Recently, a question was asked on SO and the user who posted it also posted two answers. Both the question and answers gained both up and down votes. In total, he gained (according to his profile) 120 rep points and lost 22 rep points. The question was then subsequently closed as "not a real question". This means that in the 4 minutes the question was open, the user gained almost 100 reputation points.

It seems to me that because upvotes can significantly outweigh downvotes, there is no real dis-incentive to posting junk questions that will almost certainly be closed a short time later, but in the meantime will gain a user potentially significant reputation, especially so if they also add answers to their own question which get votes.

Could this problem be tackled in some way? Perhaps when a question is closed (only as spam/not a question?), any positive reputation is recalculated to give it a lesser (or even no) weight?

  • 1
    I'd call this [status-completed] now that we have automatic question bans for continuously posting bad questions, which is a pretty strong dis-incentive.
    – Blorgbeard
    Nov 14, 2013 at 20:31

4 Answers 4


I think any dis-incentive to asking questions on this site is a terrible idea.

This site is meant to foster easy asking and answering of questions. A dis-incentive would completely undermine that idea.

We have closing and deletion of questions, that is good enough IMO.

Reputation is not the main point of the site. Keeping people who don't deserve it from earning it should never take precedence over the actual functionality of the site.

  • While reputation is not the point of the site, that is not the perception many people have. I don't care, but there are many people trying to game the reputation system to be more 'cool' or (as others posted) get credits or fame towards a possible job inquiry. Note that the question deals with 'removing positive rep', not penalizing. In the worst case a closed question will get a net gain of 0 rep points, which is not a dis-incentive, just no incentive to do so. Also note that few questions are flagged as spam, and if they are I would not mind a slight dis-incentive. Jul 21, 2009 at 20:45
  • I guess I can agree with your points. But I still think people worry about rep too much.
    – jjnguy
    Jul 21, 2009 at 21:16
  • @jjnguy, while I absolutely agree with your statement 'people worry about rep too much'. The fundamental SE concept, of privileges for reputation, reinforces the concern about reputation. I'm not trolling/hating or being negative to bash SE, I use and like SE. I'm just stating the obvious correlation, at least in my eyes, of rep for privilege. Now I'm not saying, a pragmatic method exists and I know it's better. I'm just saying, any type of org method has its disadvantages. Jan 1, 2012 at 20:01

This has been asked before (as far as the losing rep on closed/deleted questions is concerned) and I've never seen any sort of real resolution about it.

I wouldn't necessarily mind seeing the positive rep that was originally accrued get eliminated once the question was closed.

  • 1
    Same, I'm all for stripping rep of questioners of closed questions for that question. I'd take it one step further and also strip rep of the answerers of closed questions.
    – waffles
    Jul 9, 2009 at 13:00
  • That rep will get eliminated if the question is deleted and reputation is recalculated. You can go to the recently closed posts page (under tools) and vote to delete old questions. Jul 9, 2009 at 13:18
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    I agree with Sam. If it's actually closed or deleted, then rollback all points associated with it.
    – NotMe
    Jul 9, 2009 at 13:19

It's closed. In two days, it can be deleted. Eventually, that reputation will go away.

If necessary, flag for moderator review... they can merge or delete the question immediately.

  • So does the reputation gained from a question/answer go away if that item is deleted? Jul 9, 2009 at 14:53
  • @adrianbanks: yes, but not immediately. The rare and poorly-understood "rep recalc" must happen first...
    – Shog9
    Jul 9, 2009 at 15:04
  • Is that a manual process, or does it happen periodically? Jul 9, 2009 at 18:24
  • AFAIK, it's manual - triggered for specific subsets of users only when required.
    – Shog9
    Jul 9, 2009 at 18:27

But if it was truly a junk question, it wouldn't get any upvotes would it?

I recently asked a question on StackOverflow that I thought was valid. Within moments of asking it, two people favorited it, two people upvoted it, and two people provided serious thoughtful answers.

So obviously I wasn't alone in thinking it was a valid question.

It was then closed about 10 minutes later.

As far as I can see, it only takes the opinion of a few people with high reputations to close a question without having to give any specific reasons why - that's hardly a fair debate about the validity of a question...so why punish people further for asking questions?

  • 1
    The question was a slight variation of another "fun" question. Most of the disapprovals mentioned that it should be part of the original question, with which I'd probably agree. Jul 9, 2009 at 11:06
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    @Joe, subjective questions are the top upvoted questions.
    – waffles
    Jul 9, 2009 at 12:58
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/1161429, I don't think I have much more to say here. Jul 21, 2009 at 20:49

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