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I asked a question based on an incorrect assumption. As I found out that the question makes no sense, I want to delete it.

But someone answered.

It wouldn't have been a solution, but to reward the effort, I accepted the answer.

Now I don't want to delete the question if this means that they will lose their reputation from the accept. What will happen if I delete?

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Why not keep the question for future reference if this is something that is of interest for everyone, that someone else can stumble upon. Add a comment explaining that your question was based on some wrong assumptions. – Magnus Jul 21 '10 at 7:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted

They will keep their reputation even if you delete the question, as long as their reputation is not "recalculated" explicitly.

This is a "famous" operation which can be triggered by moderators, to re-evaluate the reputation with only existing (non-deleted) posts (the main use of it is for sockpuppet accounts). It can be also triggered on a larger scale, at least it happened once, when the reputation awarded for questions changed. See The global reputation recalc of March 2010.

Now about your particular case, in my opinion, you "reward the effort" with upvotes, and accept only the solution which solves your problem. However, if the initial problem was in your misunderstanding of something, leading to what you call a "non sense" question, then in a way this is indeed the answer which "gave the solution" to you. We all ask such kind of questions, there is nothing wrong in it. If you absolutely want to delete it, it's your right too.

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How about cases in which badges have been rewarded to users for a question (or an answer) such as for surpassing a specific number of views??? – Bruiser Feb 19 '11 at 5:10
Note that the first half of this answer about keeping rep is obsolete. See reputation history changes. – AndrewC Dec 23 '12 at 11:18

If the post has been visible for at least 60 days, and it has a score of at least 3, then who answered doesn't lose any reputation.

This is a change done at the beginning of the year. See Reputation and Historical Archives.

First, if you've contributed something worthwhile to the site, you should keep the reputation for that even if it eventually gets deleted. "Worthwhile" here is defined as,

  • A score of 3 or greater
  • Visible on the site for at least 60 days

In fast-changing professions, there should be no shame in contributing valuable information just because it eventually goes out of date – and there shouldn't be a penalty for deleting it when it does. Naturally, editing to bring an answer up-to-date is preferable – but if someone else already posted a good answer with current information, you should be able to remove yours and keep the reward for the time it was useful.

The other change is that recalculating the reputation is not anymore necessary, if not in specific cases. Now the recalculation is automatic, and the shown reputation is the real one.

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Given that someone answered it and apparently got upvotes for the answer, the question can not simply be deleted by the OP though. So all of this is perhaps a bit of a non-issue. Though your answer is of course right. – Bart Dec 23 '12 at 10:35
That is right. The question should have been "What happens to the reputation of who answered, if the question is deleted?" If the answer has a score higher than X, the question cannot be deleted from the OP (if he is not a moderator in that site). – kiamlaluno Dec 23 '12 at 10:48

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