There are a certain class of system behaviors that apply to new users, not because they don't have sufficient rep within the system, but because they simply are too new to know the culture -- what is expected/acceptable/etc. For example, accepting an answer or creating a good tag. Since these behaviors are intended to help the new user acclimate to the site and/or protect the site from a user with insufficient experience, they really don't apply to people who have been using the software stack on other sites. We should be able to assume that they are sufficiently acquainted with the software to use it correctly without nagging or applying "bumper guards" to protect the system.

This related to a another question I saw this AM about not having reminders to accept answers for users on a new site when that user has sufficient rep not to see those reminders on another site. I posted it as a separate question because I'd like to see these behaviors dropped in toto for users with sufficient experience on another site.

My suggestion (as on the related question) is to use an experienced bit (or bits) instead of rep directly to control these sorts of behaviors. A bit is set on when a user achieves sufficient rep on one of the sites to meet the rep rule for that site. The status of the bit is then propagated to any linked sites, disabling the related behaviors on those sites as well. When signing up for a new site, the state of this bit(s) is copied from your account's previous state. Keeping common information in a single spot would be another (better) way to handle this.

Related: Don't Remind Me to "Consider Accept Answers" on StackExchange

  • I think this is a good idea. However, what new user features would be removed? Just the accepting answer suggestion? I can't really think of any others. – jjnguy Jul 27 '10 at 14:56
  • @Justin - inability to create tags with only 100 rep. That was really annoying for me. I'm sure that there are more -- and likely will be more in the future. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 14:58
  • @tvan I would argue that people with only 101 rep shouldn't be able to create tags. Just because you have 'mastered' the subject matter on one site doesn't mean you have enough knowledge to create tags on a completely different subject matter. – jjnguy Jul 27 '10 at 15:12
  • @Justin, How DARE you deface my beautiful answer? It was so carefully coiffed! – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 15:24
  • @devinb, um...I was bored while waiting for some code to compile. – jjnguy Jul 27 '10 at 15:30
  • @Justin Processing batch data for me. 100 records, dot dot dot. 200 records, dot dot dot. Waiting for 18000 records or an error. – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 15:34
  • @Justin -- I'm ok with the rep limit being higher for some behaviors before that bit is turned on. I just think that once I'm trusted to use the tagging facilities on one site, I think I ought to be trusted to use them on another site. Knowing when to use existing tags and when to create new ones has less to do with the domain than the tagging feature capabilities once you know enough about the domain to be interested in participating in the site. If I've shown the interest to achieve enough rep elsewhere it's likely I know how to use the tagging system. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 15:37
  • See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/58583/… – Pops Jul 27 '10 at 15:39
  • @tvan, I could get behind a proposal to lower the rep limit for experienced users. But I think it should still be higher than 101. Maybe if you have the 'experienced flag' set, the rep levels are halved. – jjnguy Jul 27 '10 at 15:44
  • @devinb that was me yesterday. And the errors weren't occurring until the last ~10%. – jjnguy Jul 27 '10 at 15:45
  • @popular - I'm specifically not talking about getting privileges tied to the rep system that are based on "trust" earned. Tagging and reminder nags are based on rep, but aren't (or weren't originally) tied to "trust". They're more about knowing how to use the software than "trust". – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 15:46
  • @tvanfosson, I did not vote to close, or even use the word "dupe"; sorry if I gave that impression. I just thought it was relevant. – Pops Jul 27 '10 at 15:55
  • @popular - np. I just didn't want anyone confused over what I was suggesting. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 17:34

In your comments you specifically mentioned creating tags. I think it's arguable that experience with SE sites does not mean that we are adequately familiar with tagging conventions on new sites.

If you are not a Server Fault user, do you know how operating systems are tagged? If you haven't used the new Gaming SE site, are games tagged by full name or using abbreviations?

By preventing even experienced SE users from creating tags on new sites we will limit the tag clutter and retag work that has to go on there.

  • 1
    We've been using the Gaming SE site for 3 weeks and we're still in debate between full names and abbreviations! – Grace Note Jul 27 '10 at 15:16
  • There's good/bad tagging and settled conventions. Just because there aren't settled conventions doesn't mean that I'm not able to create a meaningful and useful tag. Someone who has used the system extensively knows to use the suggested tags when they exist and are appropriate and when to create a new one. In my case there were no existing tags that applied and I was unable to create a new one in WebApps despite being a 100K user in SO. That seems just wrong. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 15:33
  • @tvan - how about this: when a 100K user joins a new site, his avatar will glow with a light so bright lesser users will have to avert their eyes. :P – user27414 Jul 27 '10 at 15:54
  • just trying to make the point that I 'get it'. I've invested enough in the sites to understand how they work and shouldn't be nagged about it. It's customer "un"-friendly. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 17:39

Community Culture

You may know the mechanisms of tagging, commenting, voting. However, they mean different things on most sites. For instance, Meta has different meanings for downvotes than the other sites. Meta also has different tagging rules.


