# Can we raise the privilege levels?

PPCG has graduated. Some features for graduated sites come immediately after graduating. However, other features are held off for an indefinite amount of time:

PPCG has been graduated for over two years, but Stack Exchange has not had the resources to make our custom theme. This has held us back from getting our privilege levels adjusted, since traditionally these two changes happen at the same time. But this does not need to be the case. We've received word from the Community team that our privilege thresholds can be adjusted to post-design levels, prior to getting our design. However, we need to check in with you, the PPCG community, to make sure that you are OK with that change before it can happen.

### What will happen?

• Our privilege thresholds will be changed to the post-design levels. This means that all users with less than 25,000 reputation will lose some privileges, and will have to earn more rep in order to regain them.

### What won't happen?

• We're not getting a design yet. Great things take time.

~ The PPCG Moderation Team

• Pls no --a sub-25k user – Pavel Apr 6 '18 at 1:32
• @pavel For the record, reputation levels will eventually be adjusted either way. Considering that we've been graduated for 2+ years and have tons of 10k+ users, it's a shock this change hasn't happened yet. – DJMcMayhem Apr 6 '18 at 1:35
• Yeah, but I might actually get 25k by the time we finally get a design :P – Pavel Apr 6 '18 at 1:36
• Problem: This may actually cause us to not have a design forever. – user202729 Apr 6 '18 at 1:43
• @user202729 Whether or not the CMs raise the privilege thresholds now has no impact on when we get our design. – Mego Apr 6 '18 at 1:48
• @user202729 Yes, we do - Stack Exchange has not had the resources to make our custom theme. It was made clear to us that raising the privilege levels now would have no impact on how long it takes to get our design, because raising the privilege levels is just changing a setting, whereas our design is in the backlog of the understaffed design team. – Mego Apr 6 '18 at 1:55
• @ØrjanJohansen I suppose it will make it slightly harder to keep popular questions unprotected. But I think it would be perfectly appropriate to raise a custom mod flag asking for one of us to unprotect it. Or asking for help in chat, as there are over a dozen 15K+ users that are regularly in TNB – DJMcMayhem Apr 6 '18 at 5:51
• "users with less than 25,000 reputation will lose privileges" pheeew, close one – Fatalize Apr 6 '18 at 6:30
• The main difference I see that would impact many users is the inability to see deleted posts. For example, many challenges include a link to the deleted Sandbox post. I think this should no longer be the case if only a select few (less than 100 users) can see these posts. – Sanchises Apr 6 '18 at 9:22
• @Sanchises Is that actually a problem? As far as I'm aware, people just include the Sandbox link to ward off any potential unfounded remarks that the challenge should've been posted in the Sandbox first. – Mego Apr 6 '18 at 13:08
• @Mego Not at all. I never got the point of these links anyway. – Sanchises Apr 6 '18 at 15:18
• @Sanchises 's point reminds me of another one that applies to meta: Because of the 2/3 rule for meta proposals, you cannot interpret the voting correctly if you cannot see the split of up and downvotes. – Ørjan Johansen Apr 6 '18 at 17:42
• @ØrjanJohansen You can use this userscript to see vote totals without the necessary reputation requirements – caird coinheringaahing Apr 7 '18 at 12:38
• I don't have an opinion either way on the issue, but is it possible to make it so that from now on the higher rep thresholds will be instated without taking away previously established privileges from current users? – dylnan Apr 9 '18 at 15:58
• @ØrjanJohansen I'm pretty sure the see votes privilege is 1k rep either way, so that shouldn't really change. – JAD Apr 11 '18 at 11:43

# Yes, let's do it

PPCG has a healthy voting culture and a relatively low barrier to entry. This means that it's easy to quickly gain reputation. It's not unusual for new users to gain the close and reopen vote privilege in a week or two. Unless they spend quite a bit of time going over all of our policies on meta, and learning what makes us different from Q&A sites, new users will likely gain that important privilege before fully understanding how to use it, leading to close and reopen votes being applied where they should not (a problem we've already experienced). Raising the thresholds for privileges will reduce this problem. The community will also benefit from other important privileges having higher thresholds, like running in a moderator election and editing freely.

While nobody likes losing privileges, it's not hard to gain reputation on PPCG. Taking a little extra time to learn the policies and participating in the community before earning important, powerful privileges will benefit everyone. Additionally, this will get us one step further to being fully graduated.

Additionally, this will have no bearing on when we get a design - changing the privilege levels only requires the CMs to change a setting. Our design will be on the backlog for the design team regardless.

