. The bigger issue, though, is that the first error message even exists in the first place.

According to the FAQ on reputation, it is impossible to ever have less than 1 reputation:

No user's reputation may drop below one point; if an action would cause a user's reputation to drop below one point, that user only loses enough reputation to drop to one point (source), and the remaining penalty or loss is waived.

If there is no situation in which one can have less than 1 reputation, why does such an error message even exist? It can't possibly ever be relevant. Now I suppose that if you are not logged in then you technically don't have at least 1 reputation, but in such a case you already can't post because you aren't logged in.

In short, why does the error message about needing at least 1 reputation to post exist?

  • 2
    How much reputation do anonymous users have? 1? Null?
    – Mast
    Nov 10, 2019 at 17:04
  • 11
    Probably the "You must have at least …" message is due to the fact that there are sites with higher threshold to post (namely, on site metas you need 5 rep to post), and it just fetches the threshold every time that for some reason posting an answer is blocked. Nov 10, 2019 at 17:04
  • @DanielFischer additionally, MSE had posting rep threshold temporary increased from 1 to 2 in April 2016
    – gnat
    Nov 11, 2019 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


There are many sites on the network - and the rep levels for posting on a site are (basically) determined by the configuration data for that site.

In other words - every site can have a different rep level requirement for posting.

The error message is generic - it looks up the required value and pops up the message.

It would take work to determine that this value is indeed 1 and in such a case not give out the error. I can't speak for the team - but every bit of extra work that doesn't need to happen means the site can be that little bit faster (which is important to the SO devs).

  • Isn't there a performance "price" for fetching the message and sending the payload to the client as well? Not doing the work here might actually hurt performance ;) but let's measure first and determine the baseline before jumping to conclusions.
    – rene
    Nov 11, 2019 at 11:21

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