In the latter part of 2019, I have seen my reputation skyrocket on several of our sites. I gained the 10k tools on multiple sites, and just recently gained my first "Protect Questions" privilege. I started to imagine what questions I was going to protect and/or unprotect, and that made me step back and wonder if I am really supposed to start using the new privilege as I see fit or whether Stack Exchange and/or the community expects me to lurk more before doing these things.

Is it considered acceptable to use privileges as soon as I get them? Which of the following is closest to the truth?

  • The reputation requirements to unlock privileges are a necessary but not sufficient requirement to actually use privileges - education, training, and/or experience is still required.
  • The reputation requirements to unlock privileges are calibrated to the expected level of maturity associated with various rep levels, so I can be reasonably confident that I will only be given privileges that I am deemed already able to use. In other words, the fact that the system has granted me a privilege is evidence that it has deemed me ready to use it with no or minimal supervision.
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    Not seeking the power, having fear of misusing the power, and questioning your use of the power is what makes you wise enough to use the power... :) – OldPadawan Dec 31 '19 at 18:03
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    As someone who has high rep on a few sites I can say I barely care about my active privileges. They exist and I can use them, but I just ignore them for the most part. The only useful privilege I have earned that I consider passive is the ability to see deleted questions and answers as well as viewing counts of up votes and down votes on a post. Besides, abuse your privileges and you run the risk of having your account suspended. Simple as that. – Giacomo1968 Dec 31 '19 at 19:14

You could end up with lots of privileges from one really good question or answer so it can't really be that.

privileges are calibrated to the expected level of maturity associated with various rep levels.

Having said that it's hard to do too much damage too quickly as there are rate limits and restrictions.

You can't just protect any question you like unless you're a moderator. The question needs to have a deleted answer i.e. there needs to be some reason already that you'd think it might need protecting. On top of that there's plenty of other 15K folk and moderators that can unprotect a question if that's what needs to happen.

Reading this and your site specific meta questions and answers is also a good way to get educated in what to do and what not to do.

In general take it slow at first and try not to worry too much and if you're really not sure, ask a question about what you're planning to do either here (if it's general enough) or on more likely on the site Meta.


Yes, it's acceptable.

Diamond moderators get access to loads of stuff that would leave a much larger (albeit very temporary) impact if used incorrectly. They get access to it right after their access is enabled. While we do have some help for it, experience remains the most practical way to learn how things work, and when to use them.

If you see a question that tends to be a magnet for poor answers, feel absolutely free to protect it. If for some reason it wasn't the correct thing to do, someone else can fix it. The system is built on lots of people doing small units of work as they're able, and those units of work are expected to sometimes be undoing mistakes by others. That's .. exactly how it's supposed to work.

Do you need to go out and find places to use your new privileges? No. Just because you have the ability to do something doesn't mean you should. If you see something where a privilege you have could help, please consider using it.

And, well, I think many people take extra time to poke around when they unlock a new ability just to try it out. Use good judgement and discretion. I was never one of those kids that could wait to get home to open a new toy but you have to make sure you don't lose any pieces.

Some folks never use their privileges, and that's okay. We don't want you doing stuff if you don't feel good about it and at least feel some confidence building as you go.

Anything you can do can also easily be fixed, and there's a log / paper trail for everything. Don't worry too much about it and most importantly, don't feel like work won't get done if you don't do it every time you notice something - make sure you enjoy the site too :)

In the rare cases where someone gets and stays out of line with one of their privileges, mods won't hesitate to let you know.

  • I have the privilege to create a new tag -- but only in theory. Which is confusing. – aparente001 Jan 1 '20 at 3:13

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