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In a previous meta question, I Asked how the daily score cap was calculated. However, after verifying that the daily score cap calculates chronologically (see post for full analysis). I would like to know if this is a bug or set up by design?

If it is by design, then could somebody please explain the reasoning? As far as I see it, if I have a surplus, then any negative votes should first count towards my surplus.

Here is a simple example:

What it is:

220 Points = UpVotes
0 Points = Accepted Answers
-2 Points = DownVotes (occurred after the last upvote)
198 Points = Total Daily Reputation

What I would expect:

220 Points = UpVotes
0 Points = Accepted Answers
-2 Points = DownVotes (occurred after the last upvote)
200 Points = Total Daily Reputation (with an 18 point surplus)


Just to give my thoughts on a possible reason why this is the way it is, is that upvotes are worth 5 times more than downvotes, so forcing a new upvote for one downvote is not that bad of a punishment for giving bad answers. I could theoretically get a 50 surplus and then go on a rampage of bad responses. So, beyond tarnishing my name, it is taking away the points without regards to the surplus.

That is the only reason that I can think force people to remain accountable.

Is this the reason? Otherwise, I am stumped?

share|improve this question
No, just like the last question you asked and I retagged this is not a bug (please, read the defintion of bug), it's very much by-design. – Nick Craver Mar 16 '12 at 19:58
@NickCraver, is there a reference explaining the reasoning behind this design? I also don't understand why it makes sense. – Ben Lee Mar 16 '12 at 20:02
@NickCraver Yes, I would label this as a bug ( To me it is a " a computer program..." – Justin Pihony Mar 16 '12 at 20:05
@JustinPihony - you may view it as a flaw, it's very much the way it's intended to work, and it's been this way for quite some time. The alternative is quite insane. – Nick Craver Mar 16 '12 at 20:06
@NickCraver But, that is my question. Why is that insane? I am fine to put this aside, but not for a "because I said so" type of response. – Justin Pihony Mar 16 '12 at 20:08
@JustinPihony - because recalculating to see if a person would have hit the upvote cap had a previous vote counted when it doesn't currently is insanely complicated and very expensive. Rep moves chronologically forward...these are long-established rules. – Nick Craver Mar 16 '12 at 20:13
The reason for it being the way it is is purely for the convenience of the developers, as Nick explains. Personally I have no problems with the way it is. In practice it doesn't materially affect anything of interest to anybody. If serial downvoters were more clever then they would save their downvotes up to UTC23:59 so that they would have full effect! – David Heffernan Mar 16 '12 at 20:28
@JustinPihony - No offense, but you have no idea what you're talking about. A recalc does not happen once a day, nor are they cheap. A running store for 1.6 million users isn't cheap either, there's a ton of maintenance, syncing, deletion and migration handling. Trust me when I say if you saw how many edge cases the reputation code has to handle, you'd think very, very differently about how "easy" anything to do with reputation is. – Nick Craver Mar 16 '12 at 20:38
@JustinPihony - where did you read such a thing? That info needs to be corrected, it's never been correct. – Nick Craver Mar 16 '12 at 20:45
While, I still believe that this could be done in a fairly elegant manner, I will concede to the reasoning that it is not worth the time for the developers to fix, if that is what the consensus on this one is. – Justin Pihony Mar 16 '12 at 20:56
@NickCraver Now that the reputation recalcs happen continuously, do you think it would be fair to consider Justin's question again? It just appears very inconsistent that the timing of up or down voting within the same day has any effect on the end result. SO did a good job eliminating this effect in the case of upvotes vs. accepts, so it appears somewhat inconsistent that you guys did not address the timing issue for downvotes as well. – dasblinkenlight May 1 '12 at 16:08
@dasblinkenlight - they don't happen continuously, we just keep rep in sync continuously, recalcs behind the scenes don't happen that often, relatively speaking. – Nick Craver May 1 '12 at 16:11

This is by design so that your daily score is an accurate reflection of downvotes that occur after the upvotes.

Consider one highly contrived example. I write an answer, get 21 upvotes for it, and cap at 200. Then edit the answer so that it now has incorrect information. I should be penalized immediately by those who spot the misinformation and downvote; the afterglow of the cap shouldn't shield me.

Also, consider that the cap forms a hard limit, you're "actual" score never hit 210 in that example.

share|improve this answer
+1 from me. That is just about the only valid reason I can think of for doing this. I am going to leave this open for a little to see if anybody else agrees or gives a different answer. If nothing really changes, I will accept this :) – Justin Pihony Mar 16 '12 at 20:19
This is bogus. Why are downvotes that arrive after you reach cap any more significant than those that arrive before you reach cap? And what if the downvotes arrive just after UTC00:00 rather than just before? Then they get wiped out by the following days cap. In other words there's no real logical justification for the system being the way it is, it just is what it is because it is convenient for the devs. And because it doesn't actually matter to the site so what is convenient for the devs is a valid design driver. – David Heffernan Mar 16 '12 at 20:32
Regardless of how the rep works you're always penalized by downvote with regards to tag score – Some Helpful Commenter Apr 11 '12 at 19:51

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