Update #2

As the site is now in a Public Beta state, all rep thresholds have been set to normal public beta ones, as dictated here.

If you feel that a specific threshold should be altered, please open a separate meta-question to discuss it.


To clarify, since it appears that this may have been confusing or I could have been more clear.

Originally, this site, GenAI was intended to go straight into a Public Beta and skip a Private Beta. Due to that, we opted to start this site with Private Beta rep thresholds for its privileges.

Since we changed plans for several reasons and did a short Private Beta. It became clear that rep thresholds needed to be reassessed, hence this question. If and when this site graduated to an entire site, rep thresholds for privileges would have been restored to what the norm network-wide is, if not sooner, depending on how it impacted the site.

To be clear, the plan is currently to launch with typical, public beta rep thresholds. This post is intended to discuss if anything should be changed given its unique creation process.

When planning out the GenAI SE site internally at Stack Overflow, we discussed rep thresholds and lowering them to encourage more participation on the site.

In particular, staff believed this would be a good idea as we believe there is a strong possibility that many of the users who come to this site will have little to no experience with the Stack Exchange network and many of its intricacies. In addition, given the unique nature of this site's origin, it makes sense to artificially lower the reputation thresholds so users can easily access different privileges.

Given that, internally, we had determined that privileges should be set to the following thresholds.

1 Rep threshold:

  • Up voting
  • new user restrictions
  • down voting
  • tag creation
  • close votes
  • Comment Everywhere
  • View close votes

The following would be set to these specific thresholds:

  • See vote counts -> 50
  • Edit freely, SE and LQP/A queue -> 500
  • Vote to close and reopen -> 15
  • Review Tag wiki Edits -> 750
  • Moderator Tools -> 1000
  • Reduce captchas ->1000
  • Protect Questions -> 1750
  • Trust user -> 2000
  • Access to site analytics -> 2500

Largely this mirrors the private beta thresholds laid out here. The altered rep thresholds are what we set the site to launch with. Of course, this was all under the premise that the site would be launching straight to a public beta, which we did deviate from and started in a short private beta instead.

Would you like to keep these thresholds? Alter them or stick to a typical public beta threshold limit for the launch?

  • How will post-bans work?
    – Wicket
    Jul 22 at 14:49
  • Are we ready to handle association bonus users? How will known brilliant but problematic users be handled? Might it be possible to suspend them quickly if they show the same bad behavior shown on other sites? Might it be possible to remove the association bonus for all users?
    – Wicket
    Jul 22 at 14:50
  • Is it possible to temporarily suspend the association bonus for all users until the site graduates? Do we know how many GenAI SE users are refraining from using their moderation privileges due to the moderation strike? P.S. I'm using an alternate account not used to sign the moderation strike letter because I already signed it using my old account. Should I sign the letter using this and any other alternate account used on this site? I.E. I create a new account in order to be able to review the onboarding experience.
    – Wicket
    Jul 22 at 14:56
  • 2
    This question is currently being discussed on MSE.
    – cocomac
    Jul 23 at 15:11
  • 2
    @cocomac meta meta effect? Jul 23 at 16:28
  • 4
    wait hold on... this is just for the public beta stage right? That was my assumption, but that point doesn't seem to be clear. Is this supposed to be a permanent thing for this site?
    – starball
    Jul 23 at 20:20
  • Should we be worried about people coming from other sites (perhaps using alt accounts) and downvoting and voting to close everything because of negative feelings towards genAI and how and when the site was created? [Also, I'm confused as to how downvoting answers with 1 rep would work.] Jul 24 at 2:20
  • 4
    Hiya, looks like the reputation requirement has been bumped up to public beta. Could you edit/post an update? Thanks!
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 25 at 17:08
  • @AndrewT.: Spencer has done so now. :)
    – V2Blast
    Jul 25 at 21:56

10 Answers 10


If you go ahead with any of this, please disable users from getting association anywhere else on the network from the reputation they got on this site. Lowering the thresholds should decouple the site from the rest of the network to avoid further destabilization.


Disclaimer: this answer is harsh, largely because I feel it would be a total mess if implemented. That said, this isn't intended to attack anyone or be taken personally. It's a criticism of the plan, not of any users or staff members.

Tl;dr this plan would be a massive disaster - the entire idea needs to be re-done.

Voting rings & socks

Letting one-rep users upvote is a nearly guaranteed way to encourage voting rings and sockpuppet accounts. It means users can create two accounts to upvote each other. Sure, normally it's possible with enough effort. But this would make it trivial. Worse, they can get the rep here and do it on other sites. Your proposal doesn't even mention the (massive) risk of that or any ways to mitigate it. Why was this even suggested without a migitaiton in mind, or at minimum a mention of the issue. We don't have any site mods beyond CMs, many of the mods are on strike. There aren't people to deal with a massive influx of voting rings right now. This is a terrible plan and almost certainly going to be a massive disaster.

