Why does a user start off with 1 rep, and not 0? Is there a real reason for this? Or was it just decided because it wouldn't make much difference if it was 0 instead?

  • 4
    Per how I see it, 0 reputation =~ "you're "worth" nothing over here". 1 reputation =~ "your're "worth" something over here, no one is worth 0, but let's just start low" :D
    – kos
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 8:26
  • But indeed there might be a more "technical" reason
    – kos
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 8:27
  • 3
    1 rep is the minimum for posting questions and answers. 0 rep would mean the user us banned from doing those as well.
    – muru
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 15:07
  • @muru: Yes, but they could make it so that instead of needing 1 rep for that, they could make that 0 too, so I don't think that that is the main reason, and maybe just style, because I don't think that it necessarily matters too much whether it's 1 or 0 you start off with, for the amount of rep you need to be able to post etc can be easily changed, well it could be anyway if they decided that all new users should start off with 0 rep instead of 1.
    – user364819
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 18:06
  • 1
    @ParanoidPanda what? This way they can use just an unsigned int. Why go into negative rep just for the one digit?
    – muru
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


From day one, you can do a lot on Stack Exchange without any prior experience/reputation at all. Yet if new users see that they can gain additional abilities by increasing their "reputation", starting with zero (0) would seem to suggest they are starting out with no reputation/abilities at all.

Everyone starts with one (1) reputation. It's mostly perception and first impression, but saying you have reputation is better than saying you have none at all.

  • 5
    Yes, you can also think of the 1 reputation as a 1 given for registration! This way non registered users have 0 reputations - which seems to be the exact right amount.. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 10:35

The user starts with 1 in order to have the privilege to post the questions or answers. Theoretically zero would mean that you don't have reputation at all then what would be the point of creating the account if you can't do anything. So it doesn't go lower that 1, otherwise one down-vote could take away your ability to post anything.

See also:

  • If it was set so that the minimum was 0, then it could be simply made so that all with 0 rep and above get the rights to post. Currently it is the same, except it is 1 rep which gives you that right and is the minimum, there would be no real difference setting it to 0 and then setting it so that those with 0 and above could post.
    – user364819
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 13:55
  • @ParanoidPanda You don't want to give everybody access to post questions and answers with 0 reputation, because of spam which is constantly published. So having 1 reputation is actually privilege as a ordinary non-abusive user.
    – kenorb
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 14:00
  • I do not understand what you mean, is it currently possible to have 0 rep? I thought that even if you abusive and suspended that you still stay at 1 rep. I have never seen anyone with 0 rep.
    – user364819
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 15:38
  • @ParanoidPanda Create Posts privilege is: Awarded At: 1 Reputation, therefore having 0 rep (if it would be possible), you would not be able to post anything. If your account is blocked, then you have exactly -1 rep (which is temporary one on top of your real reputation), therefore you cannot post anything, that's why having privilege of posting posts at 1 rep is useful if you want ability to block users by either giving them -1 or 0.
    – kenorb
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 15:54
  • No, my point is that if they changed the beginning rep to 0 then they would also make it so that you were given create posts privileges at 0. To reply to your second point, I have never seen a user with -1 or 0 rep, whenever I have seen a user suspended I have seen the rep go down to 1 for the time of the suspension, but never below that. Can you show me an example of someone who has been blocked and currently because of it has -1 or 0 rep?
    – user364819
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 16:04
  • Found one blocked user but he has 1, so maybe you've right, it's not possible to have negative rep.
    – kenorb
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 16:11
  • Yes, as stated here, even when suspended, your rep does not go below 1.
    – user364819
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 16:26

I believe it starts with 1 reputation for identification reasons (anonymous or non-identified users will have a 0 reputation). Simply to make a difference between new members and simple visitors, that need to log in to post a question or leave an answer etc. (This would be a logical explanation for me)

  • But you can post if you are not logged in. And you don't have any rep.
    – user364819
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:29
  • That was just a bad example, not sure what privileges you don't have as a non-member.
    – Tr4kTr
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:31

You must log in to answer this question.