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Buffered Voting

When browsing various StackExchange sites that I have no reputation on I frequently see great questions or answers. I tend to use these sites frequently, but don't yet have the expertise to answer questions or the need to ask questions.

If I do ever hit the 15-rep level, it would be ideal to go back and upvote all the questions and answers that had helped me. In practice, I will never make the time to actually do this.

Would it make sense to add a feature where:

  1. New users are able to upvote arbitrary questions / answers prior to earning 15-rep;

  2. Such upvotes would not affect the reputation of other users;

  3. Such upvotes would not be visible to any user other than the up-voter herself;

  4. If/when the user reaches 15-rep, these "valueless" votes would become genuine votes.

The goal is to allow new users to lurk for some time, still being able to vote on great questions and answers, with the ability for such votes to later become meaningful once the user contributes to the community (i.e., earns 15 rep).


I don't think this is such a great idea. For one thing, it would be confusing; you're upvoting something that's getting an upvote that does nothing until you reach a threshold; it will be a nightmare, especially for new users. One other thing that might be a problem is gaming the system; you can go on an upvoting spree, hit 15 rep and someone suddenly has a lot of extra rep (ok, this could be easily solvable, but it still requires extra work for the developers in trying to find the edge cases).

I'm sorry to say this, but maybe if you can't earn the 15 points, you don't know enough about the topic to actually be allowed to upvote. Also, 15 rep is a really low barrier; you can easily earn that much rep.

Keep in mind that having 200 rep on any Stack Exchange site will earn you 100 rep on any other site on the network, simply by associating your account (usually done automatically).

  • Gaming the system before/after gaining 15 rep seems the same to me. Confusion of users would be a potential problem that would need to be carefully thought about. I wasn't aware of the 200 rep feature (which solves the problem for me); but I did lurk on SO for quite some time before actually posting anything: Lack of rep != inability to earn rep. – davidg Mar 25 '11 at 7:49

You have over 200 rep on SO, this gives you 100 bonus rep on all other SE sites, more than enough to up-vote.

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