There's an extremely good reason we limit who can up/down vote. How many new users will have the knowledge of SE to realize that votes aren't to thank people? And that if someone comments a suggestion, you can't go and downvote all their posts? We require users to have some knowledge of SE to vote for a very good reason.*

*Yes, I have some opinions about rep being a poor measure of trustworthiness. That doesn't mean just letting everyone go crazy with privileges is a solution.

See vote counts

Eh, I feel anyone should be able to see vote counts. It's possible with the API anyways. Earlier, on MSE, it was stated it was a server load issue. If that issue wouldn't be a problem, then IMO it should be either one rep or very low rep (under twenty).

It's be nice for See Vote Counts to be one-rep on Meta, though. Also, on per-site Meta, I feel downvoting could be the same as upvoting in terms of rep. But that would not create voting rings as Meta votes don't give rep.

Close votes

You state

Vote to close and reopen -> 15

But you also list Close votes (and viewing close votes) as one rep. Can you clarify this? CVs need a minimum rep for a very good reason. Do we want people revenge-close voting? If we're going to let everyone downvote each other, showing them who closed their question is a sure-fire way to get revenge downvotes (or revenge closevotes, I suppose).


Eh, I don't know. Beyond being high enough to minimize spam bots, I don't have an opinion here. And frankly, SmokeDetector does an amazing job of this (or, when it isn't on strike, anyways). Someone with evidence of how effective captchas are (not me) would be in a better position to comment.

Note on private beta thresholds

You stated

Largely this mirrors the private beta thresholds laid out here.

Sure, but the private beta is by definition private. It isn't public, it isn't advertised super widely, and (hopefully!) a lot of people in it are familiar with SE and know better than to commit voting fraud.

If someone is being a troublemaker, the public beta thresholds massively limit the damage they can do

This... isn't the case if you plan to announce the site widely and publicly. If we're changing it, I think we should use the public beta thresholds, but massively reduce seeing vote counts.

  • "you also list Close votes (and viewing close votes) as one rep" this is the same as other sites: viewing the number of close votes on their own questions requires less reputation than casting close/reopen votes on any question.
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 22 at 1:14
  • @AndrewT. My concern isn't viewing close votes, per se. My larger worry is letting one-rep users cast CVs. I might be misreading it (if so, sorry), but "close votes" and "view close votes" being listed separately made me think casting CVs might be one-rep
    – cocomac
    Jul 22 at 20:33
  • I mean, the "view close votes" privilege also allows OP to vote to close their own questions...
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 23 at 3:28

I am very opposed to setting a 1 rep threshold for up and down voting because these have an implication across the network. Unless you plan to exclude GenAI from granting the linked account reputation bonus, this could negatively impact other sites by granting users who have no or limited understanding of the system or the network with additional powers.

Please keep in mind that this is not a private beta, so the use of private beta thresholds don't make sense. When you have a private beta through the traditional approach, you tend to have people who have participated in Area 51 and often have experience on at least one site on the network. This is problematic in other ways, but it does ensure familiarity with the platform, the overall culture, and the moderation tools that exist.

Let's dive into a bad case scenario involving the association bonus.

Privileges on the network are based on the idea that there are some common, baseline rules and expectations that, with very few exceptions, hold across the network. If you have demonstrated that you understand these expectations by being able to write questions and/or answers that are good enough, you can get a head start on earning some basic permissions, like participating on Meta, adding more links to posts, answering protected questions, voting up, using chat, and using comments on others' posts. It also gets you much, much closer to being able to vote down and create tags.

The association bonus of 100 reputation is granted if a user has at least 200 reputation points on any site in the network.

If any person can start casting up votes by just registering, then they can start giving users 10 reputation points whenever they feel like it. Getting to 200 reputation points isn't a huge barrier - it's 20 up votes. However, there is an expectation that knowledgeable people are casting up votes (and down votes when appropriate). This makes sure that, by the time someone hits 200 reputation, they should understand how the platform works and then would just have to learn any community-specific nuances that may exist.

The company is hoping to bring an influx of new people to the network. If this succeeds, you will have people with no understanding of the network casting votes and giving reputation to people. They could very well be up voting questions that are not a good fit based on global, network wide criteria, on criteria such as subjectivity and topicality. You could end up with people exploring the other sites in the network (which is good) but with the ability to do things that they haven't demonstrated an understanding of (which is bad).

Now, there are other sites in the network that, in their own way, are unique. Stack Apps, MathOverflow, Theoretical Computer Science, Software Recommendations, and Hardware Recommendations are a few examples. So, this could be a good time to build out the tooling needed to isolate sites as far as the reputation bonus goes (both incoming and outgoing). If that approach is taken to look at if there are sites where granting or receiving the bonus doesn't make sense, then the issues around giving new people too many abilities on other sites becomes a non-issue. However, I don't know if that's possible before this site is publicized and (if the expectations are met) people flock here.


we believe there is a strong possibility that many of the users who come to this site will have little to no experience with the Stack Exchange network and many of its intricacies. In addition, given the unique nature of this site's origin, it makes sense to artificially lower the reputation thresholds so users can easily access different privileges.

