Here's something I noticed this morning, and was disappointed I guess. Two days ago, I provided an answer to a question on Stackoverflow. That answer received two upvotes, so I gained 20 points. Yay!

It appears that earlier today, the OP (or someone) removed the question from SO, so any points earned from answering the question were removed.

So this is what I'm seeing (the post I'm referencing is called Rename a Button)


So, my question to the community is this:

If I took the time to answer a question, and others in the community felt the answer was worth upvoting, should those points be taken away because the OP (or someone else) later chooses to delete the question?

  • 5
    OP can't delete the question if it contains answers with positive score
    – juergen d
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 16:24
  • @juergend You are correct, I was careful at the beginning to imply that anyone (OP or moderator) may have deleted the question, but not at the end haha. In this case, I believe you are right and a moderator deleted the question.
    – Charlie74
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 16:26
  • 2
    If you received downvotes on your answer, and that reputation was restored when the question was deleted, would you even question it?
    – ale
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 16:51
  • @AlEverett I suppose not... I probably wouldn't have even noticed.
    – Charlie74
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 16:52
  • 1
    I supposed my gripe was in this particular case, I knew the answer was correct. Granted, it was an easy answer... I expect to lose points if I answer something wrong, but not when answering something correctly. Not a huge deal, but I thought I'd bring the question here. Unfortunately, asking the question seems to have cost me a bit of rep on meta this morning... so now I'm also disappointed about that /sigh
    – Charlie74
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


If a question is off-topic and doesn't belong on the site, it should indeed get deleted and all reputation removed.


It teaches those who ask such questions that they should conform to the site norms in regards to question quality.

It also teaches those who answer such questions that they cannot gain reputation by answering questions that do not belong on the site.

If it didn't hurt, people wouldn't learn - we do not want a site where people keep asking off-topic questions because they know they will get an answer even if the question gets deleted later on.

Now, norms for question quality change over time, which is why removal of a post that is older than 60 days with a score of 3 or greater does not have any effect on reputation.


How it works

The OP cannot delete a question if the question as upvoted answers.
So the question was probably removed by a moderator (or 10K reputation user).

Unfortunately, if the question didn't belong here in the first place, so does the answer..

I encourage you really take the time to read a question to make sure it is a good formulated, that it belongs here and everything.

If you are not sure about if the question belongs here or not, use the comment section to make the user correct a few things and once you are sure the question fits StackOverflow's model, post your answer.

The reputation lost is by design and is not likely to change.


I think it would be bad to remove the reputation penality!
Be acting how we are acting right now, we encourage people to clean up bad questions (by bad I mean bad for this site) and making sure that the content is right before posting.

Imagine if it wasn't the case someone could post funny / non-related answers because the questions is bad in the first place, get plenty of non-merited points and keep them ?


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