An hour or two ago, I seem to have lost rougly 50-60 reputation points. I have no idea how this happened.

Maybe someone deleted a question containing an answer of mine? How can I keep track of such things? My rep desplay does not show any irregularity.

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    $\begingroup$ Happened to me too! I was just about to ask the same question. $\endgroup$
    – Pandora
    Feb 27, 2011 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ Me too...I lost around 45. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2011 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Happened here as well. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Feb 27, 2011 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Same here. I don't see any suspicious voting patterns, though. Ah, I see what's going on: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/80862/… $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2011 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ Based on Nick Craver's answer, it looks like part of what they did is remove all points that came from votes by users that were later deleted. I'm pretty sure at least 2 users were deleted here, and at least one (who went by muad) had been pretty active, probably casting a lot of votes that have now been discounted in the recalc. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2011 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ What happens in the case of downvotes? I'm not sure but I think that the downvotes are subtracted again. $\endgroup$
    – Neves
    Feb 27, 2011 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ In a system that is designed to motivate people by "rep" feedback, doing something like this that may cause nontrivial negative global psychological impact is simply complete and utter foolishness. We've already lost a couple experts because of other foolish design decisions and yet the foolishness continues. Human factors play a big role in the success of a system like this. Many of the design decisions made reflect great ignorance of such. Hopefully we'll lose no further folks due to this. It's best to simply ignore the nebulous "rep" - it's not a good indicator of anything. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2011 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ My rep count has dived by 80 today (maybe the system's taken the hump because I only logged on once, for a few minutes, in the last two days). But never mind, the maths is its own reward :-) $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2011 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Jonas: Losing muad's votes might perhaps account for much of my 600 rep loss, since I recall that he wrote that he found my posts helpful, e.g. on MMO he wrote "Bill Dubuque posts with a very different view than I had on a lot of fundamental concepts, I learned a lot reading his posts". It's unfortunate that he chose to leave. Does anyone know why? Is there anything we can learn from this experience so that we don't lose others? $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2011 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: as I recall it was because of a thorny argument on meta, but I don't know which one. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 1:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Qia: Ah, yes, now I recall some of those "thorny" threads. It's strange that deleting a user leaves all his posts as "anon" but deletes all his votes. Since he wasn't banned for voting abuse, why are the votes deleted? All the effort he put into rating good posts is now lost to us. That makes no sense. Does anyone know why it is done this way? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Did you recently lose a large or unusual number of reputation points? $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2011 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


We run global rep recalcs on a very irregular basis (possibly a handful of times a year). They usually coincide with an important or super-cool feature. This time this coincides with a very exciting change to the /users page. We are all tired of seeing a largely static list of people when we click on users, this change will make that area of the site more dynamic.

See Sudden sharp reputation drop problem: points disappeared and score lost (recalc?) for more details.

See: How do I audit my reputation? for how to audit.

At any point you can trigger a recalc.

There are a few edge conditions where rep goes out of sync.

  1. Deletions and migrations are the main one.
  2. There are also some weird timings around hitting the rep cap.

See: Trigger a rep recalc any time a post is deleted/undeleted or question migrated. for a feature request asking to keep the rep more in-sync and its implications

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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide a link describing the logic behind deleting a users votes but not his posts if he chooses to delete his account? Why throw away all the effort he has invested in helping to rate good posts? One active user who chose to delete his account is probably behind much of the rep loss discussed above (see the comments) $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill, I can not remember this being discussed on meta stack overflow, can you bring up a topic there? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 2:14

Reputation score is denormalized, so it is expected for it to vary slightly from the "real" value over time. We periodically recalculate everyone's reputation to bring it in sync, roughly once per year.

Some ways reputation can be affected without being updated live:

  • a user is deleted; this deletes all their votes
  • a post is deleted
  • a post is migrated to another site

You can always check


to see the live calculation of your reputation, and optionally recalculate it to reflect the current, most correct, value.

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    $\begingroup$ Why are a user's votes deleted if they ask to have their account deleted? Why throw away much valuable information that was contributed to the community? That's what happened here - a very active user decided to leave the site. Why keep only his posts but not his votes? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: while I do not speak for the StackExchange team, I can see a very simple reason regarding implementation in the software. An unregistered/low reputation user is not allowed to vote. But such an user is allowed to ask and answer questions. Software-wise I can see it being the simple thing to do to reset all questions asked/answered by deleted accounts to be owned by unregistered anonymous user. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Willie: I understand your logic. But I expect, and hope, that the SE designers have a more compelling explanation than "that was the simplest solution to implement". Further it's a poor choice to lump all these users into one "anon" user. Better to give them unique anonymous names so that we can still have a model of their knowledge, etc when deciding how to evaluate their answers. In other words, if they decide to leave the site then why not simply change their name to "anonxxx" and leave it at that? This also has the advantage that it's easy to reinstate the account should they return. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: I think you raise some good points, and I encourage you to raise the question over at meta.stackoverflow. (And if you do, please also post a link to that question here!) $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2011 at 15:05

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