I'm just curious about why (not how) metasmoke and SmokeDetector can get reputation. Their profiles state that they are bots, but SmokeDetector even asked a question on Stack Overflow.

I thought bots aren't supposed to get reputation, like Community. The Community user does a lot of stuff but doesn't get any reputation for doing things such as randomly bumping old unanswered questions. I felt that this was ridiculous and a bit suspicious: How could a bot ask human questions on SE? What's going on here?

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    @AntonMenshov Thanks, but my question was about how Smoke Detector was able to ask a question on Stack Overflow, since I thought that they were just computer programs on the SE servers, and I thought that it was ridiculous (and potentially suspicious) that Smokey could ask a question. I was also curious about how metasmoke could make edits if it were a bot. Thanks for all of the help! Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 20:19
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    The dupe target is only related, not really a duplicate as to how is it possible for a bot account to have rep, is only to be deducted from that.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 20:40
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    @TheTechExpertGuy it's listed in the revisions page. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 20:47
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    You can see that in the timeline of your question @TheTechExpertGuy
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 20:47
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    Separately, they're not running on SE servers, they're hosted by members of the Charcoal project, who are just regular users (...well, almost all of them are moderators now, but that's not relevant to the hosting).
    – Ryan M
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 10:13
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    The Community account is the only "special" bot account. The ones created by users are just normal accounts, which happen to be used by a bot.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 15:54
  • @Ano Yes, I know, it's UID is -1. I recall most official SE bot accounts have negative UIDs. Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 16:01
  • @Tec There are other SE bots?
    – Anonymous
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 16:02
  • @Ano Yep, there's also Feeds and Jon Quixote but those are chat-specific bots. BTW I recall there're also some other official SE chatbots, but I can't remember their names. Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


Well, they're not really bots.
They are just regular user accounts, like yours and mine. So there was a user that at some point wrote this question, and manages these accounts. It is not illegal to have multiple accounts, as long as you abide by the rules.

For these accounts to have any use as "bots", they need to earn some reputation to be able to do the required interactions. They need to earn enough reputation to join chat, for example.

The Community user is a special type of account. It's already set apart by its curious userID, which is -1. This is really an account designed by the Stack Exchange team to handle all sort of routine processes and scripts. Other "bots" are simply "abused" regular users. There have been feature requests in the past to have a dedicated type of account especially for bots.

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    Oh, thanks, I understand. Someone had to ask a good question to give the bot the reputation it needed to perform its functions, right? Thanks! Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:57
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    Yes, other ways would be to suggest edits, but thats tedious. Asking a good question is the best approach IMHO, also see the question @Martin linked under your OP.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:58
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    @TheTechExpertGuy my bot account here on MSE is an example for gaining rep from edits initially : meta.stackexchange.com/users/269324/…
    – rene
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 20:55
  • Having a bot interact with the site by asking questions or posting answers is problematic for other reasons; it requires the account owner to keep track of when other users try to interact with the bot account, etc. The SOBotics community's recommendation these days seems to be to use edit suggestions to gain enough rep for the bot account to be useful (and even then take it slow).
    – tripleee
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 8:56

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