Not really a big question.

Recently, I just downvoted a post of new user whose reputation was 1 point (of course) on SO.

  • Even after downvote, the user's reputation was 1 point (that's ok).
  • Then later some other user upvoted the post. The user gained 5 points.
  • Now the total reputation of that user is 6 points.
  • Later, I just removed my downvote and again downvoted the post. The user lost 2 points.
  • Now the user's reputation fallen to 4 points.

My question is: Is this Ok?

PS: Many users thinking here that the vote system locks our vote in after 5 minutes. So, there is no way to toggle but as I have 2000+ rep on SO, I can easily edit the post of new user and do the silly toggling. (I will not, it is just a case).

EDIT: In my opinion, I think the votes should refresh on each vote by other users(whether it is upvote or downvote). Atleast for new users.

EDIT 2 : Shouldn't I be excluded from degrading points of new user later just by doing silly toggling?

  • It is ok, what a wrong step you found ? – Raynold Mar 29 '13 at 10:01
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    I'm, to be honest, not sure if I should close this as duplicate of "How does reputation work"...it is a valid question for a quirk which is by design... – Time Traveling Bobby Mar 29 '13 at 10:02
  • A downvote will always take away 2 points provided that overall rep does not goes into negative. Stack Exchange does not want any of its users to have -ve reps. It is perfectly fine. – Aziz Shaikh Mar 29 '13 at 10:04
  • @SulfurizedDemonbobby I think it should be closed as duplicate and the quirk should be added to the original post. – Aziz Shaikh Mar 29 '13 at 10:06
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    IMO Not a duplicate: I think the OP is asking whether it is good behaviour or not? (Un-downvote and re-downvote to reduce the rep of new user) – Himanshu Jansari Mar 29 '13 at 10:08
  • Hey Here I am trying to say that I have just downvoted the user before so I think I can't downvote the user again. It is just like double downvote isn't it? – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 10:09
  • @Mr_Green It is not a double downvote because you mentioned that "I just removed my downvote". Then you decided to downvote again and at that time user was above 1 rep so it got the -2 reps. None of your fault. – Aziz Shaikh Mar 29 '13 at 10:11
  • @AzizShaikh but the user has just lost two points more because of my toggling of downvote. – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 10:20
  • @Mr_Green if you did this deliberately then what you did was not right. If it was unintentional then it was ok because this is by-design. I don't see any compelling reason to change system behavior to avoid this quirk. – Aziz Shaikh Mar 29 '13 at 10:25
  • @AzizShaikh check my updated post. (Its just a discussion, please participate only if you are interested) – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 10:28
  • @Mr_Green Thanks for editing the question. Now it looks more of a discussion, previously it was simply a question. Good luck :) – Aziz Shaikh Mar 29 '13 at 10:30
  • @hims056: That behavior is already mitigated by the fact that votes cannot be changed after 5 minutes unless the post is edited. – Caleb Mar 29 '13 at 13:29
  • @Caleb I can do this even by editing the new user's post. because I have 2000+ rep on SO. – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 13:31
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  • You may want to note that their are very similar use cases that have to do with the daily rep cap – Some Helpful Commenter Mar 29 '13 at 14:32

I can see the argument you are making about refreshing the vote tally after each vote as the order of voting was have an impact on someone's score and their ability to perform actions on the site.

First Scenario:

Starting Rep     : 1  
3x Downvote (-6) : 1  
3x Upvote (+15)  : 16
Final Rep        : 16 (user can now cast upvotes)

Second Scenario:

Starting Rep     : 1  
1x Upvote (+5)   : 6  
3x Downvote (-6) : 1 
2x Upvote (+10)  : 11  
Final Rep        : 11 

In the end, you have 2 different users who maybe asked similar questions got exactly the same number of votes, one of whom has enough reputation to cast upvotes and another who does not. The only different is 1 question has a quick upvote whereas the other did not.

And if you implemented a vote refresh on the second scenario you would end up with something like this:

Starting Rep     : 1  
1x Upvote (+5)   : 6  
3x Downvote (-6) : 1 
2x Upvote (+10)  : 10 (there is a -1 due to a vote refresh to capture the -1 
                       from the earlier downvotes that was lost)
Final Rep        : 10 

And a vote refresh on the first scenario:

Starting Rep     : 1  
3x Downvote (-6) : 1 
3x Upvote (+15)  : 10 
Final Rep        : 10 

However, my response is: "Is it worth changing how the system calculates reputation just to correct this situation?"

My opinion is no, because in the end the reputation (and associated privileges) of a new user is only really going to matter to the new user if they plan on sticking around and participating more by asking more questions and answering questions. And if they do that, a couple of extra points (or missing points) early in the process is not going to change the experience for the user or impact the site seriously enough. If they get a good answer and solve their problem, they will return and this won't even matter (if they even notice it).

