According to the help on users being removed, on how you lose rep for their upvotes being removed too:

This removal occurs whenever a user is deleted, unless that user had a very high reputation score. Because high-reputation users have usually cast a great many votes, removing all of them could be that much more disruptive to other users. In such cases, the staff use a special deletion that preserves the votes, resulting in no reputation change for those who had been voted on by that user.

We just had a very experienced user removed from Travel.SE (don't know why but that's separate). I, for example, lost 1667 rep (sure it's just a number, but still). So this caused us to wonder - how much reputation is 'high-reputation' enough to use this 'special deletion'?

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    I didn't realize it was even tied to reputation. I assumed that if the user had an abundant number of votes that they would just preserve them. – animuson ModStaff Dec 23 '14 at 4:54
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    My impression is that there is no firm threshold. Sometimes the user's activity is overlooked. I once noticed a very active voter removed with the votes, and emailed team@ about it; they restored the votes. – user259867 Dec 23 '14 at 5:33
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    Well, being the highest rep user of the site with thousands of answers it's natural you would lose the most... maybe a mod on the site can check how many rep other users lost? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Dec 23 '14 at 8:04
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    related: Wiping votes on deletion of highly active accounts (-865 points on “User was removed”): "This was our screw-up, and preventing large impact deletes like this will be..." (@MonicaCellio 865 rep loss was prior top record) – gnat Dec 23 '14 at 8:06
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    @gnat indeed very related. Looks like Nick's "sometime this week" is highly flexible. (BTW the user losing rep was sehe the OP, no MonicaCellio who just commented here seeing it) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Dec 23 '14 at 8:15
  • @ShadowWizard of course, but it still seems like a lot. Second highest user lost ~300, that's also quite a big number. – Mark Mayo Dec 23 '14 at 8:30
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    Agreed, I +1'ed this already and hopefully a dev will manually restore the votes. :) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Dec 23 '14 at 8:33
  • But hey, you have 90k reps there! – nicael Dec 23 '14 at 10:17
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    @ShadowWizard I consider eventually deleting my MSE account; wonder what effect would it make then, given that I cast 20+K upvotes over here "(not that it will be my headache though:)" – gnat Dec 23 '14 at 10:17
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    Can't get my head around the persistent denial that this (rep loss at account deletion) is a bug. If a task is repeated manually more than 3 times, it has to be automated. – Deer Hunter Dec 23 '14 at 11:51
  • Usually this happens when key devs leave the team and nobody knows what and where to fix. BUT SE is chock full with devs, with the enormous resource that is SO ready at hand. – Deer Hunter Dec 23 '14 at 12:04
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    @DeerHunter it may be a simple mistake on the side of SE devs. I can easily imagine that they tuned the system to trigger a "manual deletion needed" alert when request to delete account comes from user with high rep. What they may miss is the case of ragequit when leaving user first spends their rep on bounties. In theory, bounties allow to drop over 10k rep in two weeks, so that high rep users gets under 50, and system won't even notice. Apparent solution is to trigger alert by the amount of votes cast... – gnat Dec 23 '14 at 12:12
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    @Behaviour cheers, I've emailed the team and linked to this question, so here's hoping we get an official response :D – Mark Mayo Dec 23 '14 at 12:50
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    @DeerHunter - Something that happens a handful of times among millions of users is very much an edge case. There are many, many things that happen "more than 3 times" across the Stack Exchange network that are not worth developer attention. There are far more pressing matters that I'd want them to work on than this. – Brad Larson Dec 23 '14 at 16:20
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    That's in place now, @gnat - all of this is automated save for a final sanity-check when certain thresholds are exceeded (we're still tweaking those thresholds; the situations where this is needed should be exceedingly rare). By and large, rep loss from user deletions should be negligible outside of edge-cases as noted in Grace Note's answer. – Shog9 Dec 23 '14 at 16:38

When users are checked before committing a deletion, two things are checked. Well, more than two, but these are two that figure highly into the vote preservation determination. Their reputation level is checked, and also the votes they've cast. The important thing about this latter point, is that it isn't just the raw number of votes checked, but also where those votes have gone. Sometimes people have a large number of votes but haven't even voted for the same person more than twice. Other times, a person has a small number of votes but they all went towards a handful of people.

As another rule, and in fact the explanation for this particular incident, we will not preserve votes on an account that has a history of vote fraud. We're sorry about any loss this incurs on innocent bystanders but preventing fraudulent votes from being practically locked into the system is a higher priority.

  • at Programmers, I was twice trapped by downvotes reversal script (you can check these cases, I am not ashamed about both). Wonder if this would qualify my account as one "that has a history of vote fraud"? – gnat Dec 23 '14 at 17:02
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    @gnat No, automatic reversal by the system != malicious intent. It's the intent that matters. E.g. obvious member of a voting ring, puppeteer, etc - and probably contacted at least a few times by mods about it. – Tim Post Dec 23 '14 at 17:20
  • I see, thanks @TimPost - this approach makes perfect sense to me – gnat Dec 23 '14 at 17:30
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    Wow, I'm surprised, they were a great member. That's really a shame, but can understand the reasoning. However, still hoping for an answer to the actual question though - what level of user do you maintain the rep, as per that help link? Or is that covered by your 'isn't just the raw number of votes checked' sentence? :/ – Mark Mayo Dec 23 '14 at 20:42
  • @MarkMayo There's not really a hard number or level to provide there. As you noted that I noted, it's not just raw numbers, indeed. There's a sanity check as Shog9 mentioned but that just defines when it gets looked at, not the ultimate outcome. – Grace Note ModStaff Dec 23 '14 at 21:14
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    @MarkMayo It's a matter of how many times the user has voted overall, and how many times the user has cast votes on posts by specific people. The goal is to avoid just a few people seeing a huge drop, or quite a few people seeing 'more than a few' points lost due to the user being removed. The only way to answer your question is to define the goals we try to meet - each case is treated individually. We don't want folks to feel the impact of other users leaving, it's quite rare that this happens, but it does (unfortunately) come to pass from time to time. – Tim Post Dec 24 '14 at 3:47
  • @TimPost yeah, ~1700 impact ;) Fair enough, it's a pity people put us in this situation in the first place :/ – Mark Mayo Dec 24 '14 at 4:23

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