What does Reputation do?
As a registered user, your reputation on the site is a part of your identity on the site. It reflects, to an extent, your familiarity with the site, the amount of subject matter expertise you have and the level of respect your peers have for you. It can generally only be gained when other users of the site approve of the content you provide.
Reputation also determines a user's privileges within the system. As you gain more reputation, the system learns to trust you and bestows new functionality upon you that low-reputation users cannot access.
As users gain reputation, they gain abilities and responsibilities. The required reputation amounts on different sites can vary slightly; see your site's
/privileges page for specifics. Common privilege levels for new sites, public beta sites and "normal" sites are described here.
How can users gain or lose Reputation?
Users gain or lose reputation based on the quality of their interactions with the system and other community members. The primary reason for reputation change is voting. Posts which are voted up increase their authors reputation; the reverse is true for posts which are voted down. Upvotes are more heavily weighted than downvotes. Posts which have Community Wiki status are exceptions to the reputation rules; they do not affect their authors' or editors' reputations. This is true even for acceptances.
You gain reputation when:
- one of your questions is voted up/useful: +5
- one of your answers is voted up/useful: +10
- one of your answers becomes accepted: +15
- you accept an answer written by someone else to one of your own questions: +2
- a downvote on one of your questions or answers is removed: +2
- you suggest an edit and it is accepted: +2 (up to a total of +1000 per user)
- you remove a downvote from an answer: +1
- one of your answers is awarded a bounty by the user offering the bounty: +full bounty amount
- one of your answers is awarded a bounty automatically: +1/2 of the bounty amount (see bounty FAQ for details)
- you associate accounts of two or more Stack Exchange network sites, and at least one of those accounts already has 200 or more reputation: +100 on each site (awarded a maximum of one time per site)
You lose reputation when:
- one of your questions or answers is voted down/not useful: −2
- a post where you had successfully suggested an edit has been deleted (reputation page shows the cause as "removed"): -2
- you vote an answer down/not useful: −1
- an upvote on one of your questions is removed: −5
- an upvote on one of your answers is removed: −10
- one of your accepted answers loses accepted status: −15
- you unaccept an answer written by someone else to one of your own questions: -2
- you place a bounty on a question: −full bounty amount
- one of your posts receives 6 spam or "it is not welcome in our community" flags (formerly known as offensive flags): −100
- All users start with one reputation point.
- No user's reputation may drop below one point; if an action would cause a user's reputation to drop below one point, that user's reputation is set to one point (source).
- You can earn a maximum of +200 reputation from upvotes and suggested edits in any given day. Bounties and the bonuses for accepted answers are counted separately (source). Reputation "lost" from the reputation cap is not awarded on following days.
- If a vote is cast before a post becomes Community Wiki, but is removed after the post becomes CW, the removal does not affect reputation (source).
- Before May 2011, downvoting questions cost the downvoter one reputation point (source). (After May 2011, no cost for downvoting questions.)
- Deleting and undeleting posts may affect reputation as well, if these posts have votes. Actions taken on deleted posts cease to affect reputation within five minutes (source), unless the post meets the following criteria (in which case the reputation affects will be permanent) (source):
- The post had a score of at least +3
- The post has been visible on the site for at least 60 days
- Accepting your own answer does not gain you any reputation.
- Voting reversal as a result of voting fraud will return lost or gained reputation.
When everyone is at 1, where does the reputation start?
There are three ways a new Stack Exchange site can be bootstrapped:
- Users come from another site in the network where they start with 100 reputation (if they have a linked account with 200+)
- Users have their answers accepted or are the ones accepting answers from other users (+15 and +2 respectively)
- Suggested edits are approved (the original poster has a binding vote on suggested edits if they are not yet approved or rejected)