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Every so often I appear to have a random reputation gain of 1. It just happened on math.stackexchange and I know that I didn't get downvoted by anyone in between. Any ideas of how that happens?

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Now I understand, why random has so much rep. random, you lousy cheater! – Ladybug Killer Jul 23 '10 at 13:10
Ha HA! I'm not the only one who gets inexplicable gains of 1 reputation! – Grace Note Jul 23 '10 at 13:11
So that's where it all goes. – random Jul 23 '10 at 13:12

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

When you downvote a question or answer, that costs you 1 reputation. You will not get that reputation back unless you remove your downvote or the question/answer is deleted.

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Probably a downvoted question/answer was deleted. – Bill the Lizard Jul 23 '10 at 13:38
the same goes for downvoted answers, no? and don't forget this will not happen immediately but only after a rep-recalc – Tobias Kienzler Jul 23 '10 at 13:38
@Tobias, very true, however I was trying to keep it simple. – devinb Jul 23 '10 at 13:45

Aside from undoing a downvote, if you just had a rep recalc, then deleted questions can cause small changes to your rep. There are three things that confer odd rep:

  • Question upvotes (+5, non-meta only)
  • Accepted answers (+15)
  • Downvotes issued (-1)

Undoing a downvote, or having a recalc done after the post you downvoted was deleted, will cause your reputation to change by exactly +1 if there are no other discrepancies.

You could also have a combination of the other factors. For example, if you asked a question that received 1 upvote (+5) and 3 downvotes (-6) and subsequently deleted it, you'd get +1 on the recalc.

It could also be that something was undeleted, which does happen. If you had an accepted answer on a question that was deleted (-15 on recalc), and two upvotes and downvotes (net score 0) on an answer that was undeleted (+16 on recalc), then that's also a change of +1.

I'm sure it sounds very improbable, but with enough users and posts it's bound to happen to someone.

If it still makes no sense, then check your rep audit.

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Check in your recent page (click the at the top of the page envelope) in the "Reputation" section.

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Did you undo a downvote perhaps? Or a question you downvoted got deleted and your reputation was recalculated (far fetched, but possible)?

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There is one more reason.

When you hit the rep cap any upvotes will not have any effect on your reputation. However if you downvote a question and you loose -1 (200-1=199) from your reputation then if you get an upvote (within the same day), you will see a +1.

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