• I certainly wouldn't call our voting culture healthy. There are worse but we are a long way away from healthy. – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Apr 6 '18 at 1:32
• @user56656 I'm using "healthy" to mean "we actually upvote posts" (as opposed to the voting culture on Stack Overflow). – Mego Apr 6 '18 at 1:35
• Undoubtedly there are many disputes on the answer (-5 at the moment). – user202729 Apr 6 '18 at 13:40
• @Poke codegolf.stackexchange.com/q/78316/31716 is close – DJMcMayhem Apr 6 '18 at 14:14
• @Poke Here ya go – Mego Apr 7 '18 at 5:10
• It would be great if someone could post an answer explaining why this is a bad idea. So far at least 6 people think so, but I can't imagine why. – trichoplax Apr 7 '18 at 10:06
• I think earning 7500+ extra reputation to regain privileges is not "a little extra time" and is instead a huge time commitment – dkudriavtsev Apr 13 '18 at 20:27
• Additionally, your ability to moderate the community would depend on your code golf skills... I don't think these are very correlated – dkudriavtsev Apr 13 '18 at 20:28
• @Mego I've submitted a decent amount of answers and questions, and gotten ~2750 reputation. There are other members who have submitted a similar amount of answers and questions and have much more reputation. – dkudriavtsev Apr 14 '18 at 3:02
• @Men Reputation ~ how many people click the ^ button on your post. Why they do that, nobody knows. But definitely not related to skill. – user202729 Apr 15 '18 at 3:17
• @Mendeleev While that is true, it's certainly possible to gain enough reputation to perform moderation actions without answering a single code golf challenge. Additionally, the whole complaint about needing skill to gain reputation is a bit silly, because that's how it works on every SE site. You can apply the same reasoning to any other SE site (you need code review skill to gain rep on CR), but somehow they manage to survive, even after raised privilege thresholds. – Mego Apr 15 '18 at 5:41
• @Mego The reputation here is determined mostly by timing, and often due to irrelevant factors (many of my top-voted posts just use languages people don't understand, and show no code-golf skill). It would be most fair to give reputation from participation. Do we have to compare our site to others? If this were a true democracy, we could decide what we want without caring about them. – fergusq Apr 15 '18 at 6:16
• While I'll be a bit sad to loose privileges, I fully agree with this. Accessing close-voting ability at 500 rep and moderator tools at 2000 rep is really low. I don't think at this stage, users have been around enough to correctly judge posts (at least, I consider myself not nearly authoritative enough to do it here). Compared to the other site I'm mostly using (EE.SE), where the privileges I have gained, little by little, seemed to be on par with my growing knowledge of the site rules and my ability to judge other people's posts. – dim Apr 17 '18 at 7:51
• @Mego, a problem, IMHO, is that you need a very specific skill to really gain reputation quickly here: you have to know an esolang that has a built-in for everything. On most challenges, it's some esolang that does in 4 bytes what practical languages take 100 to do that get the votes. So, do we really want the only people with privileges to be those who know an esolang? I don't think that's particularly useful. (Yes, I know that other coders can get reputation, but it seems that it takes them much longer. Basically, it's tying privileges to which language you use rather than activity). – Xcali Apr 30 '18 at 22:36
• @l4m2 I have no idea what you're trying to say. – Mego May 8 '18 at 13:36

# Let's not do this

As a bit of disclaimer, I am opposed to the whole idea of internet points and gamification, and privilege levels. All registered users should be equal.

Other reasons than my personal opinions:

1. Many of the privileges are actually very useful to the users and allowing them does not really cause any harm. Examples of this kind of privileges are seeing vote counts and deleted posts. Every registered user should have at least these rights. Deleted posts (like sandbox posts) contain useful historical information, and vote counts make it easier to read meta.

2. Reputation is not divided equally. It would be logical to automatically give reputation for participation at our site, but unfortunately this is not the case. Those who post first are upvoted the most, and many times answering an old question does not provide any reputation at all. The system is inherently flawed.

3. This site is not as popular as Stack Overflow. Comparing our privilege levels to theirs is not fair.

What could be possible is to heighten the reputation levels of moderation privileges such as question deletion. However, I don't see how that would be useful as compared to the current situation.

As I think that the current system is better than the new, we maximize the utility we gain by delaying the raising as long as possible.

