I made the mistake of pushing the "Trigger Reputation Recalc" button on this page https://stackoverflow.com/reputation. Which triggers this url stackoverflow.com/reputation?recalc=true.

After this my rep went down from 4,624 to 4,205!!! Why did this happen? I know a few years ago there was a big automatic rep re-calc and I lost over 1000 rep then, has my rep been inflated this whole time or is it a bug!

It would be nice if there was a big disclaimer on that button "Warning this might cause you to lose reputation!!!!"

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    It doesn't cause you to lose reputation. It causes your displayed reputation to match your real reputation. Deleted posts are the major source of rep "loss" due to recalcs. – Mat Feb 24 '12 at 11:17
  • So basically my publicity visible rep has been inflated for a while and would've stayed that way if I hadn't hit that button ;-) – Matt Warren Feb 24 '12 at 11:35
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    Not for very long: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/123319/… – Mat Feb 24 '12 at 12:06
  • @Mat cheers for the link. Wow, when that happens loads of people are going to be complaining like me ;-) – Matt Warren Feb 24 '12 at 12:34
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    @MattWarren - we expect many vegetables to be thrown in our general direction, but hopefully once people understand they'll be happier with an always accurate number, rather than a surprise drop when recalcs roll around. – Nick Craver Feb 24 '12 at 12:43
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    "Terms and conditions implied, your reputation can go down as well as up, your home may be at risk if you spend too long on Stack Overflow instead of earning a wage" ;) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Feb 24 '12 at 12:49
  • You think that's bad?! – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 24 '12 at 13:39
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    On the other hand, it might cause you to gain reputation when posts you've downvoted are deleted. :) – Adam Lear Feb 24 '12 at 15:15
  • The real question is, where did you steal that reputation from? Huh, stealer? – user1228 Feb 24 '12 at 16:05

Read the text above the button:

** total rep 4205 :)

That tells you what your real reputation is. In fact, your reputation did not go down, it had been 4205 all along. What went down was your displayed reputation. The displayed reputation uses cached data that sometimes goes stale. In particular, reputation from deleted posts is not subtracted from the cached value (there are other discrepancies, but this is usually the one that makes the biggest difference).

There's an upcoming change that will fix the discrepancy between real rep and displayed rep.

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