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I'm really getting frustrated seeing endless dupes of common questions being posted, high reputation users replying and getting voted up, and then the question is closed for the obvious clutter that it is, but those who answered continue to keep their ill-gotten rep.

Here's an example that just happened: C# vs Java, what would you choose?

When a question is deleted (and I certainly intend to delete this one in two days, if no one else beats me to it), a reputation recalc of everyone who responded would clean up this disparity. To let the users keep that reputation only encourages responses to borderline questions. (This is similar to the oft-repeated request to remove reputation from answers posted to questions closed as duplicates.)

(This would imply that questions that are undeleted should also trigger reputation recalcs, so users can regain the reputation for their answers that was removed when the question was deleted previously.)

Edit: Here is another reputation harvester: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3093175/one-advice-you-would-give-yourself-5-years-ago

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There are several users with ~100 rep and no visible questions/answers. odata.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/s/191/u –  Gelatin Jun 18 '10 at 18:24
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@Tim Post: please don't delete a good answer just because someone downvoted you... it was a good contribution to the discussion. I was in the middle of adding the comment: "If you reached a milestone and then lost it, you never really had it. You'd see the same thing if you got downvoted just after passing a threshold -- i.e. TOO BAD." –  Ether Jun 18 '10 at 18:27
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@Simon: All of those except the first one are from associated accounts. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 18 '10 at 18:27
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Why, oh why are you so worried about the rep gains of others? This effects everyone who answered the question, even low rep users .. including the new user who registered and answered it after seeing it on the front page. –  Tim Post Jun 18 '10 at 18:28
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@Tim: because as long as people gain reputation by answering these questions, they will continue to answer them. It's ridiculous that 8 upvotes can be gained by adding a non-answer to a bad question in the five minutes it managed to stay open (and it will continue to gain upvotes over the next two days). The statistic is meaningless if it doesn't accurately reflect a user's experience and knowledge. –  Ether Jun 18 '10 at 18:32
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Don't get your feathers ruffled, Ether. I agree with @Tim Post; who cares? So what if somebody gets rep from a question you just happen to disagree with on principle? Rep isn't a zero-sum game, you don't need to hoard it and keep others from getting it. It's not worth the paper it's written on. –  Randolpho Jun 18 '10 at 18:33
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@Tim, if you don't care about the downvote, why did you post a comment asking for the reason and immediately deleted the post after the downvote? –  jmfsg Jun 18 '10 at 18:34
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Reputation was always important, and now even more when committing to proposals on area51 –  jmfsg Jun 18 '10 at 18:35
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@Ether, please tell me why answering questions is bad? Even if they have been asked before differently? Does that not increase the chance that someone else will find a good answer? Again, why are you so concerned about what other people are doing? What are you doing and why does this bother you so much beyond a number that doesn't mean much of anything? –  Tim Post Jun 18 '10 at 18:35
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@ran, provide a duplicate link –  jmfsg Jun 18 '10 at 18:37
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@Ether, I agree that reaching a milestone is cool. It tells you that your peers think highly of what you have to say, and tells anyone else that understands this system the same. 10k+ users that answer questions are known for (well, answering questions). Its not them I'm worried about, its the person who was happy that they can now help organize tags frustrated all because someone had a tantrum over reputation who says "screw this unpredictable nonsense!" Is it REALLY that important? –  Tim Post Jun 18 '10 at 18:47
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@Randolpho: "unnecessarily" is highly subjective. Spammy and useless questions are broken windows, so IMHO we shouldn't encourage users to break more windows and not clean up after existing breakages. –  Ether Jun 18 '10 at 19:11
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@Randolpho: I wouldn't be concerned about other people's rep if that rep didn't confer important privileges - most notably, the ability to vote to reopen. As more and more people gain rep for dubious reasons, by the time they reach 3k they'll have "learned" that those behaviours are OK, even positive. It's already damn near impossible to keep a NARQ or S&A question closed unless it's practically unreadable. –  Aarobot Jun 18 '10 at 19:13
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@Ether: then close them and get on with your life. Closed duplicates help more than hinder. Deleted duplicates do not. Reputation earned from either is meaningless. –  Randolpho Jun 18 '10 at 19:13
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@Randolpho: I started from 1 rep like the rest of you. I got to where I am by providing thoughtful and well-written answers. I even have one gold badge (but obviously no rep) for a "fun" answer. I'm not the hard-ass you seem to think I am; believe it or not, I rarely even use my "power". I don't care how many voters there are; I do care whether or not they understand how to properly use the privileges they've been given. –  Aarobot Jun 18 '10 at 19:19

4 Answers 4

The problem is that deletion isn't just for duplicates, nor does it always happen in proximity with the last time people looked at the post. And when you're under 10k, there's no way for you to know that was the cause. If I lose a bunch of points thanks to spam flags or heavy downvotes, I can check my reputation report and see that there.

