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I broke the reputation cap today answering this question, but it got merged some time later and my answer did not make it (as it became redundant then).

I briefly mourned the hundred rep points I lost in the process, triggered a recalc and went my merry way. However, I later realized the system still thought I was above the rep cap, so I double-checked the reputation page and it was up-to-date. It remained up-to-date throughout the evening, but the site didn't catch up.

Now, I understand why the site doesn't catch up with reputation increase in this particular case, but I was under the impression that a recalc would completely synchronize the site's state with my current reputation. I don't really understand why the reputation cap is a special case here. (My best guess is that the site maintains its own cached state for efficiency, and that cache is not invalidated by recalculations.)

Is this behavior by design? Can it change? Should it change?

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Interesting. I just recalced you again and you got 80 points back. – mmyers Aug 11 '11 at 22:05
@mmyers, thanks. If further upvotes (if any, it's getting late in my timezone) don't change my rep, there's definitely some cached state involved :) – Frédéric Hamidi Aug 11 '11 at 22:10
Confirmed, upvotes still don't impact the site rep. From Grace's answer, one side has access to the updated vote count and the other doesn't. Maybe a recalc could synchronize this in addition to the actual rep score? – Frédéric Hamidi Aug 11 '11 at 23:52
up vote 13 down vote accepted

It's not based on hitting the cap. Rather, it's based on the votes it... apparently still assumes you have gotten for that day. Some level of cache state indeed.

In the past, there has been a day where I had a +5 answer that I had to delete. I only had gotten 130 reputation or so at that point, so a recalc left me with 80. However... fast-forward a few more answer and I stopped earning reputation at 150 for that day. It wouldn't budge until I did a second recalc the following day to fix it to the more appropriate value. So it seems that the system still thinks I had those votes (which would put me at 200) even though I clearly didn't.

It's non-intuitive, but it's also an often rare occurrence - most users do not recalc at all, nevermind "Whenever I know there is a discrepancy" like you and I do. The rareness and the fact it's not too hard to fix (either nudge a mod or just stomach the next 24 hours) leads me to believe that it's not a high priority fix. But given I have no clue why it does it the way it does, it could be that there's some underlying issue that'd be really cool to fix.

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Do you mean people willingly accept a discrepancy between their actual rep and the one shown on the site? How can they do that? ;) – Frédéric Hamidi Aug 11 '11 at 22:29
@Frédéric - because usually their displayed value is higher than their actual reputation so it looks better. – ChrisF Aug 11 '11 at 22:45

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