So I am a user at both MO and here. I visit MO maybe a few times a week, and this site a little less frequently.

The point is that most of the questions I come up with are more relevant for MO, as well as, the questions from this site that I have a good answer to are usually answered; since I visit this sight fairly infrequently. So for me reputation is easier to gain in MO.

Now this doesn't bother me that much, mainly it is because there are many questions I would like to make a comment on, just to give some small insight, but i don't think is worth writing an answer to.

But I couldn't comment because I didn't have the rep.

I know it's not that big of a deal because it is only 50 rep, so not that hard to get. I was just wondering if anyone else had thought about this.

  • $\begingroup$ I did '-1' because I do not agree with the proposed feature request. $\endgroup$ – user103816 Feb 21 '15 at 13:36

Even if Rep could be transferred, I don't think we should have a carry over.

The rep is (and IMO should be) an indicator of how much you contribute to this site. (From what I have read, the people at StackOverflow seem to have the same opinion).

If you allowed rep carry over, you could have users with 10K rep who visited this site just once and never came back.

If you want rep to be an indicator of how 'good' people are at math, then I would say that is not the right way to look at it.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with this. Note that this was discussed a bit on meta.MO. IIRC, the majority of those who expressed opinions were not in favor of a rep transfer in either direction. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 16 '10 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ I wanted rep transfer from there to here out of pure self-interest. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 17 '10 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ Well put. Reputation is not a measure of mathematical ability, but how much you've contributed positively to this specific SE site. $\endgroup$ – Noldorin Aug 19 '10 at 8:07

Since I posted a somewhat snarky comment (that I stand by -- I am pretty fed up with people telling me that plainly possible things are impossible), let me at least say how I feel about the issue.

I don't see any compelling reasons for MO rep to be transferred over to this site. For once I completely buy the standard SE explanation: it doesn't make sense for reputation on one expert site to carry over to another expert site, even one which is closely related. Just because a user has a great ability and proven history of answering questions about Area X, it does not follow that they have the same ability in Area Y, even if Area Y is at a "lower level" than Area X. (It may well be true in many cases, but if so, this will become evident via the normal channels of site use.)

To veer into the personal, I am currently preparing a tenure dossier and my teaching has been evaluated at all levels. The average departmental teaching scores are an increasing function of the course level: i.e., lowest for calculus, highest for graduate courses. This is true for my own evaluations as well, but with a much higher slope: my teaching in terminal, one semester freshman calculus is visibly below average and my teaching in graduate courses is visibly above the (high) departmental averages.

I have been among the top three highest rep users on MO for the last several months. (Amusingly, this made it into my tenure dossier as well, a sign of the success of MO.) I do not aspire to be, and probably could not be, one of the highest rep users on the proposed calculus.SE site.

I do think that ideally someone who had a good rep on MO should get the same privileges here that established users on the SE2.0 sites get: to that extent, rep should transfer over. On the other hand, I don't completely approve of the idea that someone with some SE rep gets an automatic 101 rep when they log into this site. On the earliest days of the public beta, 101 rep was enough to put these users above most of the people coming over from MO, who could not immediately vote, make comments, etc. In my opinion a better solution than "complimentary rep" is "complimentary abilities": i.e., allow someone who is a documented serious user on another SE site be able to vote and make comments as though they had the small amount of reputation that was necessary for this.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, this is definitely something the administrators should consider. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 19 '10 at 3:15

Unfortunately, it's not possible to transfer reps between sites.

In principle, if you have ≥200 rep from another site, you will get 100 bonus rep on every new site you registered. This allows you to perform most normal activities, and mitigate most need of rep sharing. However, MathOverflow is not part of the SE network, so it doesn't apply here.

As for why it is designed not to share reps in the first place, I will quote Ian's answer on Why not merge reputation across SO, SF, and SU?:

Each site deals with its own specific niche. If you're trusted on one site there's no reason you should be given benefit of the doubt about your knowledge on other topics. If you're skilled in different areas you should be able to gain rep on all 3 sites. If you're not, users shouldn't be given the impression that you are.

  • $\begingroup$ Why? I mean for example it is quite easy to find out what people's rep on MO is. Just google their name and mathoverflow. Now sure it might be hard to verify it's the same person. But really? If the problem arises that many people are on this site impersonating users from MO, that would be a separate issue (but that is highly unlikely). So I don't see the issue $\endgroup$ – Owen Sizemore Aug 16 '10 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ -1 for bureaucracy: of course it's possible to transfer rep between MO and this site. It would just require some (relatively routine) modifications in the software on both ends. Anyway, the question was whether MO rep should be carried over, which you have not addressed. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 16 '10 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Owen: We could find the rep from linked accounts, but what's the next step? How often should the reps be synced? $\endgroup$ – kennytm Aug 16 '10 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ Dear Kenny, I'm not convinced that the highlighted paragraph really applies to MO vs. Math.SE, in the sense that the niche of Math.SE includes that of MO (in that, as far as I know, all math related question are welcome here, including research level ones). Also, there is a sense of hierarchy in math, in which someone deemed competent to answer research level math questions is almost always competent to answer more elementary ones as well. Note: I am not arguing that rep should be shared, just remarking that your stated argument isn't particularly water-tight. $\endgroup$ – Matt E Aug 16 '10 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ (Cont'd; I ran out of space in the previous comment): I think that the bureaucratic argument, although less intellectually satisfying, may be closer to the truth. (This, together with a sense of wanting to stay independent of MO. I would regard this latter reason as perfectly justifiable, by the way.) $\endgroup$ – Matt E Aug 16 '10 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ Matt E, I agree with you on the hierarchy of math questions, and I think it should be less a question of ability (as long as that's there) but desire to answer questions and participate here. For example, most MO users could probably provide correct answers to most questions here, but part of providing a good answer (either place) is having been around the community, and thus having a better feel for what level to pitch answers at, how others have dealt with particular difficulties in pitching answers to this wide audience, etc.-even knowing the question history of frequent users can help. $\endgroup$ – Jamie Banks Aug 16 '10 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ Dear Katie, I think that your point is a good one, and is a completely reasonable argument. (I'm inclined to agree that there are several reasons to keep Math.SE independent of MO (regardless of ownership issues, which I'm not thinking about at all for now), and this is one of them.) $\endgroup$ – Matt E Aug 16 '10 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ To take Katie's point further, I know many mathematicans who have no problem explaining things to their peers, but who are terrible teaching at lower levels. For such folks it wouldn't be right to transfer their MO rep here. If you want rep here you need to earn it - just like everyone else. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Aug 17 '10 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ I also support Katie Banks' point of view. If for no reason other than to start with a clean slate here. $\endgroup$ – user1119 Aug 17 '10 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ To elaborate on my above comment: it's difficult to forget high-level knowledge when teaching at lower levels. E.g. an algebraic geometer teaching intro algebra might (subconsciously) omit a step that's trivial geometrically but highly nontrivial algebraically. To step-down to lower knowledge levels when teaching requires serious conscious effort to remember precisely what's known at lower level. This requires much practice to perfect. The MO rep doesn't provide a good measure of such skills since rarely are low-level questions posed there. That's a strong reason NOT to transfer MO rep here. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Aug 19 '10 at 4:17

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