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Do you lose the points you acquired from a question if/when is deleted?

While I agree with the general principle of downvotes costing reputation, I think there are cases where there should be a refund, or even a gain in reputation.

The main example is the case where an answer is downvoted because it was wrong or misleading, that answer's author acknowledges this, and deletes their answer (maybe because there is already a suitable answer).

Given that reputation is supposed to recognise your knowledge and, er, reputation, I think that it seems wrong that you loose reputation for highlighting a mistake that is later acknowledged.

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marked as duplicate by Ben Brocka, Toon Krijthe, jonsca, animuson, ChrisF Oct 11 '12 at 19:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
You would also get the rep back in the next recalc if you remove your downvote. –  devinb Aug 11 '09 at 12:14
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But I can't see the deleted answer to remove the downvote... –  Rowland Shaw Aug 11 '09 at 13:11
    
...and someone downvotes without justification... –  Rowland Shaw Aug 11 '09 at 16:19

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you cast a downvote and that answer gets deleted, you should get you rep back from the downvote cast once a rep recalc is done.

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3  
But we have to wait six to eight weeks for that. –  XMLbog Aug 11 '09 at 12:01
    
It's not obvious if these are frequently scheduled, either. –  Rowland Shaw Aug 11 '09 at 13:11

I've suggested before that reputation could be refunded if you add a comment which gains a subsequent upvote on the same answer (i.e. you state your reason, and someone agrees with you).

I'm not that bothered though - it's a pretty small cost. The main advantage of that suggestion was meant to be that people explain their downvote.

If the author does delete the answer, then I believe the reputation will already be refunded at the next recalc. I don't think there's any need to have more effect than that - and any scheme to gain rep via deleted answers could be abused pretty easily, without some careful safeguards.

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1  
+1. Yeah, except that "next recalc" doesn't happen in an acceptable time frame. –  LeakyCode Aug 11 '09 at 10:34
    
I agree it would be nice to have the ability to request a recalc without bothering moderators - possibly with a maximum frequency of once per day. Worth a separate post, do you think? –  Jon Skeet Aug 11 '09 at 11:04
    
Any positive effects from a rep recalc are generally going to end up being lost by losing rep from other places. I don't think I have ever seen someone come out ahead from a rep recalc. –  TheTXI Aug 11 '09 at 11:28
    
@TheTXI: I do regularly, due to accidental downvotes against me being cancelled, but not refunded until the next recalc. –  Jon Skeet Aug 11 '09 at 11:52
    
Couldn't the person who agrees with you simply upvote your answer? That would greatly outweigh the downvote. Indeed, isn't that the purpose of upvotes and downvotes on answers offsetting one another? –  ベレアー アダム Aug 11 '09 at 12:07
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@Adam: Just because you've downvoted one answer doesn't mean that you've provided one yourself. –  Jon Skeet Aug 11 '09 at 12:26

Perhaps one approach is that is a downvoted answer/question is deleted, that the "cost reputation" is refunded. You could also suggest that it could even give a nominal rise in reputation, as their is an acknowledgement that you were "correct"

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I don't think any additional provisions are needed beyond those currently taking place during recalculations for deleted questions.

The idea of refunding or rescinding votes (up or down) based on the perceived correctness or fairness from the point of view of people other than the voter is a hugely slippery slope. Sometimes people are going to vote in ways that, in the fullness of time, seem to be unfair or wrong. But there's no way to correct for that phenomenon without entering into the realm of meta-voting, second-guessing, and messy heuristics.

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In my opinion, if you get downvoted and remove your post, you should keep some of the reputation loss as it is a guidance to you thinking more before posting anything. One thing which could cause auto-refund is when the OP deletes his own question. The guys who lost (gained?) rep on the mater should be refunded (up to some percent). For example a 50% refund would make:

  • -4 from downvotes, +2 refund from deleting your own post - you admitted you were wrong
  • +30 from upvotes, -15 refund from deleting the post due the OP deleted the entire question - good answer, but nobody will be able to learn from it, sorry
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I'm not saying that the person that was downvoted should be refunded (that'd be another story), but the people who made the down votes. –  Rowland Shaw Aug 11 '09 at 20:43
    
In the contrary. You expressed your disagreement with your downvote to that specific post, you paid the price which might have eventually led to the removal of that post. Refunding -1s for your scenario would lose the entire meaning of the cost model, (which is basically required for the reinforcement learning model of SO). –  kd304 Aug 11 '09 at 21:01

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