I think that the reputation you start off with when linking your account with other Stack Exchange sites should be increased. For example, I was recently linked to Print 1 to 1000 in C++ without semi-colons on Code Golf, and one of the highest upvoted answers isn't even legal C++, but I can't downvote it- requires 125 rep. In fact, most of those answers aren't legal C++.

Quick edit: Illegal C++ is not the same as exhibiting Undefined Behaviour. Illegal C++ will not compile. Undefined Behaviour will do something undefined at run-time, such as signals or structured exceptions or debugger breaking or pretty much anything. There is a clear and distinct difference and accepting UB does not imply accepting code that doesn't compile.

This is the same with other privileges too, not just downvoting. For example, on SO, I can edit posts without needing to be reviewed, which is fine and great. Ever had a complaint about an edit I've made? Not to my knowledge. But if I want to edit a post on Game Development, then I still have to excuse myself and ask other people to approve it- even though I'm perfectly trusted to edit other people's posts here. Does the Stack Exchange network think that I can be trusted to edit other people's posts without approval or not? The SE Network is one network. I'm one person. There is one, fixed, relationship here.

The fundamental trouble here is that some privileges are about trust, such as editing without needing approval, and reputation is about knowing the subject matter and having people agree with you and being around for a while without getting banned for horrific crimes against humanity. For a person that's new to Stack Exchange then I can totally understand the need to link them, but since I'm not new to Stack Exchange, then it would be nice if you could infer from the fact that I can be trusted not to abuse my edit, downvote, etc privileges here that I might not abuse them on the other sites, too. Alternatively, the reputation on new linked accounts could be proportional to my current rep on SO, instead of a fixed value.

Edit: You're completely missing the point. When I'm on SO, do you think I go editing all the Bash questions because I've got high rep in the C++ tag? Of course not. I only edit the questions that I'm qualified to edit- and that won't be different just because I'm not qualified to edit questions about Photography instead of not qualified to edit questions about Bash. On the other hand, there will be questions on other sites that cover material that I will be qualified to edit.

  • Ok, I went looking through your answers on SO, and found this one which looked very nice. My rep gives me the privileges to make any edits I want, so I chose to exercise those privileges by not changing a damn thing because my C++ is very rusty and I'd just mess things up, so I made the edits I wanted (which is to say none) and went on my way.
    – McCannot
    Jun 30, 2011 at 16:44
  • You missed the part where the question says "Undefined behaviour is allowed". Jun 30, 2011 at 17:16
  • @Kevin: The Standard has a clear definition of undefined behaviour. Code that will not compile is not included.
    – DeadMG
    Jun 30, 2011 at 18:13

4 Answers 4


For example, on SO, I can edit posts without needing to be reviewed, which is fine and great. Ever had a complaint about an edit I've made? Not to my knowledge. But if I want to edit a post on Game Development, then I still have to excuse myself and ask other people to approve it- even though I'm perfectly trusted to edit other people's posts here

You may not know enough about game development to be trusted to edit. In your example, SO and GameDev may be related, but what about Photography? Should you be trusted to edit posts there because you know C++?
I don't think so.

  • 7
    I should be trusted not to edit things I don't understand. You make it sound like I'll go editing willy-nilly anything I can get my hands on, but even on SO, I only have experience in C++, C, Lua at a stretch (and maybe Java/C#)- but the site gives me the power to go editing all the Python, Ruby, Bash, etc questions. Do I? No, because I know I don't have the experience in that subject matter. The same applies to Photography.
    – DeadMG
    Jun 30, 2011 at 16:18
  • 7
    -1: trusting a user doesn't mean that you're assuming that he's expert on everything. trusting a users means, that you're assuming he won't do stupid things, like editing post w/o any knowledge of the subject.
    – vartec
    Jun 30, 2011 at 16:40

Some privileges are about trust, yes. Others are about knowledge, such as tag-related privileges, I'd say. Others are really about personal investment in the site--the close/reopen voting and 10k+ privileges are more about voluntary community service[0] than anything else, really.

The community-oriented privileges should always require lots of rep from the site itself, to become familiar with the way things are done there.

Knowledge-based privileges are theoretically site-specific, but in practice there's some amount of overlap between all the technology-related sites. I really doubt the SE team wants to try to quantify the exact amount of shared knowledge base between two sites, so it's easier to just assume they're all independent. On the other hand, a case could be made that having enough trust from one site should carry over to other sites in the form of trusting people not to misuse knowledge-related privileges when outside their area of expertise. This is already effectively the case on SO, where it's easy to get 10k rep from a very limited set of tags (just look at my profile for proof), which implies that SO trusts the user enough to not abuse those powers by mucking with things they don't understand.

[0]: Yes, 10k privileges are like being sentenced to do community service. Helping to keep the site tidy is your punishment for spending too much time on it.


The subject matter isn't the conflict here. There are a number of sites which might have C++ on them, but they are different sites for a reason.

Each site has its own FAQ, its own meta, and its own way of doing things. You may know a lot about C++ and a few other languages. Here's a question on Skeptics.SE which references C++. Can you be trusted to compose a good answer? If you're not familiar with the attributes of a good answer on Skeptics, you're very likely to fail. You might compose a great answer if that question was asked on SO, but Skeptics is different.

Code Golf shares many users and rules with Stack Overflow, but your comments that code is not legal C++ are based in an assumption that all code should be legal. That's not necessarily the case, many Code Golf contests allow you to use implementation-defined behavior if you specify the compiler and version number. This question even adds:

Solutions not requiring any compiler flags are preferred. Please mention any you use if you go against this. Undefined behaviour is allowed, [emphasis added] so please specify the compiler and version you're using.

That's not conventional (indeed, it would be barely permissible) on Stack Overflow, but this question is on Code Golf.

If your suggestion were implemented, you might have edited the question to not allow undefined behavior or require compiler-specific flags, and edited the answers to be legal C++. That would be the wrong response. You know a lot about C++, but you don't know a lot about Code Golf: get used to their community, and then you will be able to edit so that content conforms to their community standards.

  • You're wrong. Undefined Behaviour is very well defined in C++ and covers strange run-time behaviour- not code that's flat out illegal and shouldn't compile. Should I also submit "P" as an answer and say that it exhibits UB? There's a very clear and well-defined difference between UB and the illegality of the code in those answers.
    – DeadMG
    Jun 30, 2011 at 18:16
  • @DeadMG: Furthermore, code golfing is exactly the time to be as precise as possible about that sort of thing, to make sure problem criteria are well-defined. This is why the site's FAQ specifies that problems should have clear and objective specifications.
    – McCannot
    Jun 30, 2011 at 18:43

My opinion is similar to Juan Manuel's, but I'm more concerned that a newcomer to a SE site who has a high rep on another SE site might not be familiar enough with the community to start editing right off the bat. Yes, StackExchange sites all follow similar rules, but some of the culture or unspoken rules may vary.

Just as an example, what if someone with 10k rep from English.StackExchange came to StackOverflow and had the power to edit there immediately? They may start making lots of trivial edits to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation because this may be normal on their site (or it may not, I don't really know). On StackOverflow, such trivial edits and linguistic nitpicking may be unwelcome and annoying to some, but they haven't been around long enough to know that.

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