Suppose I ask a question, and get several helpful responses, and select one as best answer. The respondents enjoy upticks in reputation when I and others vote their answers up.

Should my question receive downvotes, I might be tempted to run with my newfound information and delete the question, preserving my reputation. But that seems unfair to those who responded.

I suppose they shouldn't have responded to a 'bad' question. But one downvote can lead a user with low reputation to flee, leaving those who put their efforts into answering hanging out to dry.

So, the question remains, will deleting the question remove the gained reputation from those who answered?

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    $\begingroup$ It would, but the question author can only delete their question if there is at most one non-deleted answer, and that has no upvote (regardless of overall score, a single upvote on an answer prevents deletion by the question author). So for the deletion to cause rep-loss to answerers, a question must be deleted by a moderator or the votes of three 10k users (and for that to be possible, it must be closed). $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2017 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ I, for one, don't think there's any problem with your most recent question - even if it seemed obvious upon receiving an answer. Treating $\varnothing$ as an element of a set can be confusing when you first deal with it. $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2017 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Losing rep when a Q is removed. There is an exception if the post has been visible for at least 60 days (and some other additional conditions). $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2017 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ BTW a lot of stuff related to deleting posts can be found here: How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion? $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2017 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ How much rep do you really lose from the downvotes? I mean, come on, you're not gonna lose much more than 10 rep on a decent question, and 10 rep is not even 1% of your total rep. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2017 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


You can't delete even your own question if

  • it has at least an answer with an upvote (it doesn't matter if it has downvotes)
  • it has multiple answers

Such questions can be deleted only by mods, or by a vote of 10k+ users.

If you think your question is bad, and you can't delete it any more, you can still initiate its closure if you have at least 150 reputation. If not, you can flag it. A closed and downvoted question has a high chance to be once removed, either by an automatic process or by some cleanup task.

By default, deleting the post invalidates all of its votes. It means, they will be still registered in the database, but they won't affect the reputation any more. Thus, the reputation gained by the answers to the upvotes is lost.

Deleting a question deletes also all of its answers. This is why you can't delete your own question any more if it has an upvoted answer. In my experience, they don't use this very often.

Mods and higher powers have an option to delete a post on such a way, that the reputation gained with it is preserved. Thus, the answer is:

  • mostly you can't delete your own question
  • if it happens, yes, it affects your answerers negatively.

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