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 '11 at 4:06
  • ? I don't understand what you mean? – wizlog Nov 29 '11 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 '11 at 4:19
  • @iglvzx Heehee... SE is large and important enough to set the standard, not just follow it. – wizlog Nov 29 '11 at 4:20
  • 3
    We could also see this as receiving a rep point for joining ;) – Simon Verbeke Nov 30 '11 at 19:56

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 '11 at 3:49
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    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 Dec 2 '11 at 6:28
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    @DanielBeck Telling someone he's zero indeed means that, my understanding anyway. – Sathyajith Bhat Dec 2 '11 at 6:36

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