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When a user has just joined a StackExchange site, the user might ask questions that get downvoted by other users.

Does keeping those questions in your account affect your profile in later times, when one achieves higher reputation?

How does it affect one's profile? Does it affect adversely, or does it show the survival of a user from one who asked the most downvoted questions to a highly reputed member of the community?

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If you do end up asking too many questions that are heavily downvoted you can get banned from asking more questions. Have a quick look at this: meta.stackexchange.com/q/86997 and probably also this: msmvps.com/blogs/jon_skeet/archive/2010/08/29/… –  Fluffeh Sep 10 '12 at 8:44

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm not among the "highly reputed users" but I don't see how a -100 or -200 rep on a very old question would affect me today. Any "highly reputed user" easily gains this reputation in one or two days.

And the day you're sufficiently experienced in SO, you can get back to your old question and clean it a little so that it doesn't look so bad.

Supposing you don't make an habit of asking bad questions, an accident isn't important.

By the way, I think you shouldn't let the fair refrain you from asking. You should think before asking, be very careful to make your question clear and answerable, check the formatting and spelling before posting, but the biggest hazard would be not asking because then you wouldn't learn...

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Having a downvoted question or answer is not necessarily a bad thing. It is difficult to know how to answer at the beggining so it is probable that you get downvoted. Of course you can always edit your question to improve it and probably some people will upvote your question.

If the question is too bad you can delete it (there is a badge for this) proving that you realized that you were wrong, which is a good thing in my opinion. Looking at a user's profile you can see if the user has learned over time so it doesn't matter that you have some downvotes.

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That depends on what you mean by "affect your profile".

If you mean whether or not the downvotes will have a lasting influence, well sure. They will remain there and any rep lost will remain lost. But if that is the only negative blip within your participation, the subsequent upvotes you receive on other questions/answers will largely outweigh this one negative question. Downvotes also weigh far less than the rep gained from upvotes. So if highly downvoted questions are not a regular occurrence for you, then its effect will disappear over time.

If you mean whether or not this highly downvoted question will have a lasting effect on how people perceive your contributions, then that depends on what you do after that. Most users however will not look any further than either your current contribution, or your overall reputation. And believe me, there are several users I am aware of who persistently contribute poor content and still seem to gain several thousands of rep points.

And even if they look at your profile, if you have a significant number of contributions, the most negative ones will sink to the bottom, while your best contributions will come to the top. Sure, one can always find such contributions if they explicitly look for them. But if the contribution is old and buried among several good contributions, I would be more inclined to think "Well done, he has improved over time" rather than "Ha gotcha, I knew he sucked". :)

So all in all, if you learn from your mistakes and contribute enough good content afterwards, though perhaps annoying to you, the net-effect of your downvoted question will be minimal.

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