# Should contributions to the community be made compulsory?

Just yesterday, I read this and there dmckee♦ posted this comment, and he said:

...relatively small fraction of the eligible users apply their power with any regularity.

Now there is already a question regarding this comment by Emilio Pisanty, but that just asks for data. Now, I have written this question because of the line from dmckee's comment which I have quoted.

There are many users which have a high rep but they raised almost negligible flags, have done only a few edits and reviewed only a few posts (and have asked a lot of questions and given only a few answers, but let's not get into that {This was not said for all the high rep users. But I still argue that you might find a handful of them. But since they do not form the majority so I am not addressing asking or answering}). I have quite a few examples, but I don't think it's good to publicly say their names, I understand that not everyone has the time to contribute to the community, but there should be, in my opinion, a certain amount of contribution made compulsory after a certain amount of reputation.

If you want some numbers, then I envision that after a reputation of 1000, users should at least flag 10 questions in a month, edit 5 posts in a month and do 10 reviews in a month before they ask their next question. However they are free to answer. The restriction should only apply on asking questions. In this way, we will be able to deal with the ever-growing mass of dumb questions and the moderators and hard-core contributors can then spare some time to answer questions.

The burden of holding up the community should be equally divided. We have almost 1600 users who have rep>1000. Even if only 10% of the users are active, then also this will amount to 160 contributors. This is quite a significant amount of people. Also, if the community participates and contributes, then we no longer would have those bad moderator complaints.

You can even search about this further using Stack Exchange Data Explorer, but unfortunately I am not familiar with SEDE.

I know that this change will need to be across all the communities so I should have posted it on Mother Meta. But I think that our community needs this change right now. Moreover, I am reluctant to post on the Mother Meta, but I am not aware of the situation of other communities, so I think it is better not to post there. However, I would be really happy if someone else, who agrees with me and also knows about SE better than me, does that. I have also not added the tag as this is just a discussion about whether this idea is feasible or not. If this is received well, then I think I would make another post requesting this feature.

The reason for stressing the contributions to the community is because I consider myself a good and active contributor ad thus when I see other people, more knowledgeable and capable than me but not so active contributors, I can't help but wonder how good this site would be if they also contributed as much as I did.

Also, this isn't a pressing issue. But it might become a pressing issue in the near future. So right now, we are not really lacking contributors but to prevent any lack of contributors in the future, we must act now.

TL;DR :- See the title.

• We can't really make people do things. For lots of interesting discussions about making people want to do things, go back a decade to the early days of Stack Overflow and read about "gamification"; what you're proposing here sounds like the opposite. – rob Jan 6 '20 at 5:19
• @rob Primarily, the rep gamification has been hindering these kinds of contributions (reviews, flags and edits). Since there is no rep gain involved, so people don't care about these. That's why, we somehow need to gamify these, by either stopping them from earning rep if they don't contribute, or giving them bonus rep if they contribute. – user243267 Jan 6 '20 at 5:22
• @rob My proposal is the "stopping them from earning rep" one. But if the "bonus rep" turns out to work better, then I have no problem in proposing that one. But by any means, we should ask more users to contribute. – user243267 Jan 6 '20 at 5:24
• The question by me that you've linked is over six years old, and from a radically different stage in this site's history. (For context, for the first few years after the site started, and while the core of 3k-rep users was building up, mods handled most closures, and they turned over the bulk of the responsibility to the review queues at the start of 2013, less than a year before the thread you linked.) I'm not saying old threads are not relevant, but their age and original context needs to be evaluated carefully. – Emilio Pisanty Jan 6 '20 at 5:47
• @EmilioPisanty My motive to quote them was because they were the questions which stirred the concerns in my mind. The only relevant info that I want to use from them is the last sentence of dmckee's comment, which is still probably as relevant as it was before, right? – user243267 Jan 6 '20 at 5:50
• @EmilioPisanty Also the post by Manishearth which you mentioned in the comments is the same thing which I am appealing for. It is 7 years old and has only 634 views, so I am not really sure whether that has really encouraged many users to contribute. Moreover, our community members need a new reminder to help moderate the site. However, I do no have the authority to remind, so my post is just a request which provides a solition, and I want to know the applicability of this solution. – user243267 Jan 6 '20 at 5:55
• I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I have disowned this question. – user243267 Jan 6 '20 at 7:41
• We don't close questions because OP "disowns" them. This is an on-topic proposal for meta (albeit a rightfully poorly received one) and should not be closed. – ACuriousMind Jan 6 '20 at 10:48
• @FakeMod You had a question/idea about the site, so you appropriately asked it here. The down votes on meta aren't the same as down votes on the main site. In this case the down votes means that other users do not agree with the idea you have discussed here. But it is still a useful question, and much can be learned from it. I wouldn't be ashamed of the question, nor would I feel the need to "disown" it. – BioPhysicist Jan 6 '20 at 16:41

Should contributions to the community be made compulsory?

Absolutely not. No way. Hell no.

Contributing to this site is done on a volunteer basis. If people want to contribute by writing answers, that's great. If people want to contribute by participating in community moderation and other corpus-curation activities, that's also great. If people want to contribute by writing answers but don't want to participate in moderation activities, that's also just fine. We are not, and should not be, in the business of "punishing" people for not volunteering enough of their time.

If the question is, how can we (positively!) incentivize 'expert' users to contribute more to the everyday moderation of the site, then yes, I agree that this is an important and worthwhile goal (though not really urgently 'necessary' in the ways that you seem to think it is). But negative incentives are absolutely not the way to go about this.

That said, a couple more things:

If you want some numbers, then I envision that after a reputation of 1000, users should at least flag 10 questions in a month, edit 5 posts in a month and do 10 reviews in a month before they ask their next question. However they are free to answer. The restriction should only apply on asking questions.

I have no idea why you think this will have a significant effect, but to me it looks like you need to take some time to examine in depth some unstated assumptions there. The population you seem to be referring to the most in this thread $$-$$ high answer count and low moderation participation $$-$$ generally has an extremely low question count (and indeed, I'd say the goal is to get them to ask more, not less). For more on this, see Question self-destruction: why don't experts ask more questions? and its multiple Linked and Related threads.

But I think that our community needs this change right now.

What specifically is the problem? What metrics would you propose as significant evidence that there is in fact one at all?

• I have given you the reasons for my concern in the question and the chat replies. – user243267 Jan 6 '20 at 7:20

No.

The bread and butter of Stack Exchange are the questions and answers. I can't imagine a system like you describe doing anything but driving away users producing good questions and answers who don't like moderating or just don't have the time.

and have asked a lot of questions and given only a few answers, but let's not get into that

Not really. Our highest rep users almost universally provide a lot of answers and ask almost no questions.

In any case, there's no problem with asking questions. You can't have good answers without good questions.