But if some votes I received 3 weeks ago were deleted and I suddenly see my reputation drop by 30 points, then I'm absolutely confused because I will have no clue where it is from. When I see an immediate drop, I expect that I can click the envelope at the top and it will tell me "You took -12 reputation because you actively oppose gratitude", and similar items. This is not revealed when a question is deleted, though, because deletion basically rewrites your history and says those votes never existed.

Because I check my reputation report often (I've requested 2 recalcs, once each before 2k and 3k to ensure that my climb was 100% legit, and I currently have 10 extra reputation), I personally may not be confused by this. But there are a lot of users, especially people who answer a question in good faith without knowing it is a duplicate, that will suddenly see a reputation drop and be completely confused about it. You can't even easily explain to these people which post of theirs was deleted.

At least in the current system, a delayed deletion doesn't have an impact. A user can check their report and see "Oh, my reputation is off. Something must've been deleted". But an immediate drop does not imply that. They will check for immediate causes, and upon not finding anything, be reporting here quite afuming.

The biggest problems occur when you haven't been to the site for a while, and your reputation has shifted a lot besides the deletion. A person might see their reputation jumped by 30 points since they were last around, but in checking their envelope, see that they had a post upvoted 6 times and awarded 60 points. 60 != 30 yields fuming.

Automatic recalculation is healful to the system, but until users are able to track these deletions of their posts directly, it will be very harmful to the community. Until that point, I am opposed to this idea.

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That's another good argument in favour of deleted questions/answers still showing up in your user profile (visible only to you). –  Ether Jun 18 '10 at 18:46
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@Ether Actually, it's more an argument for showing this activity in my envelope pages. Knowing which posts of mine are deleted doesn't help me if I don't know which one just caused me to lose reputation, especially if I can't immediately tell how recently any were deleted. –  Grace Note Jun 18 '10 at 18:54
    
@ccornet: aye, that would do it too, as it does constitute activity. –  Ether Jun 18 '10 at 19:12

I agree that the problem exists, but I don't agree on this particular solution.

The fact is that some questions do get undeleted. So, any time a delete/undelete happens (this would probably include answers -- might as well, right?), all participants' reputations would need to be recalculated. This may be too computationally intensive for Jeff's liking.

A variation might be to update the denormalized reputation numbers based on the gain/loss from the particular question or answer. This would keep the scores more in line, but probably wouldn't be perfect. This would be a decent band-aid solution.

In general, I think the best solution would be to have everyone's reputation recalculated periodically. This, of course, has already been suggested.

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Since we now have a reputation report available to us, which essentially performs a realtime recalculation, it doesn't seem to be too expensive. However, it has been proposed before to perform recalculations as a batch job (where users who need a recalc are added to a list to be processed daily), which would remove the impact of a quick delete/undelete/redelete operation. –  Ether Jun 19 '10 at 17:37

While I think that question should have been closed, good answers are good answers. With the new merging capability, if they're obvious dupes, then they should be merged, so that the answers will be preserved. This is exactly what all the fuss was about these last few months on deletion.

JUST SAY MERGE

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No, just say "Merge". –  Grace Note Jun 18 '10 at 18:22
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Uh, not in this case. Consolidating flame-bait doesn't improve matters... –  Shog9 Jun 18 '10 at 18:24
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In a lot of cases (as in the example I posted), the answers are duplicates just as much as the questions. That's obvious rep whoring in my books, and we shouldn't encourage it. –  Ether Jun 18 '10 at 18:25
    
@ccornet, thanks, I always mix up those 2. –  Lance Roberts Jun 18 '10 at 18:32
    
I like migrate better –  Randolpho Jun 18 '10 at 18:34
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M! It's an astral body, not a brass instrument or the compressed form of a crown-like headdress! –  Grace Note Jun 18 '10 at 18:37
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If you reward a behavior you get more of it. This approach has several things to recommend it, but it will encourage users (including high rep users) to answer duplicates instead of identifying them as such and sending the OP to the existing good answers. –  dmckee Jun 18 '10 at 20:00

Teach me to answer such questions :)

Undeleted but not edited. See comments in the question (yes, read them all, sorry).

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