Shouldn't users start with zero rep? Shouldn't every single point be earned?

What is the reasoning behind starting off every user with a little rep, then making sure that they can't ever go below that?

  • 4
    Starting at 0 would still be starting at '1' ;)
    – iglvzx
    Nov 29, 2011 at 4:06
  • ? I don't understand what you mean?
    – wizlog
    Nov 29, 2011 at 4:08
  • 1
    Zero-based indexing. Jokes aside, I figured starting at 1 reputation point was based on tradition. Many sites start off new users with 1 point.
    – iglvzx
    Nov 29, 2011 at 4:19
  • @iglvzx Heehee... SE is large and important enough to set the standard, not just follow it.
    – wizlog
    Nov 29, 2011 at 4:20
  • 3
    We could also see this as receiving a rep point for joining ;) Nov 30, 2011 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


It's explained here.

The StackOverflow team believes that everybody's special in their own way and doesn't deserve to have a negative self-esteem (aka reputation).

A rep of zero or negative seemed cruel. Plus, everyone starts out as "a one" instead of "a zero".

  • 1
    Everyone is initialized and defined. Awesome.
    – surfasb
    Dec 1, 2011 at 3:49
  • 1
    Could someone explain to me that last sentence? The German term for zero ("Null", and it didn't make learning to program easier) can also be used to refer to a person, then meaning loser, but I don't think that's what Jeff is referring to.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Dec 2, 2011 at 6:28
  • 1
    @DanielBeck Telling someone he's zero indeed means that, my understanding anyway.
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Dec 2, 2011 at 6:36

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