Recently, I read the [help article on bounties][help-center/bounties]. I initially misread the article and asked the following question based on that misunderstanding: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/401223/why-manually-award-bounties

This was obviously an error on my part because I missed a part of the help article. I am alright with corrections, clarifications, and yes, even the current downvotes on that question. The issue is that now, I can't close or delete the question. I understand it is Stack Exchange's right to continue to publicly display the question, but in my opinion, it no longer serves a meaningful purpose, as there is a help article with the same answer.

I tried to flag it but the moderators didn't delete or close it, leaving me at square one.

So now I have a question which I don't have a use for, which is supplying me a constant trickle of downvotes. I'm not against it staying up, but I don't want to keep being punished for an old mistake.

Could the question be "locked" to new votes, without also punishing the answer? Or could the question be otherwise prevented from giving me further negative reputation from downvotes?

Alternatively, is there any particular reason why the site can't, say, after -5 votes (and the user's consent) not allow further answers and lock the question's votes?

This is an issue for me because I want to build rep. The issue is that once my rep goes up, I'll have a constant dead weight continually dragging it back down.

In summary, I (no longer) want to be liable to further/ongoing reputation losses from that question, for the reason that the community is keeping that question open. I would delete it, if I could. Can I be removed from the responsibility of that question?

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    If I answered it, you'd have two questions you regret and couldn't delete - the details are covered in the FAQ but essentially someone spent the effort to write a good answer to it, and its unfair to let their effort go to waste. Commented Jul 9 at 16:30
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    This is answered in the FAQ How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?, under When can't I delete my own question? In short, we want to keep upvoted content on the site, and that includes the upvoted answer to your question.
    – Spevacus
    Commented Jul 9 at 16:30
  • @RobertLongson The issue isn't copyright; I don't care about keeping it open. I just don't see the point of constantly being liable to downvotes on an old/useless question. Commented Jul 9 at 16:37
  • I believe reputation (and thus downvotes) on Meta sites don't really affect what you can do, certainly not like they do in the regular sites. Hopefully someone who knows the details better than I do can be more specific.
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Jul 9 at 16:42
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    Your reputation was 1 before you asked either of these questions. The minimum reputation the system allows is 1. In what way is your reputation be "tanked"? Commented Jul 9 at 16:53
  • @JourneymanGeek I have proppsed an alternative that doesn't waste the answerer's time. Commented Jul 9 at 16:59
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    You can ask to disassociate that question from your account. Commented Jul 9 at 17:03
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    For what it's worth, I have 2 old answered questions on Stack Overflow that have a negative score. All the downvotes I received were from the first few minutes after I asked them. After that they were kind of forgotten and I have since written much better questions and answers and have over 6k reputation. They aren't continually "dragging it back down" because no one cares about them anymore. You should just forget about them and move on. Commented Jul 9 at 17:13
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    You have many choices. 1) Leave the question as-is. It will eventually fade into obscurity. 2) Flag it and request it made Community Wiki* (keeps your association but you won't earn/lose rep from it) 3) Flag it and request deletion* (mods can override the settings preventing you from deleting it). 4) Use the 'Contact' form at the bottom of the page and reques it be disassociated** (the question will appear as if asked by an anon user, it won't be associated with your user account at all). *: mods may still disagree with these actions. ** CMs may disagree that it should be disassociated
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jul 10 at 3:53
  • @LukephilBrecht I have taken a jab at rewriting your question to more clearly focus on the prevention of (further) reputation losses, I hope that's ok. If not, you can rollback to a previous revision :)
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jul 10 at 4:15
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    @Robotnik CMs cannot "disagree" that something should be dissociated. They have to honor the request as a legal requirement of the CC license, but they can take additional actions such as suspending users who abuse the process. Commented Jul 10 at 9:45

3 Answers 3


When you created the question you licenced it to Stack Exchange with an irrevocable licence, so no it's not an issue with the system. We want to be fair to answerers too and if you get to delete all their answers we won't get anyone answering any more.

If you misread something perhaps someone else will too and will read your question and its answer and be illuminated. Maybe they, like you won't have found and read the FAQ or the help centre article but their search will instead come across one of your questions.

