I've noticed that if I post a question, and it gets an up vote(+5 rep), and I accidentally delete it, the reputation is deducted from the account. BUT, if it has negative votes(-2 rep), and I delete it, the reputation is restored to my account. why is it that the reputation is returned? Shouldn't the reputation be kept away as a penalty for an unpopular question or answer?
We're kind of forgiving at Stack Exchange. If you make a mistake and it gets undone (either by you, or by other people deleting the post), you'll get your reputation back. Isn't that wonderful?
Note that the deleted post does count against an eventual question/answer ban. If you have too many downvoted posts (deleted or not), you will eventually not be able to post anymore, until you improve your old posts and manage to get upvotes for them. (Upvoted posts will compensate downvoted posts; the exact details of the post-ban algorithm remain secret.)
The gamification philosophy is to reward people who act the way you want and discourage actions of the type you don't want.
Here are two major benefits of returning the reputation:
- Returning the reputation encourages people to self-delete bad posts
- The potential for permanent reputation loss discourages people who would have written adequate or good posts