Why is it that when we associate our account between meta, SO and super user we get 100 reputation points, provided on one site reputation points is at least 200?

I am not criticizing or disagreeing with this feature at all.
But what is the rationale behind it? Like we get reps for posting a good question, good answer. Makes sense!

But when we are associating our accounts, we are merely updating our profile, telling other members that we have accounts on other sites too. So why 100 reputation point for this?

In other words, how this act (of associating accounts) helps the community?

I searched meta before posting it, but couldn't find relevant discussion. I apologize if it has already been discussed. Kindly help me with this confusion.

Thanks for your time.

  • 3
    I can't explain why it was decided for the +100, but one good benefit of associated accounts occurs with migration. If a post of yours is migrated to another site, then having an associated account over there allows you to gain ownership of that post. This helps not only the user whose post was migrated, but also helps the system and the community by identifying that these are the same user. – Grace Note Jul 9 '10 at 17:33

It's a small enough amount of reputation to give you the abilities to do the every-day types of things, such as upvote, downvote, and comment, but not so much that it gives you abilities you shouldn't have without more experience on the site (such as retagging and voting to close).

Once you've gotten 200 rep on one of the sites, it's assumed that the system trusts you enough to do the normal type of activities without a problem on another site. It's the little bit of help you need to get involved with a site without necessarily having enough content knowledge to immediately start asking questions or providing answers.

There's also a feature request for a similar type of thing at a higher level.

  • 2
    That doesn't explain why just with 463 rep I should be able to just associate my SO account with a Stack Exchange site and get a jump to 563 rep and the privilege to retag questions on SO. – PleaseStand Oct 18 '10 at 2:23
  • @ideal: You don't get the rep bonus on the source site (at least you're not supposed to). Let's say you're on 3 sites with reputations of 50, 50, and 300. After bonuses, you'd have 150, 150, and 300. – Jon Seigel Oct 18 '10 at 2:56
  • There seems to be a bug here, I just got +100 reputation on stackoverflow.com by associating to photo.stackexchange.com – mpontillo Nov 16 '10 at 8:08
  • @Jon: O rly? Which site is the source site, anyway? – SamB Nov 28 '10 at 20:46
  • @Sam: My mistake. I checked through all of my reputation audits on MSO, SO, SU, SF. You do in fact get the bonus on the source site. (Although I'm not sure that makes total sense.) – Jon Seigel Nov 29 '10 at 0:28
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    @Jon: Well, if nothing else, it makes things more symmetrical and gives you one less thing for users to trip over and complain about. Or would, if the users around here were properly selfish ;-P. – SamB Nov 30 '10 at 5:30

Like most rep rewards, the hope is to incentivize desireable behavior and reflect a user's likely ability to positively contribute to the community.

  • Likely ability to contribute - If you have 200+ rep on another site, that makes you somewhat more likely to be a positive contributor on any site than if you have none (all else being equal).
  • Accountability is a plus in a rep-driven system, and linking your new account to your established one makes you less likely to be jerk on the site where you have nothing to lose, as it can easily be seen by those on the site where your reputation presumably already has some value to you.
  • Appropriate transfer on migration when a question is moved from one site to another is one that I overlooked. Credit to @Grace Note for pointing this out in the comments.

There are actually a lot of reasons why the StackOverflow community would benefit from having accounts integrated

  • Space: Depending on their DB architecture, it might require two extra rows to maintain three accounts over maintaining one, linked account. This one is almost certainly trivial, but if it is true, it will become more important as more and more StackExchange sites are created.
  • Accountability: As jaydles mentioned, when all the accounts are linked users may be less inclined to do something stupid or inappropriate on a site if they think it will reflect on badly on them on their "main" site.
  • Adoption: On the stackoverflow blog, there has been much ado made about "critical mass". Essentially, it is important that the site get enough views and buy-in to be a self-sustaining system. The more rep a user has, the more likely they are to stay. By adding an associated account bonus, it makes joining a new site even easier, and so the users will (might) be more likely to become strong contributors on two sites instead of one.
  • Community Involvement: To continue on the last point about adoption, there is also an important reason for the team to want each user to see all the sites as connected. They want someone to see that when they go on ServerFault, it is still possible for users to notice that the user has a huge reputation on SuperUser. This means that your time spent on one site isn't completely wasted on the next, and it will show your dedication.
  • Respect: An extension on adoption, in recognizing that a user has contributed to one site, the account sharing allows the SO team to bestow on them the ability to comment immediately, instead of waiting until they earn 50 points.
  • Tracking: Having the accounts associated means that is will be easier for the SO team to gain analytics and usage data, which helps them perfect their sites.
  • Integration: Obviously, I have no insight about the plans of the StackExchange team, but if they wanted to create some sort of landing portal (which they have explicitly said they don't want) they could do that much easier if all the accounts are associated. It enables them to create more and more links between sites, so that if you are on StackOverflow and you suddenly think of a ServerFault question, you could simply hit a button and having it be posted there, without having to log in or navigate to that site.
    They could theoretically also federate all the notifications, so that when you are notified in one site, it notifies the others. Not necessarily that it is a good idea, but simply the fact that being able to make links between users across the trilogy allows the team more flexibility, which in the end returns dividends to all the users.
  • Space seems quite unlikely to be a reason. You still have different accounts for the different sites, and in fact the linkage may involve even more database rows... – SamB Nov 28 '10 at 20:48
  • Also, note that they have added the notification federation thingy, at least for reply notification. And it's very handy, especially with all the SE 2.0 sites that are coming out/have come out. – SamB Nov 28 '10 at 20:50

I think it has the benefit of associating all your account on different pages with one user behind it, so technically you have one account for multiple pages, not multiple accounts for multiple pages.

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