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I believe that the default for a new site is to enter bootstrap mode, which is a state where reputation limits are relaxed while the site revs up. From the SE description:

Bootstrap Mode helps to shape the community before the site is released to its full audience. Reputation requirements are relaxed in bootstrap mode. All users can:

  • Post Questions
  • Post Answers
  • Comment
  • Create Tags
  • Re-Tag Questions
  • Vote

You'll earn reputation normally, but you won't be hampered by it.

According to this answer on the meta.se question "What are good metrics to decide when to move from 'bootstrap' to launch", the general rule is to wait until there are enough high-rep core users to perform basic moderation functions, and to wait while the activity level is low enough that spam and abuse can be caught by the administrators.

Many sites, like meta.stackexchange, answers.unity3D, and chiphacker.com appear to be in bootstrap mode semi-permanently. Unity Answers permanently removed the Bootstrap box while leaving it enabled because:

"...the restrictions when not using bootstrap mode are too aggressive for our needs, so bootstrap mode is the best option until better customization of reputation requirements come along."

Will our needs be well-served by Bootstrap mode?

This site is taking off quickly enough to surpass the numerical bootstrap requirements when it opens. However, we could get a little more core-user boost by leaving it on longer (It's much easier to gain rep with it on). Or, we could discourage elitism permanently by enabling new users to be more active on the site. What's the consensus?

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    Whoever voted to close as off-topic is very confused about what off-topic means – Michael Mrozek Jul 27 '10 at 22:08
  • It wasn't me, and I'm not going to vote to close, but I do see how this could be usefully asked on Meta SO, since it's not a problem unique to this site. – David Z Jul 28 '10 at 1:11
  • @David - (And the person who voted to close) - I posted it here because I believe that it is a question/problem which is unique to every StackExchange site, because it involves how the site feels. – Kevin Vermeer Jul 28 '10 at 15:16
  • Voting to close takes 3,000 rep. No one here has more than 20% of that, so it has to be (correct me if I'm wrong) an admin, and the only admins active on this site thus far have been: Jeff Attwood, David Fullerton, Geoff Dalgas, Kevin Montrose, Jarrod Dixon, and Jin (from the users list). Would anyone care to step forward and explain why the vote was cast? – Kevin Vermeer Jul 28 '10 at 15:40
  • @reemrevnivek: Hmm. I am able to vote to close this question (and all others, both here on meta and on tex). – Konrad Rudolph Jul 28 '10 at 19:22
  • @Konrad - Whoops! Just noticed that myself. – Kevin Vermeer Jul 29 '10 at 16:00
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Bootstrap mode does not strictly exist for SE 2.0 sites.

Its been replaced with the Area 51 creation process and reduced rep requirements keyed to beta "stage," which in the end looks and acts quite similarly. Although the "seeding" which bootstrap mode is supposed to encourage is instead assumed to have occurred upfront as a consequence of having committers.

Rep requirements for most site activity have been reduced to 1 for this site, which is in private beta. Webapps (the first SE 2.0 site to launch) has entered public beta, and had its reputation requirements increased.

The reputation requirements on StackOverflow (the oldest of sites in the network) are higher still.

It is expected that reputation requirements will be raised, yet again, should this site survive public beta. The exacts levels will be determined at that time.

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    Let's hope we survive private beta! – Kevin Vermeer Jul 29 '10 at 23:02
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Having reputation requirements for things isn't to be elitist, it's to try and prevent spammers from abusing things. The more reputation something requires, the worse it would be for a spammer to have access to it -- spammers downvoting posts all over the place isn't a big deal (but still bad enough that there is a small rep requirement). Being able to edit posts, close them so people can't answer, and delete them altogether are increasingly dangerous for a non-trusted user.

I think this site is probably unknown enough to survive in bootstrap mode when it hits public beta (voting to close is the only really dangerous 1-rep thing people can bot), and that's preferable as long as we can get away with it. We can always reevaluate that if it turns out we're getting hit by spammers as soon as they're allowed in

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Uhh, I'm pretty sure bootstrap mode is something for SE 1.0 sites, and is irrelevant here. Definitive clarificationof this would be great.

  • The sites I linked are all 1.0 sites (including meta.stackexchange.com!). Additional evidence for your answer would be that the SE 2.0 sites that are up are not in bootstrap. However, I don't think that this is definitive. – Kevin Vermeer Jul 29 '10 at 16:09

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