In the "unintended consequences" category, I've noticed that since the introduction of the Epic/Legendary badge, I now avoid downvoting unless one of the following is true:

  • I am at less than 200 points for the day, and it's close to 00:00 UTC so I'm unlikely to actually reach the rep cap, or
  • I am already past the 200 points per day due to an accepted answer or bounty accept after reaching 200 points

That is, if I'm at exactly 200 points for the day then I will refrain from downvoting because doing so would put me below the 200 points required for one more day toward Epic/Legendary. 199 points in a day doesn't count.


  • 3
    motivated by badges much?
    – Antony
    Jan 13, 2010 at 0:54
  • 17
    It's all I've got left! :) Jan 13, 2010 at 1:06
  • fair enough then!
    – Antony
    Jan 13, 2010 at 1:13
  • 1
    I thought Jeff said earlier that hitting the rep cap with 199 still counted? :(
    – Ether
    Jan 13, 2010 at 1:33
  • @Æther: I thought so as well... can't find it anywhere though.
    – fretje
    Jan 13, 2010 at 8:46
  • @fretje: Actually its explained in an answer here:- meta.stackexchange.com/questions/33189/… Jan 19, 2010 at 20:39
  • Note: 199 doesn't count. 200 doesn't count. You need 201 at least. See my comments of the question meta.stackexchange.com/questions/56620/… (with the new rep cap rule)
    – VonC
    Jul 15, 2010 at 19:39

4 Answers 4


Surely your motivation should be to help maintain the integrity of StackOverflow (or whichever site) by downvoting where appropriate...

the Epic/Legendary badge will surely be awarded to you in time, and once it has, then likely it will seem silly that you modified how you used the sites just to be awarded a badge...

  • 13
    It might be silly, but it is that silliness that gets coffee-driven developers through their day. Jan 13, 2010 at 2:30
  • Chacha102...I up voted your comment! but presumably the question needs an answer of some sort... Jan 13, 2010 at 5:13

Maybe there should be a badge for missing the repcap due to downvoting someone :)


Downvotes (either giving or receiving) no longer affect Epic/Legendary badge progress (this changed in 2013, well after the question was asked and the other answers were posted), so this isn't really a problem any more.

There are still some residual issues, mostly related to the user interface. For example, the badge tracker appears to display downvotes even though the badge itself doesn't. Additionally, if you lose reputation due to a deleted post or deleted user, this causes the reputation loss to be charged against the day when you originally gained the reputation, but the UI displays the loss as having happened against the day when the deletion happened (source); this is probably capable of affecting the badge, but not in the way that the UI suggests.

Note that the UI issues are still a real problem! In my case, the combination of Epic together with the fact that removed posts appear to reduce the reputation cap below 200 ended up discouraging me from attempting to salvage posts by editing them (an edit gives you +2 reputation, but there's a high chance that the post will get deleted and give you a -2 on a random future day; this is awkward as it ends up locking your reputation cap at 198, meaning it looks like you aren't rep-capping properly). This is less of a problem once you have enough reputation to unilaterally edit, but nonetheless we probably don't want to make reputation increases appear to be a punishment rather than a reward.

  • Good points, but you should not edit posts which are unsalvageable, that's a waste of reviewers' and your own time.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:49
  • @Glorfindel: My main site is PPCG, where questions/challenges are much more of a collaborative effort than on other sites. Sometimes it's clear that a question is unsalvageable, but you wouldn't try to edit it in those cases. In many other cases, though, the question has some obvious objective issues that are easily fixable, together with some subjective issues which might or might not be fixable, and it's often unclear. It's not really a waste of time fixing the objective issues while you work on the subjective ones (and the OP will normally accept the edit themself).
    – ais523
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:53

I am not a huge fan of the approach, but

  1. It is probably fine in the aggregate, since it's such an edge condition anyway

  2. It's your account and you are entitled to behave in any manner you see fit (that isn't abuse.)

  • With the new rep cap rules where accepted answers aren't subject to the cap, this observation is actually no longer relevant. Jul 15, 2010 at 19:13
  • 3
    Greg, I exceeded rep cap today on SF and my one down-vote prevented the exceeded reputation to update the count on /reputation.
    – Warner
    Jul 15, 2010 at 19:22

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