In idly looking through the users list on ELL, I noticed that right after the usual long string of 101 reputation users, there were two people with exactly 100. Nothing unusual about that, downvotes happen, except...:

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Choosing another beta site at random, I got this from eBooks:

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None of these profile owners have asked or answered any questions on the relevant sites. They all have the association bonus. And on all of them the association bonus is the only reputation change on the site, positive or negative. (There are other non-staff users with 100 on a couple sites I checked, but they all had asked/answered questions.)

Obviously it would be difficult to manually examine all the beta (or main) sites to determine whether the pattern continues. But what causes it in the first place? How do staff rid themselves of that pesky OCD-breaking initial 1 reputation?

waitwaitwait. Don't tell me.

  • 3
    They all are Stack Exchange employees... My guess is that they have been auto-assigned to a beta site and there is a bug in that process in that they don't get their measly 1 point initial rep when that happens. Apr 23, 2014 at 16:42
  • @MartijnPieters: That makes sense. A brief look across some staff beta site accounts seems to correlate. Apr 23, 2014 at 16:53
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    That "moderator ♦" didn't strike you as odd?
    – user1228
    Apr 23, 2014 at 16:57
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    @Won't: No, of course not. I didn't suppose it to be a relevant data point because some staff accounts do have 101 rep on beta sites. (Note also that there are no non-staff mods who would have only 100-101 reputation, for obvious reasons. This makes controlling for presence/absence of a diamond difficult, since the display text doesn't distinguish between community mod diamonds and staff mod diamonds.) Apr 23, 2014 at 17:10
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    @JonathanGarber All the profiles you linked have cast some downvotes; odds are, exactly one of them was on an answer. Downvoting an answer deducts one rep from the downvoter and does not show up in the reputation tab of the downvoter's profile page (to other users).
    – senshin
    Apr 23, 2014 at 17:25
  • @senshin: Mm, point. The numbers still don't add up (looking at Robert's eBooks profile, he has 5 downvotes on 5 answers,) but that does break the whole "no changes" thing. Note that this definitely isn't a case of per-site meta votes clouding the issue, since those are clearly tracked separately from votes on main. Apr 23, 2014 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


There are a couple of things happening here:

  • Reputation losses from downvoting answers is not shown unless it's your own profile, a change which was made in 2011 to prevent the information from being used for revenge downvoting.

  • All the people you linked to are Stack Overflow Employees who have diamond moderator privileges on all sites. This privilege includes downvoting, which as you can see from the presence of the Critic badge or by looking at their vote summaries (at the bottom of the summary page, e.g. here).

    However, this can very rarely be seen with a regular user. At one point in time, downvotes only required 100 reputation to cast (this was likely changed sometime in late 2010). I found two users on Stack Overflow who got the association bonus and downvoted back when it only required 100 rep. It's still possible for this to happen on here on MSE, since you only need 100 rep to downvote here. During private Beta, anyone can downvote so that's another way this can happen (H/T Monica Cellio). The admittedly flawed query I used to find users like this is:

select id as [User Link] from users where downvotes > 0 and 0 = (select count(*) from posts where owneruserid = users.id)
  • Downvoting an answer costs 1 rep. However, if the post is deleted that 1 rep is refunded. In this case we know Robert Cartaino cast 5 down votes all on answers, four of which must have been deleted, thus refunding 4 rep.

With enough downvotes, this can cause someone to drop below 100 points. Here's an example.

This doesn't have anything to do with the site being a beta site. In fact, the reputations of the three linked users haven't changed at all and in the meantime ELL is not a beta site anymore.

  • Downvoting also has a lower rep requirement on private betas, so you can have cases where people downvoted then but wouldn't be able to today. Sep 23, 2018 at 17:34

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