On April Fool's Day, I posted a joke Code Golf on SO. I thought it was hilarious. I spent a fair amount of time looking at the formats of other Code Golf questions to make sure mine looked authentic. And when I was finally satisfied, I went straight to the "Post Your Question" button... without remembering to tick the "community wiki" checkbox.
It was an honest mistake, and as soon as I saw the comments pointing out my error, I edited the question to make it CW; I even upvoted the commenters. I was too late, though; I got 13 points for that question (+3/-1), and it was closed. A copycat question popped up and got pretty popular — though, searching for it now, it seems to have disappeared. In its comments, one person pointed out that it was a dupe of mine and the poster replied that it didn't count as a dupe because the other guy (me) was trying to farm rep.
Long story short, I would like to return those 13 rep points to the system. Right now, my options for losing points range from "bad" (giving 13 downvotes I wouldn't otherwise give) to "really bad" (abusing the "flag as offensive" tool). Am I stuck with these tainted points?
My suggested fix is a way to allow users to throw rep away, and have that show up on their activity pages.
- people who accidentally forget to use CW will be able to avoid having their otherwise-good questions closed by people who suspect them of being rep whores
- new users who don't know any better won't be scared away from using the site as easily
- someone would have to create and implement an algorithm — I can think of at least three ways to do it, and I've outlined my favorite of the three below
- could give rise to a "give your rep points back" regiment of the "CW police"
Here's my suggested algorithm: allow users to enter an amount of rep to give up, and make it clear that once the "submit" button is pressed, that reputation does not go to anyone and cannot be retrieved; it just permanently evaporates into nothingness. Clean and simple, though not flexible.
(And yes, I triple-checked to make sure I didn't forget to select "community wiki" for this post.)