Follow up from: Discrepancy between user counts on Leagues versus Users page

I feel that the /leagues page should not count unregistered users. They have no rights on SE and can do very little. Nor will they ever garner rep (?is this right?), so why count them in the user count at the top of /leagues? It may be advantageous in a marketing sense to beef up the numbers but there are surely many other better metrics, like page views. At present, it is misleading because

  1. If we were to count anons, then anyone "use"-ing the site from Google referrals is a user too? They may not even leave a question or answer, but they are not counted.
  2. The count of anons is an inexact science at best, since anons can spawn and respawn while being the same person (ok - so can registered users - but I think that is a fault in itself)

This request is to either

  1. report only registered users, so it

    • matches with the count of users viewable in /users
    • matches with the count of users when tallying up the pages-count x user-per-page in /leagues/4/alltime/- represents the domain of users that will ever possibly feature in the league tables (granted each period will only show a subset)

  2. In some way show a 2nd count, e.g.

Meta Stack Overflow
Q&A for the Stack Exchange engine powering these sites
total users: 24,940 (19,000 registered)


Meta Stack Overflow
Q&A for the Stack Exchange engine powering these sites<br>
total users: 24,940
registered users: 19,000

2 Answers 2


There's a difference between anonymous (no account at all) and unregistered (account, but not registered). Unregistered users are users. They may not have all the bells and whistles of a registered user, but they earn reputation just like anyone else and enjoy some level of their own benefits.

You can get pretty far without ever registering, and I know I've seen people go for very long periods without registration. And when they earn healthy amounts of reputation, that means they are providing good contributions to this site, and we should welcome that.

That's what reputation indicates, after all - it's an accumulation of positive content. If we get reputation coming to unregistered users, then they have every right to be a part of our leagues. Registration is not an indication of the capacity of a user to provide excellent questions and answers.

  • The point is, what is the value of showing them in leagues at all? Can you keep a cookie indefinitely? So the question remains, are they real "users"? Yes they have left more tracks but once the cookie expires, they are just another anon visitor with little to no association with the site. Mar 2, 2011 at 19:01
  • 1
    @Richard Yes, they are 100% real users. They can restore their cookie at any time, if they have an email provided to use. I don't see why the ability to see one's name ranked high among other positive contributors should be a privilege only to those who have to register. Painless as it is, we pride ourselves on this Network for not requiring registration to participate in the Q&A.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Mar 2, 2011 at 19:03

There are three classes of users, not two (these might not be the right terms, but oh well):

  • Anonymous users haven't done anything on the site. They don't have a user ID, and aren't listed anywhere
  • Unregistered users have posted a question/answer. They have a user ID, a profile page, etc.; they just don't have an OpenID, and are tracked by their cookie
  • Registered users have actually linked an OpenID with their account

Unregistered users can't gain extra privileges vote or flag, but they can accumulate rep, so it makes sense for them to be in the leagues. Anonymous users haven't gained rep because they haven't done anything; they don't appear anywhere

  • 3
    This is not correct; unregistered users CAN gain privileges. They simply can never vote, and we consider a whole class of actions votes, like flagging for mod attention. Mar 2, 2011 at 23:13
  • @Jeff Oh, I totally misunderstood wherever I read that. Thanks Mar 2, 2011 at 23:15

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