• The privilege levels will get raised - it's just a question of if we want it to happen now, or later. These seem like arguments against raising privilege levels in general, not against raising privilege levels now. – Mego Apr 14 '18 at 19:47
• @Mego I don't think that privilege levels will be raised. It's just a matter of negotiation. And yes, I oppose raising them in general, but from that it follows that they shouldn't be raised now (because never includes not now). – fergusq Apr 14 '18 at 19:49
• @fergusq The fact that we haven't raised them till now is, as DJMcMayhem said before, quite a shock. Raising them will make some users lose privileges no matter what and when, but it's got to happen. – Erik the Outgolfer Apr 14 '18 at 19:58
• If you think it shouldn't happen but know it will happen, there is not really an argument against making it happen later. Maybe there is but no one has really provided one. In general if you are in system A and like it but eventually have to move to system B which is not preferred, why not stay in system A as long as possible? I agree with the three points given in the answer and no one has really given an argument against them. – dylnan Apr 14 '18 at 20:14
• @fergusq You misunderstand. Privilege levels will be raised. That is not a matter for debate. The question is, do we want to raise them now, or later, when we get our design (eventually)? "Don't raise them at all" is not an option. – Mego Apr 14 '18 at 20:17
• @Mego Can you provide me appropriate citations that prove that this is not negotiable? But even if it is, I think that delaying is the best option. If the current situation is good and the new system would cause harm, we minimize the harm caused by delaying it. – fergusq Apr 14 '18 at 20:21
• @fergusq Sites' privilege levels increase when they get their designs. That hasn't changed. The only difference in our situation is that the CMs are offering to raise our privilege levels before we get our design, because we've been waiting so long (2 years since graduation). They are not offering to never raise our privilege levels, and it's unreasonable to believe that it is an option. The only two options are "now" and "later". – Mego Apr 14 '18 at 20:39
• @Mego Maybe that could change? We can't know. But my arguments are valid in either case (as delaying is better than doing it now), so this isn't really relevant. – fergusq Apr 14 '18 at 20:47
• I completely agree with all of these points – dkudriavtsev Apr 15 '18 at 3:26
• @Mego Has there been explicit word from SE that we must raise privilege levels? Why not ask? – dylnan Apr 15 '18 at 5:09
• @dylnan Like I said before: we haven't received word that it is an option to never raise privilege levels, so there's no reason to expect that to be an option. Also, as myself and others have pointed out, there are problems with not raising the privilege levels (one of the most commonly-occurring problems is the fact that users cast close and reopen votes where they don't belong, because of a misunderstanding about site policies or how close and reopen votes are supposed to work). – Mego Apr 15 '18 at 5:32
• @Mego If there are problems with close-reopen votes, I think it is signal of unclear site policies, not a too low privilege level. If one gets 100 average reputation per day, it takes a month to get the required 3000 reputation for casting close and reopen votes (at SO) and that includes very active participation. If learning site policies takes that long, they are just too complicated and unclear. – fergusq Apr 15 '18 at 6:01
• @Mego If you don't ask, then you don't get answered. It's that simple. You are basically saying "I don't know P => P is false", which is a fallacy. – fergusq Apr 15 '18 at 6:02
• "This site is not as popular as Stack Overflow. Comparing our privilege levels to theirs is not fair." I'm not sure popularity factors into this the way you think, because in my experience it's actually much easier to gain reputation here than on SO. – Martin Ender Apr 16 '18 at 8:20
• +1. I tried to write my own answer on this question because I agree with points that you are making and I agree with points the Mego is making. In the end I came up with the same solution you did which is essentially to separate privileges pertaining to moderation and those that are just nice to have such as vote counts and ability to see deleted items. This is something that SE as a whole could potentially adopt in the future but I guess we'll see. It's worth noting that Reddit (bigger than any SE) only has a few mods per subreddit and they seem to do just fine. – Poke Apr 17 '18 at 21:03

I wanted to update everyone on what I've been working on because I've seen many discussions, proposals, and improvised solutions about how the Community Team might allocate various "graduation" features with or without a custom design (e.g. increased reputation threshold, elections, migrations, etc).

There hasn't really been a comprehensive solution regarding how this would work sustainably juggling ~173 sites, much less deciding which sites would be eligible and when/how it would get implemented. So efforts to handle each request one site at a time has been caught up in indecision, confusion, and back logs… which does not work. This request is almost nine months old, arg.

I'm taking a different approach.

I've taken it upon myself to write up a comprehensive (i.e. sane <grin>) entire-site life cycle workflow which would include breaking apart everything once bundled up under "graduation", and enabling each feature as soon as a site can support it. It's roughly based on the premise I outlined here — But what happened to Graduation?.

It's hard to say yet how well it will be received in its first draft. Completion and full implementation would likely be at least a few months out, but I suspect this has a much better chance of getting your community what it needs rather than waiting for action on this aging, one-off request.