On Programmers.SE, I edited a post (Must I provide my project source code if I use a library licensed under Apache 2.0?) back in November. Since it was a suggested edit, I earned +2 reputation when my edit was approved.

The author of that post appears to have had their account deleted sometime yesterday. The post, however, was not deleted. Apparently as a result of this, I lost the 2 reputation I earned for editing that post.

screenshot of rep history with +2 and -2 circled

Is that what's supposed to happen? I'm aware that if the post is deleted, you lose rep gained from edits, but does it make sense to lose rep if the owner of the post is deleted?

(Given that the only approver on the edit at this point in time is Community, I suspect that what really happened is that the post-owner directly approved my suggested edit; I imagine this is related. Perhaps the question actually ought to be "are you supposed to lose rep from suggested edits if the sole edit-approver's account is deleted?".)

  • 1
    Yeah, the real issue is likely explained by the last bit, where the approver was originally the user and the +2 got wiped out like other votes do when they were deleted. But I don't know if that's intentional.
    – Tim Stone
    Feb 19, 2015 at 20:17

3 Answers 3


This actually looks like a bug to me.

As far as I can see, that's what happened:

  1. You suggested the edit.
  2. OP of question approved the edit.
  3. You got +2.
  4. Account of question OP got deleted, hence the approval moved to the Community user.
  5. Due to some bug, you lost the +2
  • 7
    The bug seems to be that the approval owner is changed to Community, but the vote owner is not.
    – yo'
    Feb 19, 2015 at 20:45

This question is essentially a duplicate of “User was removed” – I lost 2 rep, which is tagged .  But I wonder whether the person who tagged it as such realized that it was talking about rep from an approved suggested edit, as that wasn’t entirely clear from the question itself.

This seems to be counter to the spirit of the rule.  Voting on a post is an individual decision; everybody decides whether or not to vote independently.  But a suggested edit demands votes, one way or the other.  It seems that most suggested edits are approved, and if a suggested edit was good enough to be approved by two users (the last one of which happened to be the author of the post), it’s reasonable to assume that the edit would have been approved eventually by somebody else (if the OP had not been there to do it).  And it’s not consistent with the wording of the “Why do I have a reputation change on my reputation page that says ‘User was removed’?” page in the Help Center:

This message means that a user who voted for one of your posts had their account deleted …

(emphasis added).

Disclosure: I’m currently a little agitated about this because it just happened to me.
† or three, on Stack Overflow (and maybe some other high-traffic communities?)
‡ and not rejected by any users

  • 1
    "approved by two† users‡" - Or just one user, if the author of the post approves it first.
    – MrWhite
    Jul 7, 2017 at 12:13

In order to give a user reputation for a suggested edit being approved, a "vote" has to be created. The VoteTypeId is 16 and labeled "ApproveEditSuggestion" - and it gets created with a reputation increase of 2 and assigned to the last user who voted to approved the suggested edit. In cases where the OP approves the edit, that will always be the OP - otherwise it's just the third user to approve it, and sometimes the Community user in the event the edit was improved.

Now for normal users, you won't ever see this causing a big problem. You need at least 2,000 reputation in order to review suggested edits, which also means you can't easily delete your account (you have to talk to us, and we have to manually review your account before it actually gets deleted by the system). Ergo, we can prevent mass damage from occurring by transferring your votes to the Community user before your deletion goes through (if need be), which would preserve all of these +2 votes anyways.

Then we get to the lower-reputation users who approve edits to their own posts. They don't have to talk to us before deleting their profile - they just have to wait for some automated emails to fire off and they can complete the entire process without saying a word to us.

Since there is no oversight into these users and deleting their profiles, it opens up a possible abuse scenario where users could create another profile, post a single question or answer, and then suggest as many edits as they want having them all instantly approved by the post's owner. They could then delete the other profile and leave no trace of voting irregularities in the system since one of the users is now gone. If no one notices this random post with an edit history filled with nonsense, then they just gained a bunch of reputation that we'd never know about and they definitely shouldn't have.

Problem solved: we already delete all of their votes when they delete their profile. So all of those suggested edit approvals that went from one user to the other get deleted/reversed, and the reputation disappears.

Essentially, deleting these suggested edit approval votes is no different than deleting the users upvotes, and no more or less fair to the user affected with the reputation change. It's just a part of the user deletion process.

  • 1
    The problem in that abuse scenario is eliminating any accessible history.
    – user154510
    May 19, 2016 at 2:10
  • 2
    So to confirm I'm reading this correctly: Before the profile of a user with over 2k rep is deleted, that user's votes (including edit approvals) should be transferred to the Community user. So for my approved SO edit, where the post hasn't been deleted and the post's author's profile hasn't been deleted, the third approver had to have been a user with 2k+ rep, and so their approve votes ought to have been transferred to the Community user, right? Nov 6, 2016 at 20:50
  • 2
    @DanHenderson We do not always transfer votes to the Community user. It's just much more likely to happen for a user with over 2,000 reoutation since it's likely they have voted a lot. But it's still an entirely manual process that is not a guarantee to happen, and there are plenty of side reasons why it wouldn't.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 6, 2016 at 21:15

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