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I'm not reputation addicted so I do not care very much. But I was wondering about an idea that came to my mind lately, please follow this:

Votes are very useful. They decide (the community behind them) which answer is good and what is less good in order to get better answers on the top and bad answers buried. Now let's imagine two scenarios of a user reading a question:

  1. He posts an answer. That answer gets 2 down votes. The answerer doesn't care.
  2. He posts an answer. That answer gets 2 down votes. The answerer delete his own answer.

The difference is very slight but the second one has made something "for" the community: he admitted his own mistake and deleted his own "bad" answer. Here the question come:

Should we reward the second behavior?

I think so. Imagine that every down voted, useless, bad answers on SO are gone. Wouldn't it be more clear? Wouldn't it be easier to find good answers (considering that some times good ones are hidden in front of the "accepted" answer)? I'd really appreciate not to se -5 down voted answers even if they are buried on the bottom of the page.

How to reward him?

There would be no really reward. The answerer who delete his own answer just put his reputation back to what it was. Let's make an example: An user with 666 rep post an answer that get down voted 3 times (-6 reputation) going back to 660. He deletes his own answer and he gets back to 666. This would obliviously work even if an user get up voted. But that's another matter.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

It already works that way, you get your reputation back on a reputation recalc. You can trigger a recalc at the bottom of /reputation.

In addition to giving the user their reputation back, there is also a Peer Pressure badge to reward removing a bad answer.

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Oh hell. Sorry. I didn't know that. – Shoe Apr 8 '11 at 14:33
What if you look at your answer two hours later and realize that it's a really bad answer ? I want to delete a bomb of an answer I put up, but I'm scared of what it will do to my numbers. – User.1 Mar 20 '14 at 17:30
@User.1, If the answer is bad and you're getting downvoted for it, then just delete it. See the deleted questions FAQ for more details… – Brandon Mar 20 '14 at 17:54

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