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I found a weird bug in SO today when I tried to down vote an answer that had completely wrong suggestion to solve an issue. Now, when I down-voted the answer, it had already been deleted (possibly by mods) but my screen did not refresh. And when I tried to post a comment reasoning the down-vote it failed.

There was nothing wrong till that point but the real surprise came after that when I found that the down-vote has caused a deduction of 1 reputation from my SO. The situation persisted until few refresh of my browser window and after that I found the original reputation point has been restored. However, when I logged into meta SO to report the issue, I still found that meta SO is showing that older wrong reputation point for SO. Please see the screenshots:

Status at SO

status at SO

status at SO at meta SO

status at SO at meta SO

Now, I am really eager to know:

  1. Is this a known issue of SO?
  2. If not, where should I report it for resolution?
  3. What is the original status of my SO account?

Thanks in advance.

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    How does the screenshot relate to the story? – Jeroen Vannevel Nov 22 '13 at 19:32
  • @JeroenVannevel just to support my assertion. – Ayan Sengupta Nov 22 '13 at 19:47
  • What. Huh?? One says THREE seventy seven (377), and the other says TWO seventy six (276). Why are they a hundred points off each other for one downvote? – Johnny Bones Nov 22 '13 at 20:47
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This isn't a browser refresh issue; it is by design. Reputation lost on deleted posts is not restored immediately; there is a random/arbitrary delay built in (this is to prevent someone deleting their post from trying to sniff out who down-voted them). You just happened to refresh and eventually see the point restored.

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    I believe the arbitrary delay is when the rep-recalc script runs. Not to prevent people from sniffing out downvoters. There are better ways to sniff out downvoters than this. – Mysticial Nov 22 '13 at 19:34
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    I remmember seeing a post that talked about the sniffing delay. – brasofilo Nov 22 '13 at 19:36
  • Thanks @AaronBertrand. Yes you are right, I see the reputation points have been restored on either site. And your explanation really helped me to understand the process. – Ayan Sengupta Nov 22 '13 at 19:37
  • @Mysticial well, pretty sure it used to restore immediately. I thought for sure I had read a conversation here at one point that explained why they introduced a delay, and it was so that the fact that you down-voted would be less obvious. Could have been just for caching though. – Aaron Bertrand Nov 22 '13 at 19:48
  • I don't think I've ever seen it done immediately. (but just because I never saw doesn't mean it never happened) Removing a vote will immediately restore the reputation for both voter and receiver. Deletion of a post was always delayed pending the recalc script (which I presume runs periodically like the badge script). – Mysticial Nov 22 '13 at 19:51
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This is probably what happened:

  • You downvoted an answer
  • The answer got deleted (by the owner / a moderator)
  • 1 reputation points got deducted from your reputation

The situation persisted until few refresh of my browser window and after that I found the original reputation point has been restored.

This delay could be due to several reasons. It could be due to server-side caching. It could be an arbitrary delay intentionally made to prevent people from sniffing who downvoted their post. It could be something else.

However, when I logged into meta SO to report the issue, I still found that meta SO is showing that older wrong reputation point for SO.

Caching. It's always caching.

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