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Well, not exactly zero-sum in the game sense, but I notice that my reputation goes down when a user closes his account.

I found this question, which implies (but doesn't quite state outright) that points are always removed when user accounts are closed. But it seems to me that this means that eventually everyone's reputation will go to zero (if they don't cancel their accounts first), since eventually all users will die, if nothing else.

Is this the way it works? Is this the way it's intended to work?

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closed as not constructive by kiamlaluno, Toon Krijthe, jonsca, animuson, Bo Persson Nov 18 '12 at 4:20

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Old accounts don't get deleted due to inactivity. – CodesInChaos Nov 17 '12 at 23:08
"eventually all users will die"....barring some form of apocalypse, we also will always get new users as well. – Bart Nov 17 '12 at 23:10
@CodesInChaos: Has this been changed? – hammar Nov 17 '12 at 23:14
@hammar 2. the user has not done anything of significance, ever – John Nov 17 '12 at 23:22
@hammar: no, accounts are still purged, but 1-rep users can't vote at all, and generally 50-rep users with no posts haven't voted much either. – Shog9 Nov 17 '12 at 23:22
Somebody needs to get to work on a morbid userscript – Michael Mrozek Nov 17 '12 at 23:49

No. There's no reason to assume that everyone will eventually delete their accounts, and the removal of votes along with those members who do opt to delete their profiles is largely an implementation detail anyway - on those rare occasions when someone with a lot of participation requests it, we generally find ways to mitigate the disruption (assigning the votes to a dummy user, etc).

Anyway, calling it a zero-sum game would imply that in order for you to gain status, someone else needs to lose it - which is very much not the case.

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