I know that if you delete your own question that was downvoted, after some short time the reputation gets recalculated and you get your lost reputation back.

There are some other discussions here that ask about this:

When I delete my own down-voted question, don't I get my lost reputation back?

Do I get back the reputation lost from downvotes on deleted questions?

Initially I asked if you do you get the ability to automatically delete your own non-answered question just above some rep threshold or even if you have 1 rep you can do it? The answer is yes you can, regardless of your reputation ( How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion? - thank you, Mat)

So as a sole question, do you think the system is correct / fair or is there any principle that is based on? I mean, someone in the above questions said that if you do it too much, you get banned. But even if you do it once a month, it's sort of a trial and error system. I figured if you don't get your rep back after deleting a poor question, then you'll be very careful next time when asking a question. And I'm not talking about one-time users, I'm talking about users who want to build a solid rep and be respected by the community.

And I'm clearly not saying that the current system is incorrect / unfair. It's very good, but I just want to have some opinions regarding it.

  • 1
    The first part of your question is answered here: deletion faq. There is no rep threshold needed to delete own posts, but there are conditions.
    – Mat
    Oct 19 '12 at 6:51
  • 1
    If you do it too much you'll get a question ban. That's a bigger deterrent than Rep IMHO.
    – Flexo
    Oct 19 '12 at 6:51
  • I read somewhere that the ban system isn't disclosed, and it shouldn't be, to prevent bypassing, so it's useless to ask what "too much" mean. But if you do it too much then you have a problem. I was thinking more for regular, 'good-faith' users, who, when asked a question that is downvoted, have more chances to learn from their mistakes
    – Tiborg
    Oct 19 '12 at 6:55
  • @Mat you should post this as an answer, the first one got clear for me.
    – Tiborg
    Oct 19 '12 at 6:56
  • 1
    Tiby, I'd rather you remove that part from your question. The second part still needs discussion. (It's always best to have only one question per, well, question.)
    – Mat
    Oct 19 '12 at 6:57
  • 1
    Both of the linked posts are outdated; there was a change in the whole reputation synch system and now those changes are immediate. You get the reputation instantly. Oct 19 '12 at 7:04
  • Please pick one question and edit the other out. I don't want to even think about starting to answer this until your question is a bit more focused. ;) Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Oct 19 '12 at 7:06
  • Done! First question is removed. Focusing only on the second one
    – Tiborg
    Oct 19 '12 at 13:43
  • 1
    @Flexo: It's more of a prevention than a deterrent. Most folks don't know about the question ban until they actually get banned.
    – user102937
    Oct 19 '12 at 17:10

The system is balancing several desiderable principles. Such principles can generally conflict with each another, but not in this case.

Restoring reputation after deleting a post comes out as fair and useful from all the obvious viewpoints.

  • Reward actions that improve overall site content quality. If the author does not believe that the negatively scoring post can be improved to an above zero score, and does not see special value in it that the community does not currently notice, it makes sense to reward a cleanup decision.
  • Training. It takes some trial and error to come to grips with the scope and interaction style of the site. Negative feedback is not a punishment, it is feedback to be acted on.
  • "Intellectual property". (Do not read this label literally.) It is fair and equitable, at least in the simplest case where the post is the work of a single author, to treat that user with full respect as its owner.
  • Current reputation of a user should reflect the extent and popularity of the current site content, not historical events. This simplifies the system and it defeats a number of strategies to game it.

I would like to stress that we are talking only about the "very least popular" questions here. A question can have a negative net score and you will still lose reputation by deleting it, because a great question is believed to bring more value than a poor question can detract from the site; and this is reflected in the different weight of upvotes and downvotes.

  • 1
    that was very precise and useful
    – Tiborg
    Oct 19 '12 at 19:21
  • 1
    +1 for mentioning negative score /= negative rep
    – AndrewC
    Oct 22 '12 at 11:34

Do you think the system is correct or is there any principle that is based on?

Yes this is correct and fair.

  • Users with few questions, none highly upvoted, who delete downvoted questions are more likely to post bad questions again. They will get banned to prevent them from posting such new bad questions. This would teach them to edit their existing bad questions and make them better, or alternatively to post good answers - action which would also lift the auto ban.

  • Users with established "reputation base" i.e. more than a few posts with substantial amount of upvotes can perform "spring cleaning" just fine without fearing any ban. For example in your case, in your current state (10 question, 10 answers many of those upvoted) you can delete downvoted questions you might have without any fear.


It is also fairly difficult to delete your question unless you are either fast about it or the question is borderline unanswerable, since one answer with one upvote or 2 answers will prevent question deletion. So this, combined with question bans, make it a difficult system to abuse.

  • Once I asked a really dumb question on SO and I got a satirical answer from some guy, and still, I deleted the question, but it was very confusing, I think I clicked twice on the delete button, and first time it was submitted as a flag, and then deleted, I wasn't very aware of what happened. Maybe someone here knows how this works.
    – Tiborg
    Oct 19 '12 at 15:54
  • 2
    If the question had only 1 answer and that answer has no upvotes, then you can still delete the question.
    – smcg
    Oct 19 '12 at 16:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .