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How does “Reputation” work?

Today I downvoted this answer and for some reason I got a -1. This was the first time this happened and I've been a member for about two months now.

Acording to this thread downvotes were made free a while back. Did you guys just revert that policy three minutes ago?

-1   2 mins ago downvoted   -----------------------------------------
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marked as duplicate by Bart, random Aug 3 '12 at 16:52

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.

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Downvotes on questions are free. Downvotes on answers aren't, nor were they ever.

Community wiki answers are an exception.

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Ahhh. That makes sense. – Flo Aug 3 '12 at 16:52
You see. Don't ever promise free stuff. They start to think everything's free. – Lee Louviere Aug 3 '12 at 18:47

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