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Why not merge reputation across SO, SF, and SU?

Edit-2: If you want, I am fine narrowing my topic to tex.stackexchange,com and SO. TeX is a programming language, differentiated from the main SO site, I imagine for neatness, or compactness. I contest that there is a large difference between (C# and Fortran) and (Java and LaTeX).

Programmers often find themselves working in several languages, some people program in C++ and Java. It just so happens that one of mine is LaTeX (including some very programmatic things like PerlTeX and TikZ/Pgf). I keep seeing that LaTeX questions should be moved and/or are closed on SO for being off topic. I just wish that I didn't have to work towards two different sets of reputation goals, one for each site.

Therefore, just like we can link profiles between sites, I ask that we be able to link reputation across sites.

Now I understand, somewhat, why a person with reputation at SO possibly shouldn't have it at https://cooking.stackexchange.com/ , for the reason that they may not be proficient at it, and rep says to other users that you are knowledgeable in the field. However a counter argument from the perspective of the community maintenance of the sites, a person with reputation has proven that they are responsible in their use of the site. So perhaps even cooking and SO could share.

Edit: ok, as per the link in the comment, if we don't want to link the rep points, for the reason of appearing an expert, what about linking the privileges, since that is really where the community trust is shown. This is at least something of what I am after.

  • You know, I really don't care if you vote me down, leave me a note saying why! I ask this question in full sincerity. Nov 2 '10 at 20:38
  • 2
    downvotes on Meta may just mean disagreement with your idea. This has been suggested before and was declined. This is the closest duplicate I can find at the moment: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6336/…
    – Brandon
    Nov 2 '10 at 20:43
  • @Joel, regarding your edit, that was Jeff Yates suggestion as well. It was still declined.
    – Brandon
    Nov 2 '10 at 20:52
  • @Joel, I downvoted you. Brandon was right about why. See the FAQ about how MSO is different for more. But even though I disagree with this particular feature request, welcome to MSO!
    – Pops
    Nov 2 '10 at 21:29
  • LaTeX questions that are even vaguely "programmy" should not be closed on Stack Overflow. That was established long ago and is not affected by the existence of the specialty site. That said, LaTeX is a bit of an oddball: a programming language that many user never use for anything but simple layout. It got a different site because there was a demand for it---not a demand to remove it from SO, mind you, but a demand by LaTeX users. Nov 2 '10 at 21:31
  • Going through the last moth of questions tagges [latex] I only see a few closes. One of the How do I get character accents?" character and one that was closed here after the OP re-asked on TeX, LaTeX and Friends. Nov 2 '10 at 21:36

Reputation is a measurement of your contribution to a community, and the extent to which that community trusts you. Each SE site is a separate community (even the ones that are somewhat similar), hence you have a different reputation on each site.

Note that you can get an account association bonus on each site (provided you have sufficient rep on another site). This will open up the most basic features without requiring any effort on your part.

As an example of why this is good the way it is, consider the following:

  1. What tags are appropriate on a site?
  2. What topics are allowed on a site?
  3. Where is the line for subjective questions (programmers.SE is very different from SO, for example).

If you don't yet know what is appropriate for a site, you won't be able to effectively use your privileges to close, edit and retag. You must first earn the community's trust.

  • I understand this distinction, but I ask you, why should LaTeX, a programming language, be different from all other programming languages. Sure it has differences from other languages, but all languages are different. A C# programmer gets to keep his rep when talking about a Fortran question. Nov 2 '10 at 20:56
  • @Joel - Why is there a separate LaTeX site at all? There appears to be enough of a community around LaTeX to warrant it, which tells me there are differences between that community and SO. That being the case, the LaTeX.SE community would have its own standards and norms, which may differ from SO. SO trusts me to edit, vote to close, and even delete closed questions. If I were to have those powers on the LaTeX site, I might not apply them in a manner consistent with the standards of the community. So I have to earn their trust first.
    – user27414
    Nov 2 '10 at 21:00
  • Maybe its just me then. I wouldn't have a separate community. Maybe I'm the only one. Or somehow make it a sub community. Nov 2 '10 at 21:02
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    @Joel - frankly I don't really get it, either. I don't know why there is a Unix community outside of Server Fault, either. I get that video games, photography, and cooking are completely different, but I think some of these new sites are going too far. So it's just me, too :)
    – user27414
    Nov 2 '10 at 21:03
  • There is also an Ubuntu site (askubuntu.com) as well as the Unix site (unix.stackexchange.com) although the Ubuntu one should be the unix for beginners site ("where is the system manager?") Nov 2 '10 at 21:06

This has too much potential for gaming the system, and doesn't really reflect what reputation is about. Although I find the wish to "be someone" on other sites understandable, I'm not sure it would be a good thing.

However, something I would really welcome is the possibility to start bounties on other sites. That way, what you have gained on site A by answering questions, you can invest on site B to get answers in an area you don't know.

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