I think the current design is more advantageous for new users because it allows them to recover from an initial flurry of downvotes more easily (basically ask a bad question, learn their lesson, and not be forced to climb out of a deep pit).

| improve this answer | |
  • Ya, I completely agree with your opinion. But atleast shouldn't I be excluded from degrading two points later just by doing silly toggling? – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 12:33
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    Everyone else already started to address that before you changed the question the first time (I know Meta's rules are more relaxed than SO, but you still shouldn't continually change your question).... but my answer is still the same... why does it matter? The new user won't care, they just want their question answered. If they come back, those 2 points won't matter very much at all. – psubsee2003 Mar 29 '13 at 12:39
  • I was just continuing the discussion, if I am getting to another level then I was updating my post (as number on EDIT's). So, that other newly entered users can understand what's the current discussion now going on. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will close this discussion here. – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 12:44
  • or should I wait? (It is completely my wish ofcourse but I am feeling as the answering users are annoying by my extend of discussion). no offense none shall be taken :) (sorry, bad english) – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 12:50
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    @Mr_Green Discussions are one thing, we love to have them on MSO. But the idea of the discussion tag on Meta is not about a continually changing discussion about a general topic attacking it from all angles, but a more focused discussion about a specific topic. – psubsee2003 Mar 29 '13 at 12:54
  • But I would just leave this question alone and see if anyone else wants to chime in, besides I don't think you can vote to close your own question yet (nor can you delete since it has answers). – psubsee2003 Mar 29 '13 at 12:55
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    @Mr_Green You already are exclude from doing a silly toggle. The vote system locks your vote in after 5 minutes. This is in case you accidentally miss-click etc. After that you won't be able to do silly things like that anyway. – Caleb Mar 29 '13 at 13:36
  • @Caleb I have 2000+ rep on SO. I can myself edit the new users post and do this stuff. Am I wrong? (I tried it, worked) (I just commented this above not sure why you asked here again) – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 13:39

This is a "legitimate" quirk surrounding the magic 1 rep limit.

The system does only track casted votes, so if you remove your vote from the question/answer, it gets also removed from the system. The system afterwards has no means to track if you've already voted on this question/answer, therefor it is treated as new vote. Since the user now has enough reputation, the 2 points are removed.

If this is something you should do to hit the user, I can not say. Your first downvote, despite having no effect on the reputation, is in the system and contributes to question- and answers-ban and pushing the question/answer into the review queues. If you still feel like that user deserves two less reputation, feel free to do as you did.

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  • Please check my updated post – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 10:51

Reputation does not go negative. Your first downvote showed post, but did not affect the users overall reputation. Your reversal likewise did not affect the overall score. Nothing had been taken away so nothing was given back. Later when you downvoted again, the user had some positive rep to be taken away, so two points were taken. This is normal vote related rep math.

My question is, why did you toggle your vote? Did they do something to improve and then again ruin the post?

Re edits 1: retroactively recalculating how votes are applied would be counter productive and confusing. The only case where it would apply would be when a user is displaying 1 rep but actually negative and it would mean new votes that they might have a deficit to work through before an upvote has any affect. Honestly when folks are at 1 point, the rep system isn't that important. Anything in the first hundred has little affect.

Re edit 2: This is already mitigated by the fact that you cannot "toggle" your vote or change it at all after 5 minutes unless the post is edited. After that your vote is locked anyway. Changed posts allow you to re-think your vote.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Please check my updated post – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 10:52
  • I toggled my vote to just check whether I will get success in degrading two points of the new user or not (I got success). Honestly, it was just test to check. – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 12:18

The operations happened are programmed to do so. I am assuming the simple logic behind is should be

if ( rep > 2 ) 
  deduct -2 reputation from the current reputation
else if ( rep = 1 )
  take no action, leave the same reputation.
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  • Actually, you need to check if the rep is greater then 2. – Time Traveling Bobby Mar 29 '13 at 10:13
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    Actually it's more like rep = max( 1, rep - 2 ) – JJJ Mar 29 '13 at 10:15
  • @SulfurizedDemonbobby , yes agree – Raynold Mar 29 '13 at 10:15
  • Please check my updated post – Mr_Green Mar 29 '13 at 10:52
  • Could we not instead go for rep -= 2; displayed_rep = max(1, rep)? – Eric Mar 29 '13 at 13:18
  • @Eric: no, rep is not stored as less than 1. – user7116 Mar 29 '13 at 14:40
  • @sixlettervariables: I realize, but is there any reason for it not to be? – Eric Mar 29 '13 at 15:04
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    @Eric: keeps you from being put into the pit of despair. – user7116 Mar 29 '13 at 15:08
  • @Eric: Yes, if it was stored with -12 f.e., then an upvote of a question would push it to -7...and Meta would tremble under the hoards of noobs which demand "Why I not gets rep :( ?!" – Time Traveling Bobby Apr 2 '13 at 7:46

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