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Stackoverflow seems to have a good karma-based permission model[1] that would be worth examining as an example of how we could award various permissions based on karma. Their system both overlaps with and supplements moderation - at high reputation levels, contributors automatically get awarded permissions that either duplicate that of a moderator, or allow for collaborative moderation by casting votes on moderation actions. Some highlights:

  • Official moderators (those given the status by admins) automatically have all moderation permissions regardless of reputation, and their moderation actions are binding (they can't be undone by the reputation-based moderator permissions).
    • The design goal is that "official" moderators are there to handle exceptional conditions - where the system has been gamed, where a moderator action is urgent, or where a valid moderation action is controversial.
  • The permissions in the reputation system represent gradual increase in trust.
  • The lower reputation levels are mainly there to restrict trolling and "me too" posts that add no value to the discussion.
    • Answering one or two questions helpfully is enough to remove new user restrictions and begin to participate in community discussions.
    • Answering a handful of questions helpfully gives you the ability to mark answer as being helpful.
  • The middle levels primarily give helpful contributors tools to better participate and have more influence on the reputation system.
    • A few dozen helpful answers gives a contributor the ability to mark an answer as not helpful (it's not until this point that you can negatively effect reputation on questions you don't own.)
    • Comments (which don't count as answers (and therefore don't have helpful/not helpful) votes) become available to discuss questions and offer feedback.
    • Reputation bounties allow a contributor to offer some of their own reputation as a reward for answering a difficult question.
    • Editing other user's posts kicks in with about 30 or so helpful answers.
  • High level reputation permissions give access to more "trusted" functions, such as moderation powers/votes.

I think the model is a solid one for SUMO for several reasons.

  • It turns casual contributors into vested contributors quickly.
  • It makes functions for dealing with abuse more effective - bans don't work well with open signup, but if a user has to accumulate karma before they can be disruptive, they have to work beneficially every time they create a new account
  • It eases the load on moderators by focusing the official moderators on "exception" cases.
  • It makes contributors more effective, by giving tools to them entirely on merit.
  • It provides a framework for permissions that can stop new user errors, such as questions being posted to contributor areas instead of the q & a boards.

Hopefully this can be adapted into our karma design. Triona 16:51, 9 July 2011 (PDT)