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I'm wondering whether the reputation in the top bar automatically updates...

If so, I need to get rid of an extension that does the same.

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Yes, it does. More or less live. – Daniel Fischer May 3 '12 at 20:28

Yes, it does.

From New Feature: real time updates to questions, answers, and inbox:

UPDATE As a few have mentioned below we are now experimenting with updating comment counts, votes on a post, and your reputation score.

There's current one exception (bug?) though: Downvoting somebody else's answer doesn't seem to change the reputation.

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The extension that brings Live reputation updates to the StackExchange™ EgoEmpowering HumanWorth™ counter has been disabled, thank you for your co-operation in this mission to figure out why my reputation dropped each time I switched page after gaining reputation. :) – Tom Wijsman May 3 '12 at 20:31

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