  • Special rules on meta


  • "Mathematically correct" on MathOverflow (I assume)
  • "Solved my bug" on StackOverflow
  • "Worked for me" on SuperUser
  • ????? on Meta


  • "I disagree" on Meta
  • "Incorrect/doesn't work" on other sites.


  • Meta. NO Sarcasm allowed. Never. Also, no hyperbole.
  • StackOverflow has a lower tolerance for snarky comments, and is generally more polite. A joke that would be appropriate for Meta is not necessarily appropriate for SO.

There are a lot more examples, but the point is that understanding the mechanism does not imply understanding the use. I did not go all the way to [Editing] but that would certainly be something that you need to be steeped in the community to understand.

Each site could create their own rules around these things (I don't know how extensible the engine is) but they certainly WILL have their own culture surrounding their use.

No, I don't feel it is appropriate that any of your privileges on one site should extend to any others.

Privacy Concern

I think this runs dangerously close to "the facebook pit". There is a certain point where data-aggregation gets close to privacy invasion.

This is NOT it. I would not like to create the impression that I'm saying that it is. But there's a reason why it heads up my response (tirade).

There should be separation of domain. My behaviour on meta (wise, charming, handsome) does not mean that those things are accurate to my StackOverflow profile, nor real-life. Jeff has already stated that the only way to dissociate accounts is to create a second liveID. It is a subtle move toward the concept that all the data will be held in one central repository that will hold all of our StackExchange information. Maybe I sound like a doomsday prophet, but I think that the way to prevent these things is through awareness at the start, rather than anger at the result.

Ultimately, I like that my accounts on each SE site are separate.

  • 2
    I would never use sarcasm on meta, and take serious offense to you violating the sanctity of this site by even suggesting that someone might. – user27414 Jul 27 '10 at 15:29
  • @Jon B If you read carefully, I stated in VERY CLEAR UNEQUIVOCABLE TERMS that sarcasm is NEVER to be used. Also all caps: completely unacceptable. – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 15:35
  • I'm not talking about the base mechanisms of voting, etc. I'm talking about the nags and piddly restrictions built-in to instruct and protect the system from new users. For example, it used to be that anyone could create tags, but lots of new users didn't get how to use existing tags when appropriate and were creating all sorts of variants. Once you've been on the site long enough to garner some minimum rep, it's assumed you have learned how to use the existing tags first so you get the ability to create new ones. It's these sorts of "new user", not "untrusted user" behaviors I'm addressing – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 15:43
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    @tvanfosson, but again, the fact that I know how what tags are appropriate on StackOverflow does not mean I know what tags I should create on StackExchange. – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 16:59
  • @devinb - I think I know my problem well enough to tag it. I think I know the system well enough to use the existing tags that are appropriate. The "delay" in granting tagging privileges has more to do with people not getting that they should be using the suggested (and "accepted") tags rather than creating something similar to one of them when they first start using the system. I don't think it was intended to imply that people didn't know how to tag their own posts until they have a certain amount of rep. The amount of rep required is not nearly high enough for that to be the case. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 17:52
  • @tvanfosson, lets say there's a community that has ALL tags start with the letter b. It's not a "rule" it's just something that happened and they want to keep it that way. This is something (foolish) that would be apparent to anyone who uses the site. But in your scenario, you don't use the site. You just assume that your use of other sites means that you understand this one. Obviously that's a contrived and stupid example, but regardless it's their community, and they could do that if they felt like it. – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 17:56
  • @devinb - fwiw, this the question that bothers me: webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/4610/…. I really would have liked to tag it "sitefinity configuration active-directory" -- given the choices I was offered at the time I had to tag it "cms". You tell me which classifies it better? – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 17:56
  • @tvanfosson I suppose it depends on what the community wants. If they allowed anyone to create tags in the beta phase, they'd have millions of tags. The fact that you are a bright and intelligent user means nothing. I am not willing to assume that every user of the other sites could be held to the same standard. – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 18:03
  • @devinb - it's not "every user", it's every user who has participated in another in the family of sites to the extent that they've been granted tagging privileges -- i.e., they could tag in another site. That is a much stronger guarantee that they "get" how tagging works. A side benefit would be that by decoupling it from a direct relationship to rep, you could revoke that ability from people who demonstrate that despite rep, they are lousy at tagging. – tvanfosson Jul 27 '10 at 18:16
  • @tvanfosson: part of that tagging problem is that users who do have the permission still don't do it right. – devinb Jul 27 '10 at 18:20

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