It's not as if the existence of your questions is having any negative effect on you. You had 1 rep before you asked any questions and you have 1 rep now so no harm no foul, right? Once the initial voting flurry is over you're unlikely to get many additional downvotes on your questions and people that come across them afterwards may well find them useful. Don't forget that 1 upvote cancels out 5 downvotes so it's quite hard to end up net negative even with questions that aren't tremendously useful.

  • This answer is outdated. Please edit it to accurately reflect the question. Commented Jul 9 at 19:58
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    That's not how this site works. You're not allowed to change the question to invalidate the answers. Commented Jul 9 at 20:05

NOTE:The question was edited, and my answer was updated to reflect such.

So, you can't delete the question because (amongst other issues), that would open the door to anyone asking a question that got downvoted/that they got an answer that solved their problem to/they don't like anymore deleting it, wasting other peoples time. There is no point in closing it, as that just prevents answers, which would (theoretically) only be posted if they had new/better information to help you.

As to the other, large reasons, is that people put time and effort into answering your question. Why should that go to waste? Furthermore, what if someone makes the same error. Should this need to happen a second time? Downvoting a post means you think it is not useful (and sometimes here just general disagreement), not that it should be closed/deleted.

Now, about rep. Do you know what that stands for? Reputation. Reputation is not gained by hiding your mistakes. Reputation is gained by having trust. If someone makes a mistake, and then tries to hide, if anything I may trust them less. In addition, reputation isn't that important, at the end of the day. And, by the way, you didn't lose any reputation.

So, no, it's not an issue with the system.

  • This isn't about hiding my mistakes. I'm completely fine with it on my account. I just don't want a rep deadweight for a question that no longer reflects my situation. Commented Jul 9 at 17:11
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    I don't think you understand what reputation is. Yes, you do lose reputation for an error. So what. That's how reputation works here and in the real world. That you want to delete (hide it) to "gain back" reputation is not good. There would be no reason to lock voting (just as you don't not have people notice your error in real life because you realized it). There would be no reason to close the question as well, as someone may come along and provide a more helpful answer for a future user with your question. @LukephilBrecht
    – Starship
    Commented Jul 9 at 17:14

Is there any particular reason for why we can't, say, after -5 votes (and the user's consent) not allow further answers and lock the question's votes, or is it an issue with the system?

Questions can be locked, which does exactly what you describe: it prevents users from adding further answers, or from casting votes on the question or its answers. However, this is only done in exceptional circumstances, such as questions that have been made off-topic by scope changes but have historical significance, or questions that have been subjected to edit wars. Simply not wanting any further downvotes is not a good enough justification for a question to be locked.

In the case of Meta, voting serves multiple purposes. Downvoting a question or answer can indicate disagreement with its premise: for example, downvoting a signals that you don't want that feature. Allowing people to lock their questions' votes at -5 would completely break that system and allow users to disguise just how unpopular their suggestions are.

From an accountability perspective, this would also allow Stack Exchange the company to disguise how unpopular some of their announcements are... and some of their announcements can be very unpopular.

On the subject of Meta, it's worth adding that Meta.SE is a special case in that it's the only Meta site where downvotes have an effect on reputation. So this proposal wouldn't be needed on other Meta sites (where downvotes carry no penalty) and probably wouldn't be needed on the main site sites either (where, with a handful of exceptions, it's extremely rare for a question to be heavily downvoted but not deleted in the first place).

Finally, to be perfectly blunt... if a post deserves to be downvoted, it deserves to be downvoted. Whether the OP has learned their lesson and understood the problem(s) with the post doesn't matter (unless the problems have been fixed, which sadly isn't possible in your case). Whether they've lost reputation and/or privileges from the downvotes doesn't matter. All that matters is whether it meets the downvote criteria. Some users will act with discretion and refrain from piling downvotes onto an already heavily-downvoted post, but they should not be physically prevented from doing so IMHO; users should be free to vote (or not vote) however they wish so long as they're not violating the rules.

  • Of COURSE it deserves to be downvoted, but, at this point, the COMMUNITY is keeping it open and I am being held liable for it. Commented Jul 10 at 14:29

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