After studying Why wasn't reputation loss on downvoted questions doubled as well? it seems like there is a "consensus like" understanding that the "official" goal of the "question weight change" is about encouraging users to ask questions, and that adapting the "downvote effect" accordingly would undermine that goal.

I can see that line of thought. Now I am wondering if there would be another way to reduce the negative side effect of increasing the upvote weight, without adapting the downvote weight.

For me, the biggest problem is that new users required 3 upvotes to get to upvote privileges before. Now it is just "half". So establishing "malicious upvote networks" is even simpler now.

A simple solution to that problem: the privilege system could be adapted. "Upvote privileges" could be increased from 15 to 30, or maybe 50.

Would that be a meaningful alternative?

Edit: I agree that the other question addressed part of this one, but the key part that I don't see there: that specific discussion "is getting to upvote privilege faster" a significant problem for the community?!


3 Answers 3



One thing to understand is that people don't tend use their privileges shortly after earning them. For instance, a small percentage of users to begin closing or reopening within the first month:

% of users who exercise close or reopen privileges within 30 days.

So even though ~12,000 earned that privilege overnight, we can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,400 will actually use a close or reopen vote for the first time within the next 30 days. (And quite a few of those users were already close to earning it without the change in reputation. [Citation needed]) We'd like to see that rate go back up so that more people are participating in all aspects of the site (and not just asking). So we're working on ways to guide users better when they earn privileges so they can use them responsibly.

Since most privilege levels are not really tied to anything specific, the exact levels are more of a "this feels right" than any sort of real science or whatnot. However some of the early privileges have a very definite cadence when it comes to onboarding. Take the flagging privilege (15) which requires one of:

  • 2 answer upvotes
  • 1 accepted answer
  • 7 accepted suggested edits
  • a bounty
  • an association bonus
  • 3 question upvotes (previous system)
  • 2 question upvotes (current system)
  • various combinations of the above

(Also, we're ignoring downvotes and spam/offensive flags, which might require more of the above.)

The idea is that you need to show some understanding of how the site works before you start flagging things. The system determines (usually confirmed by at least one existing member of the community) that participants have shown sufficient knowledge of the system by counting positive actions. Notice there's not a huge difference between the previous system and the current system. There's just one question upvote difference when it comes to flagging. Still, we might start noticing a greater percentage of declined flags as a result of the change. That produces a lot of unnecessary work for moderators and is something to avoid.

Now changing privilege levels is not the only tool we have. As I mentioned before, there's a lot of room for better guidance. We're watching activity on the site over the next month or so. If there are problems that could be corrected by changing privilege thresholds, that's certainly an option to consider.

  • 1
    Was bypassing the closure intentional? Nov 15, 2019 at 22:22
  • @SonictheReinstateMonica-hog: It just happens a lot to me since I take time to answer and don't really pay much attention to it. If a question is closed and I can still answer, I usually do. (And I'm happy to use my reopen privilege if needed.) Nov 15, 2019 at 22:26
  • By the way, by my math 2*7 is just short of 15. ;-) Nov 15, 2019 at 22:27
  • Isn't there a client-side WebSocket restriction that kicks in immediately when a question is closed? Do you just not see it, or do you bypass it using DevTools? Nov 15, 2019 at 22:27
  • You're given 1 rep just for signing up, so 1+2*7=15. Nov 15, 2019 at 22:27
  • Good point about the math. At any rate, I didn't do anything special to post. Nov 15, 2019 at 22:29
  • I think this answer misses my point completely. I am talking about malicious users that mainly care about getting to (upvote) priviledge. I am not very much concerned about "ordinary" users that now see their reputation bumped a bit.
    – GhostCat
    Nov 18, 2019 at 8:46
  • 1
    @GhostCatsaysReinstateMonica: Malicious use is less common than misuse caused by misunderstandings of the system. (See Hanlon's razor.) But in any case, we are tracking signs of misuse of the upvote privilege. If there's an increase in, say, sockpuppet accounts, we can address those problems as the manifest. Changing the upvote privilege level is certainly an option, but as I say in my answer, not the only option. Nov 19, 2019 at 13:33

IMHO, yes, at least for upvoting, for the reasons I stated here:

Simply increasing question reputation as stated will make it easier for sockpuppets/voting rings to start. It's rather easier to copy a nice looking programming question from Quora / Reddit and post it on Stack Overflow (maybe changing a few words to avoid the simplest plagiarism checks) and after two upvotes (instead of three) you'll already be able to upvote yourself. Since those votes can come from the ring themselves, their growth rate will be more than doubled, it seems. This will make it harder for regular users, ♦ moderators and Community Managers to detect and take care of them.


For those of you that are getting new privileges: we ask you to take the responsibility reverently. You are the question experts. You are the people that can identify a question that is struggling and you know how hard it can be to on the other side of that keyboard. Thank you in advance for gently coaching question askers through their experience.

From this, I can conclude that SE has already considered the case of receiving new privileges.

And if SE Inc. does not want to adapt privileges, then the community is powerless against it.

  • 1
    I disagree. That part addresses users who are around for some time, and who "over night" received other privileges because of that recount. I am solely talking about future new users!
    – GhostCat
    Nov 15, 2019 at 20:38
  • @GhostCatsaysReinstateMonica Just remembering my first visit here, I was treated like rubbish and to hit even 100 points was shocking for me. I think leaving everything as it is would be great, so the new comers would be involved in SE cycle of life with privileges, reputation points and so on.
    – Ver Nick
    Nov 15, 2019 at 20:50
  • There is always that conflict between attracting new users and keeping quality content. New users often kill quality, but they are an essential part to make revenue. So they pay the servers that provide the quality content the experienced users are looking for. And most people say that quality suffers more and more. So the experienced users arent eager for anything that attracts even more newbies.
    – GhostCat
    Nov 15, 2019 at 20:56
  • @GhostCatsaysReinstateMonica However, we have to attract newbies(well, if only Monica will be fine, else I'll leave). Announce more elections, monitor content quality AND explain the newbies their mistakes.
    – Ver Nick
    Nov 15, 2019 at 21:03

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