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The reason for losing rep for downvoting has been discussed at length. But why do moderators lose rep when downvoting answers, especially when using the moderator tools?

When I am handling flags, very often the proper course of action is to leave a comment and downvote, particularly with the Low Quality flags.

I don't mind losing rep here or there when moderating, but I am curious why this is the case.

  • 8
    Good news, we don't lose rep for downvoting questions. :-) – George Stocker Jun 24 '13 at 13:50
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    Turning this around, why should moderators be exempt? You are still listed with us regular users, with the Hoi Polloi, with a reputation.. – Martijn Pieters Jun 24 '13 at 13:51
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    You don't lose rep; you invest it towards the overall quality of your site. – yannis Jun 24 '13 at 13:58
  • @MartijnPieters I asked because I tend to handle a lot of Low Quality flags, where a downvote+comment from the flagger would have been more appropriate. – mpdonadio Jun 24 '13 at 14:06
  • @MPD Then communicate that to the user so that they'll know that downvoting/commenting is the appropriate action for such posts, not flagging. – Servy Jun 24 '13 at 14:09
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    "I tend to handle a lot of Low Quality flags" Hehehe. FSM knows I have a meaner upvote/downvote ratio on sites I moderate for this reason, but the upside is that you get the points back if the material is every deleted. – dmckee Jun 24 '13 at 15:28
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    I think this question has been down voted to the point that irony has been served, if that's your motivation for doing so. It's a perfectly valid question surrounding our reputation system, you insensitive clods. – Tim Post Jun 24 '13 at 20:26
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    Or at least vote up Tim and George so they can get a shiny Reversal badge. – mpdonadio Jun 24 '13 at 20:36
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Because you're still a part of the community that you serve, you just have special privileges that let you do what the community can't. Remember, almost every other kind of vote that you can cast is immediately binding - but when it comes to up and down votes, you're still a mere mortal, along with employees of the company.

Down voting needs to cost you something because the concept of negative reputation within reputation systems can be downright horrifying if left unchecked. Any time people can lose points, you have to be careful. Otherwise, even moderators aren't immune to casting them spuriously in lieu of doing other things like editing. It's good that you seem to favor voting and commenting instead of removing content, that's definitely more healthy when it comes to retaining users. But, we can't leave the ability unchecked.

The exception we made was for questions, because people just weren't voting on questions very much. However, you're still limited to your maximum votes per day (with the extra votes thrown in just for questions).

Also, try to avoid casting a down vote in place of the down vote that a flagging user did not cast. That's putting yourself in the position of being a proxy, which is something you ideally avoid.

  • sounds fair to me – Leo Apr 11 '14 at 11:07
  • ...Community edited – Elliot A. Jan 31 '16 at 14:30
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I rarely vote when I'm moderating, partially because I want to retain the aura of impartiality. It's important to not mix the two activities.

I vote when I know the content, know it's a bad answer for the question or a question that hasn't been researched well, but I don't want to take any moderator actions against the question (poor/no research is not a reason to close a question).

I'll take moderator action when the post meets one of the five criteria for closing, or one of the other criteria for flagging/deletion.

This is just a personal preference.

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