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I had three posts, that were valid when written, deleted today, because someone thought they no longer belonged. They may be right on some of them, that they aren't valid anymore (they refer to Stack Exchange 1.0), but that doesn't mean I should lose the rep and badges for them.

My request would be to allow a 'delete but no rep loss' vote, so that even if they're deleted to keep confusion down, the original poster wouldn't lose the rep or badges he earned because of site and policy changes.

What they're doing now is just punishment for not being psychic.

As Arjan pointed out, it's about the time you've put in. When they take away the rep, they're saying that the time I put into the site was meaningless. While rep and badges may not be much in the way of real meaning, in the SE/SO sites it's all we've got.

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Is this a consistent problem outside of Meta Stack Overflow? –  Grace Note Mar 28 '11 at 17:02
    
@Grace: I could see it happening for some of the older SO posts. There are quite a few subjective posts that today would get closed (but probably not deleted) but have been grandfathered in. Closing doesn't lose rep, but the possibility for deletion is there, especially if some new mod comes along with no idea of the grandfather clause. –  CanSpice Mar 28 '11 at 17:05
    
@CanSpice When stuff gets outdated on the main Q&A, it typically just gets commented on or at worst downvoted. Now, deletion rules have changed recently, so I may simply be in the dark, but I don't think people traditionally delete aged content on the main Q&A sites. This request seems to be more about changes in the validity of content moreso than the acceptability of content. –  Grace Note Mar 28 '11 at 17:06
    
@Grace, While I see it mostly on Meta (since I'm not a 10k on SO yet), it can certainly come about as technology changes. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 17:16
    
Links to the posts? I only see one of them. –  Jon Seigel Mar 28 '11 at 17:23
    
The grandfather clause is not an immunity @can –  random Mar 28 '11 at 17:44
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@Grace, is this a consistent problem inside of Meta Stack Overflow? –  Pops Mar 28 '11 at 17:47
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It's consistent, but I wouldn't call it a problem here on Meta Stack Overflow, @Popular. It's kind of how the place operates - things are deleted to prevent confusion over old systems that no longer are applicable. As such, you're not really supposed to be attached to reputation here for that reason. Every month or so I'll probably lose a couple hundred or so reputation as things get deleted for no longer really needing to stick around. –  Grace Note Mar 28 '11 at 17:50
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Taken to its logical extreme, this could result in users with massive reputations with no visible contributions to the site. How is that an improvement? –  Shog9 Mar 28 '11 at 18:09
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@Shog9, I'm not sure why 'visible' is important, a contribution is a contribution. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 18:24
    
@jon, Not sure why you'd think links are important since it's a generic problem, but here you go: 1, 2. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 18:34
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@Lance: if a tree falls in the forest, and we all watch it, but then leave and it rots away... Do we still get the lumber? –  Shog9 Mar 28 '11 at 18:53
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OK, but only if we also get an option to delete with extra rep loss, too. –  user27414 Mar 28 '11 at 18:53
    
lol at this question.. +6/-5 the question, +2/-2, +2/-2, +1/-1 the answers –  Andreas Bonini Mar 28 '11 at 19:11
    
What about answers??? I have had questions deleted on which I posted an answer with a lot of upvotes! the question was deleted because it was a bad question, however my answer wasn't! I lost over 50 rep!!!!! –  Ephraim Apr 25 '12 at 22:56
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I say keep the rep (negative or positive) for all deleted posts. It doesn't matter if it doesn't exist anymore, you wrote it, people upvoted it, you deserve the rep. You don't have to give all your salary back if your company bankrupts.

Also it would improve the whole "rep recalc" bug where your denormalized reputation is different than your actual reputation (and yes it is a bug).

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Reputation != salary. –  Shog9 Mar 28 '11 at 18:02
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Salary = reward for work done; reputation = reward for time spent, @Shog9? –  Arjan Mar 28 '11 at 18:51
    
@Arjan: reputation = indication of valued participation. –  Shog9 Mar 28 '11 at 18:54
    
Since when is rep a reward for time spent? –  user27414 Mar 28 '11 at 18:54
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@Arjan The relation between your money and your contributions is not nearly the same as the relation between your Stack Exchange reputation and your Stack Exchange contributions. –  Grace Note Mar 28 '11 at 18:55
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I think you're right, this would simplify everything. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 22:01
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It's hard for the system to know that a question was valid once, only to not be valid any more. Maybe some sort of time-based check? If the post is more than six months old, say, and gets deleted, then you don't lose rep?

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The system doesn't actually have to determine the validity, the users voting for deletion can make the determination. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 17:15
    
Actually, @Lance, I'd say nobody needs to determine that, other than the people who voted on the post? (Who implicitly say the post was valid, if ever deleted.) –  Arjan Mar 28 '11 at 18:05
    
@Arjan, I've found that some people downvote posts just because it's not applicable to what they're doing right now, i.e. it's 'too localized' for them, because of how big their computing universe is. I would hope that those with delete powers (10k+) would have more maturity, and therefore act more judiciously. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 18:36
    
I meant, @Lance, why not keep all reputation without introducing a new "delete, but ..." option for that? (So, just like Kop suggested.) Sure, authors of some heavily upvoted answers to really off topic questions might benefit: their luck, and how often would that happen? –  Arjan Mar 28 '11 at 19:04
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The post, now out of date, is deleted and should take with it the hits of rep and badges that comes with it.

Ply the crystal ball and predict how many support questions will be raised when a user notices that their posts have been deleted with the rep going away. All while another user has theirs deleted but without the hit and wanting to know the decision for keeping a rather non-transparent way of notching reputation. Collusion? Who knows.

If people need to equate reputation with money, then no, you should stop right there. It's not money and the same rules don't factor in with real world currency.

Keeping the audit is fine. But posts that no longer exist should no longer heap upon your glistening visage any benefits.

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To me (if I would care) reputation is equated with time. Time invested is lost when the question and all its answers are deleted. Leaving the reputation in place would make some be less sad. –  Arjan Mar 28 '11 at 18:02
    
@Arjan, It definitely feels like I've wasted some of my time contributing, just to have it all chucked. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 18:25
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@Lance: that's because if you were just going for rep then you have wasted some of your time contributing. As for rep, its days are like grass, it flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. –  Shog9 Mar 28 '11 at 18:56
    
@Shog9, I always appreciate your poetic insight. –  Lance Roberts Mar 28 '11 at 19:26
    
What is rep, that you take knowledge of it? Or a score of rep, that you think of it? Rep is like a mere breath; its days are like a passing shadow. –  mmyers Mar 28 '11 at 20:21
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