What is the consideration in regaining the lost reputation after deleting the downvoted question or answer. Is it an advantage to those asking poor questions or answering very poorly?

  • 11
    If you ask and delete many downvoted questions, you will ultimately run into a question ban. The same goes for answers. So you can't keep doing that.
    – Bart
    Apr 10 '13 at 7:10
  • 6
    You get your reputation back because you've saved some of the communities time and made the site look better. You've performed a service. As Bart says, be wary though. Apr 10 '13 at 7:18
  • Sometimes you realize that you did a mistake (it could be an unclear question for which you wrote an answer), or you provided a good answer but some haters down voted it. So, you decide that it's better to remove it. I believe that this is a good feature on this website. Oct 30 '16 at 12:06

It would probably seem unfair to most users if deleting a question or answer didn't eliminate negative reputation changes from downvotes, but still did eliminate positive reputation changes from upvotes.

It's for consistency and fairness that the system gives back reputation from a downvoted post, just like it takes back reputation gained from an upvoted post. (And of course, some posts have both upvotes and downvotes, and both recalculations occur.)

As for why users should lose positive reputation changes from posts they have deleted:

  • If you choose to delete a post, you're choosing to deprive the community of whatever continued benefit would be associated with keeping it. That doesn't mean you should never delete an upvoted post--sometimes you should, and there's even a badge for deleting a post with a score of 3 or higher to encourage people to be willing to do this. But it's only fair to lose the reputation if you're taking away what you gave people in exchange for it. (Though of course it's a more complex exchange, since the primary benefit of posting, even socially, is usually not reputation.)

  • If a moderator deletes a post or high rep users vote to delete it, then it's either considered improper content (for example, it might be a great comment that doesn't try to answer a question, posted as an answer), or no longer of value (for example, a closed question with low views after closing that doesn't seem to contribute anything). In these cases, both negative and positive reputation associated with the post can be considered incidental to its temporary existence. For example, if you post a comment as an answer and it's converted to a comment, it's right that you shouldn't keep any positive or negative reputation from it, since it should have been a comment, now it is a comment, and comments don't generate reputation.

  • If your answer is deleted because the question it answered was deleted, then you can keep your reputation if the answer meets certain requirements that indicate it likely gave substantial value to the community while it was around. This blog post explains that the requirements are that it existed for 60 days and had a score of 3 or greater.

If you've created a post that's been downvoted, but you've considered whether or not the post is good and you think it is, then please do not delete it. However, as ben is uǝq backwards says, removing a post of yours that doesn't provide anything of value is a good thing. Stack Exchange sites are wikis, they are extensively editable, and once a bad post no longer exists to be an eyesore, distract from good posts, or give bad advice, there's no reason its author should have to continue shouldering the burden of the negative reputation that was associated with it.

  • 5
    Delightfully, you also get back any rep you may have spent to downvote bad answers if/when they are deleted, as a sort of "well, apparently you were right" rebate.
    – Ben Barden
    Apr 10 '13 at 16:11
  • 1
    @BenBarden When you DV an answer and then it's deleted, the reputation given back doesn't mean you were right. Except in situations where the post is removed for reasons of moderation (for example, you flagged it and a mod removed it), you shouldn't assume a its deletion means your negative appraisal of it was right. Your -1 is reversed because the philosophy behind the system is that reputation should not exist from deleted posts except under special circumstances. Just like people create posts that would be better off not existing, people also delete posts that would be better off existing. Apr 10 '13 at 22:04

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