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Currently, brand new (1 rep) users cannot use the sandbox because that privilege is unlocked at 5 rep. However, if we want to change it, a Community Manager can change it.

This has already been done for another site (PPCG) for exactly the same reason (the sandbox). According to the relevant meta post, it is possible to change the rep for asking and answering separately, so there are three logical options I see:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Change the rep to answer on meta to 1
  3. Change the rep to both ask and answer on meta to 1

There are pros and cons to each option. I'm personally leaning towards option 3 because I think everyone should be able to answer (so they can use the sandbox) and it would be simplest and consistent to also allow questions (which I feel are easier to monitor).

What does the rest of the community think?


I asked PPCG Did decreasing the amount of rep required for meta cause spam? According to Dennis♦ in this comment:

We may have gotten a few more users that mistook meta for the sandbox or the main site, but no actual spam.

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    $\begingroup$ My upvote means I think this is something we should talk about, not necessarily that I agree with your suggestion on what to do. $\endgroup$ – sphennings May 8 '17 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ Is it truly discussion? I don't want to upvote only to find out later this was changed to feature-request - on discussion upvote means "yes, let's talk" and on request means "yes, make that change", so I'd upvote discussion but downvote request. $\endgroup$ – Mołot May 8 '17 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot I was expecting people to answer the question saying what they support and why; votes on the answers would help indicate the consensus. $\endgroup$ – Laurel May 8 '17 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe... but network-wide consensus is not to implement anything unless it was asked as feature-request and substantially upvoted, so... $\endgroup$ – Mołot May 8 '17 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ Does CodeGolf.SE have any feedback on problems that arose after making the change? Increased spam, etc.? I'd be interested in seeing their thoughts on this. $\endgroup$ – Brythan May 9 '17 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ ...just give every new user a pity up-vote before you vtc their question and point them to the sandbox. $\endgroup$ – James May 9 '17 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Brythan I finally asked them and they said there was no spam, only a few people who mistook meta for main or the sandbox (see update to post). $\endgroup$ – Laurel Jun 12 '17 at 21:52
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If this level of granularity is possible, I'd like to lower the rep requirement for answers on meta to 1. This allows Sandbox participation without enabling accidental mis-posting of main-site questions on meta (as questions).

Note that users without 5 rep can already ask on meta about their own questions (and answers). This proposal wouldn't interfere with that. The new rule would be: <5-rep users can post questions about their own material and any answers on meta.

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    $\begingroup$ Neat! I never knew new users could already ask about their own questions. The combination with being able to post answers and thereby use the Sandbox would be pretty cool. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Jun 16 '17 at 21:32
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After looking at the question the OP asked on PPCG I think there wouldn't be any harm in lowering the rep requirement for Meta.

The single answer to that question states that there hasn't been any spam in the last 30 days and the comments to the question and answer indicate that PPCG doesn't have to deal with real spam on their Meta Site, only with a few users who mistook Meta for the Main Site or for the Sandbox. This is something that might happen, but we already have this "problem" occasionally on our Main Site where people ask questions like:

And quite some similar questions (15 not deleted questions in total if my search query is correct).

I would imagine that the amount of misplaced posts wouldn't drastically increase just because we allow new users to post something on Meta.

The advantage would be that in some cases new users might post their Meta questions directly on the Meta Site instead of the Main Site, where we would have to migrate them. And, of course, new users could potentially give the Sandbox a try. As apaul34208 noted the traffic on Meta is slow enough that a few new users using Meta shouldn't be too much to handle.

Considering these points I think it would be a good idea to lower the rep requirement.

I don't know how big this change would be viewed, so maybe we could start with some sort of "test phase" of for example 1 month:

  • We change the rep requirement to 1
  • We update the text in the help center to show that for a test phase everyone can post on Meta with a link to a Meta Post with the relevant details
  • The Meta Post should have a community wiki as an answer to note good and bad things that happened in the time. This way we can have a review after a month to see if this works for us. The community wiki should include events (with relevant links) like:
    • A new user posted a question draft in the Sandbox
    • A new user posted a Meta question on Meta
    • A new user mistook Meta for Main/Sandbox
    • Spam on Meta

After the "test phase" we should have a look at the community wiki and maybe have a review discussion to get the sentiment of the community.

  • How do we weigh the success of the "test phase"?
  • Was it good that the question drafts were posted in the Sandbox first?
  • Was there an increase in spam?
  • Did new users get enough feedback fast enough on their first posts, as Meta doesn't have as many active users as the Main Site and no "First Posts" review queue?
  • Was the amount of posts enough to really care about the issue for now or did nobody use this new feature?
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In my opinion the meta traffic for Worldbuilding is slow enough that questions and answers can be pretty easily monitored by the community. With only a few posts a day letting new users post wouldn't present a significant issue.

With that said...

I'm not sure if the sandbox is really working as intended. It seems to have turned into a dumping ground, rather than a workshop. From what I can see only 1 out of 13 posts have been improved and posted since the new box was opened.

Perhaps it's better that these posts never made it to the main site, but it seems that we may need some more guidance as far as the purpose and goals of the sandbox.

Perhaps a one post per user rule would make sense. We need a better mechanism to encourage users to fix their posts rather than coming up with a series of bad/abandoned posts.

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    $\begingroup$ All but one of the 11 non-graduated answers come from two users. I think it might be that there are a few problem users. Looking at the recent users of the old sandbox shows a much more diverse range of people using it. $\endgroup$ – sphennings May 8 '17 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ Two comments on the sandbox issue: 1) I think part of the problem is that one or two specific users are not using the Sandbox well. 2) In the past, it's worked much, much better, and it's been quite successful. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 May 8 '17 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 I noticed that the previous box seemed more productive, but I wonder if the current issue is diminishing it's usefulness. If a new user's first look at the sandbox shows a heap of downvoted rubbish, they may not get the point of the thing. $\endgroup$ – apaul May 8 '17 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ Does it makes sense for users to delete them as "low quality" if they have sat for more than say, two weeks without changes? That should keep the sandbox clean. $\endgroup$ – James May 9 '17 at 17:20

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