Those two sentences seem to me to be in opposition rather than one implies the other. If someone doesn't know how the network operates, why should they be granted privileges earlier?

I can stomache a lot of the suggestions and see why they could be attractive for public beta (and beta only- not after graduated from beta), but I think close-voting should be a higher privilege, and re-opening as well. Regular public beta is 500 rep. Take a happy medium. 1 rep to close vote and 15 to reopen vote are both way too low. If you keep that, you will have pointless wars about things that should stay closed, and probably a bunch of inappropriate close-votes.


Voting Threshold Rep 1

I'm afraid I have to disagree with setting the voting, upvote and downvote threshold to 1.

  • It's unclear how other features that depend on the user's question and answer score, like the post-ban, will work.
  • In sites with regular reputation thresholds, even users who have the association bonus can't downvote when they join a new site.
  • The site hasn't enough questions and answers yet to require that posts be sorted by score.
  • Votes from user accounts not having enough rep to vote are still logged. Moderator tools have pages to see data from users who do not have enough reputation to vote.

Comment Everywhere Threshold Rep 1

I might agree on setting the comment threshold to 1 if enough people commit to watching comments and flags, i.e., Community Managers will continually watch 24/7 until the comment behavior is stabilized for several weeks.

  • 1
    If I were moderating this site, I'd want an page showing all comments everywhere, with a line drawn at the “5 minutes ago mark”. (If we're talking pie-in-the-sky, I'd want an RSS feed. RSS supports pagination, so rendering the feed wouldn't be excessively hard on the database.)
    – wizzwizz4
    Jul 23 at 20:07

I've spent the last couple of days trying to figure out why: Why propose this at all? If it's a good idea, why propose it only at GenAI.SE, and not one or all of the hundreds of other sites? Why take all these risks of modifying something that's stood the test of time?

I'm starting to realize "unique creation process" is being used as a euphemism; it means we rushed things, things are going wrong, and this is a quick fix. If everything was going swimmingly, there would be no reason to even think of doing something so abnormal.

Currently we have 1 user with 500+ rep, so all closing will need to be done by Stack Exchange staff with the normal beta threshold of 500 rep (5 votes to close would be impossible), at least for a while, which is not ideal, especially when the scope is majorly unclear. And this seems to be the why.

(As an aside, I want to point out how flimsy an argument "unique creation process" is in support of a feature request; it can be literally used for or against any feature request. It's about as persuasive as "it's my birthday", "free speech", or "YOLO". Just explain why it's a useful feature.)

Now, I'm a chess player, and when we sit at a board we need to play the best move, regardless of how the position on the board arose. So let's find the best move on the GenAI.SE chessboard, regardless of how we got into this position...

The natural thing to do here would be to extend the private beta until we don't need a quick fix, but that's likely off the table due to "management".

So maybe the proposed quick fix (a veritable public private beta), carefully supervised by CMs, could be tolerated until it's no longer necessary (maybe for two weeks or so) as a temporary measure. But maybe the cure is worse than the disease (voting is already fairly wild).

Thus, I'm leaning towards sticking with the usual public beta thresholds; we just need to accept the non-ideal consequences of the decision to use a unique creation process, and hopefully learn something from it.


Association Bonus threshold should be upraised instead of reduced

GenAI SE is being run under an "exception state". Because of this, it's possible that new accounts game the system to earn the association bonus privilege in ways that will not be possible on regular sites. Considering this, the Association Bonus privilege threshold should be upraised instead of reduced.

The Association Bonus default threshold is 200. I suggest that the initial threshold to give the Association Bonus based on GenAI SE reputation be 5000.

Related Help Articles

  • 3
    Something needs to be done with the association bonus if these changes happen (and maybe even if they don't), but I don't think this goes far enough. The company is very invested in GenAI of all forms, from user-facing tools to this site. I have no confidence that there will be sufficient moderation against the historical network-wide standards that would allow me to make any inferences about reputation here versus ability to understand the network on any other site. Jul 23 at 18:29
  • @ThomasOwens Thanks for your reply. I also have a concern about the learning outcomes from the GenAI SE user experience could be helpful both for the user and for established SO/SE communities but presenting such an argument is way more complex than the argument about the risk of a specific group of users like spammers, trolls, problem users, among others, take advantage of GenAI "exception state" for gaming the system.
    – Wicket
    Jul 23 at 18:32

Tag Creation Threshold Rep 1

I agree, understanding that this will be temporary until there are enough users participating on tag cleans ups and tag related discussions having reached the normal thresholds.


Alter them or stick to a typical public beta threshold limit for the launch.

Stick to the typical public beta reputation thresholds. As lamented in several answers here and on Meta SE: "SE is breaking the reputation privilege system", granting every user with 1 rep the ability to up/downvote and comment everywhere could expose the SE network to the risk of sockpuppets, spammers, trolls, voting rings, and other forms of abuse through the association bonus.

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