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This question already has an answer here:

This has happened with me many times across the SE network.

For example, someone has downvoted another of my questions for no apparent reason, affecting my 'rep'.

However, SE strongly discourages me from deleting the question to reinstate my rep. In other words, SE is punishing me permanently for some unknown error in my question.

I find this quite unfair and disappointing. In my view, SE can fairly take only one of the following two positions:

  1. SE thinks that my question is bad for the community and wants to punish me for asking a bad question by making me lose my rep. In this case, SE should allow me to delete the question to rectify the damage that I have done to the community by asking it.

OR

  1. SE thinks that deleting my question is bad for the community. In this case, SE should stop punishing me for asking the question in the first place.

How can any fair system punish a person for an action but not allow him/her to correct it?

marked as duplicate by Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog, forest, iBug, Glorfindel discussion Sep 22 '18 at 7:13

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    OR we dislike losing valuable content in the answers just because the community thinks a question is bad, and keeping it around until the community decides all of it should be gone is better than just letting the owner of the question also delete all the answers with it. Just because you feel something is unfair doesn't mean you should have the sole decision to make things unfair for others. – animuson Sep 22 '18 at 4:38
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    @animuson If SE thinks an answered question is valuable for the community, why not reverse the lost rep on an answered question? How can any fair system punish a person for an action but not allow him/her to correct it? – Ritesh Singh Sep 22 '18 at 4:42
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    @RiteshSingh Because users don't just answer for the reputation, but to help others (not only the OP). It also takes time and effort to answer. Users would get frustrated and might be discouraged from answering when their answers get deleted, even if they get to keep the reputation points. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 4:52
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    @RiteshSingh The system does allow you to correct your question: you can edit it to make it better. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 4:54
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    @ModusTollens I feel that either keeping a question is good for the community or it is not. If keeping it is good for the community, SE should stop penalising me for asking it. If keeping it is bad for the community, SE should allow me to delete it. – Ritesh Singh Sep 22 '18 at 4:59
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    @RiteshSingh It has already been said: it is not kept to penalize you, but to not invalidate time and effort spent on an upvoted answer. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 5:04
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    @ModusTollens I am not complaining about the intention. The intention behind keeping it may not be to penalize me, however the system does penalize me permanently. – Ritesh Singh Sep 22 '18 at 5:05
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    @RiteshSingh Since you wrote that this happened to you many times and feel penalized by it, please consider working on your questions. There's a "how to ask a good question" section in the help center. You could also compare upvotes questions asking similar things to yours to check for differences. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 5:09
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    @ModusTollens Let's take a specific case. What edits do you think should be done on this question to make it better? linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/28705/… – Ritesh Singh Sep 22 '18 at 5:10
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    @RiteshSingh Please also consider that being able to delete answered questions under any circumstances might lead users to just re-ask them again and again. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 5:11
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    @RiteshSingh I am not a member of that site and don't now the rules for it, so I can't answer that. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 5:15
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    @RiteshSingh: You are complaining about one downvote. How is that worth even talking about? – Nicol Bolas Sep 22 '18 at 5:23
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    @RiteshSingh I was under the impression that you wanted to delete heavily downvoted questions. My comments regarding question quality were based on that impression. Deleting an answered question because of a single downvote wouod be worse imho. – Modus Tollens Sep 22 '18 at 5:28
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    Considering that the question in question only has a -1 score, I feel this question's answer is relevant: Should 'drive by' downvoting be more effectively caught? – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Sep 22 '18 at 6:06
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    @ModusTollens I was obviously not complaining about "single downvote" as can be understood from the first statement of my question: "This has happened with me many times across the SE network." – Ritesh Singh Sep 22 '18 at 20:17
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SE thinks that my question is bad for the community and wants to punish me for asking a bad question by making me lose my rep. In this case, SE should allow me to delete the question to rectify the damage that I have done to the community by asking it.

But you can't rectify the damage you've done. Someone read that question. Possibly several someones. You can't give them their time back. If someone thinks that the question was poor enough to be worthy of a downvote, that means they think that they wasted their time by reading it (or something to that effect). So I see no problem with assessing a penalty you can't simply unilaterally undo.

By allowing you to delete a question with an upvoted answer, what you do is ensure that the only person who benefited from asking the question... is you. That hurts the site far more than the measly 2 reputation you lost.

It should also be noted that deleted questions can count for question bans. So asking lots of bad questions, deleted or not, can get you banned from asking questions period. So deleting your question would not get rid of all penalties from it.

How can any fair system punish a person for an action but not allow him/her to correct it?

There are plenty of fair systems that do that. If you get arrested for stealing, you don't get to escape punishment if you give the stuff back.

Also, you have a very... exaggerated view of reputation. The question you're talking about has a net -1 score on it. So what? In the time it took you to formulate this question, you could have written an upvotable answer to another question on that site. Or improved your current question. Or ask a different question that is good. Any of these could have easily overridden the puny -2 rep you got from this question.

Have some perspective: ignore it and move on.

  • I was obviously not complaining about "net -1 score" as can be understood from the first statement of my question: "This has happened with me many times across the SE network." – Ritesh Singh Sep 22 '18 at 20:18

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