This is regarding this blog post: Important Reputation Rule Changes

Hello, I'm one of those people that has earned at least half of their reputation asking questions. I can completely understand the point of the change for the weight of votes on questions. My question is why does it need to be retroactive? To me this seems unfair to the community and I'll be quite put off if I lose edit or closing privileges(half of the things I do now are just go through editing questions). I have over 4000 rep, so I probably have nothing to worry about.. but I'm thinking of all the other users.

So moderators/Jeff what is the point of this change being retroactive?

  • What is this in response to? (Add a link) Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:01
  • 1
    in this case "retroactive" just means "there's no special code to make sure that question votes occurring pre-MM.DD.YYYY get counted at the original score". without special-case code, any change in vote scoring will be reflected retroactively on a rep recalc. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:04
  • 2
    @quack: And every user will get a recalc, per the blog post.
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:08
  • You may want to read this thread @earlz meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42769/… , its considered positive way than raising downvote power, and around 70-80% of people agreed, IMHO.
    – YOU
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:10
  • @Gnome: correct; i left that out as self-evident, but you're right. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:17
  • 8
    Is it fair? Of course not, it is a solution to the users who have asked 100's or thousands of questions and have gotten higher rep. This is kemotherapy for stackoverflow. A couple of cancer cells must be killed and some non will get hit too. The ones that aren't cancer will grow back, it is just unfair to them for a while. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:29
  • @Smark, actually there was agreement on decreasing question rep, but not near as much on retroactive application. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:20
  • 5
    Well, I think I may have changed my mind. After seeing this poorly made question stackoverflow.com/questions/2479862/… by a person with 8k (asked 700+ questions, gave 70 answers) maybe the retroactive bit is indeed good
    – Earlz
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 19:58
  • @earlz Couldn't of it gone the other way? Where you increase the rep you get from answering questions to 15, and then everybody is given a bonus who answer questions? In this case of this user, his rep will drop to what 4k? What plenty is that? He still thinks asking is the way to gain rep. The solution that has been presented does not fix the problem. The real solution is we as a community need to do a better job of closing/editing/voting down those questions. What about 0 rep plenty for voting down a question? Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 21:47
  • 8
    We already get complaints about how people think that high rep users get more votes than low rep users, and it's unfair that they have an advantage because they've been here longer. If you grandfather the rep like this, it will only magnify the perceived unfairness. Applying it retroactively simply means that everyone, past, present, and future, will all be on a level playing field. In fact, it is more fair than if it were only applied going forward.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 2:57
  • 1
    @David ??? So the people who ask the questions are cancer? This is what you are saying since only good questions get voted up. You just said that people who ask good questions are cancer to SO. This is about the most ignorant thing I've heard this week, and I've even watched Nancy Peloci. This is like saying that employers are cancer and employees aren't.
    – orokusaki
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 5:58
  • "and around 70-80% of people agreed" @Mark: Well, yes and no. I would not have agreed if Jeff hadn't told us that the increased downvote strength was already declined (despite being planned for months). That said, if it is to be a cure for the questions pump pattern is has to be retroactive. Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 17:48
  • This doesn't fix the problem of users gaining high rep through questions it only slows it down. I'd say this is probably the least important reason for the recalc. As the blog post states, they want answers to be encouraged more than questions. If they had changed it so that answers offer +15 per upvote (to accomplish the same goal as bringing down the question vote value) and made it retroactive would you complain then? The rep calc is being done because they want users who answer questions well to be the backbone of the site.
    – Shane
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 20:44

17 Answers 17


alt text

  • 26
    my sides, they are splitting. who shall I send the repair bill to? Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 10:53
  • 37
    @Jeff Atwood: [status-deferred]
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 10:55
  • 30
    Magnificent. What we need is a potted history of the site in this format. Print it as a coffee table book and I'd buy it. Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 18:03
  • 3
    oh my god, the stuff about Kevin made me laugh so hard...
    – juan
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 18:40
  • 24
    This is the funniest thing I've read all day. (Of course, I did spend the day reading about my options for upgrading from SQL Server 2000 to 2008, so my sense of humor might need recalibrated.) Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 21:35
  • 1
    this is awesometastic.
    – Agos
    Commented Mar 29, 2010 at 9:28
  • 1
    My god, why can I only upvote this once?
    – Phoshi
    Commented Mar 29, 2010 at 13:28
  • 2
    +1 for "...As A Programmer"
    – gbarry
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 0:27

A few reasons I can think of...

  1. Not making it retroactive would be a pain to implement. And making the reputation system more fragile isn't something anyone wants.

  2. Any sort of "grandfather" clause on this would just increase the discontent some new users feel regarding privileged old-timers.

  3. Allowing users to keep their current rep until a recalc is run for some other reason would just increase the eventual shock. Even now, some users have never had a recalc, and their denormalized reputation is significantly different from what they should have (were deleted posts, etc. to be taken into account).

Better to just get it out of the way and deal with the fallout all at once.

  • 2
    RE #1: sometimes you have to write code that is a pain to implement. but this isn't even that much of a pain. look: upvoteRep = voteDate.before(new Date(2010,3,19)) ? 10 : 5;
    – Kip
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 21:32
  • @Kip: I'm just guessing (on all three points) - I've never seen the code for SO, so if it is that simple then yeah it's kinda hard to argue #1 (I guess there's the whole slippery-slope/code-rot argument where changes like this build up over time until no-one knows how the system works anymore... but who knows, this might be a drop in the bucket compared to what's already in the SO codebase)
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 21:38

I know the world isn't fair, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?
- Bill Watterson


Rep, rep, rep!!

Why is this so important? Did I miss something? Sometimes, it sounds like we are the natives of reputation underflow.

Whatever be the rule changes, they apply to one and all. People come to this site primarily to solve their problems, earning reputations is just a system in-place to encourage such behaviour.

Am I wrong? So why this silly hue and cry?

P.S.: sorry for outburst, but this rep thing brings the animal out in most of us.

Update 1: @all: losing power to edit or do something may irk one, but rep can be gained, and all this is done to leverage all against some users who use faulty means to increase their rep.

  • 2
    Although rep really doesn't matter. It is what drives people to the site. Without the rep, it would be harder to get people to keep coming back to the site. Finding a balance in the system is crucial to continue drawing people back.
    – heavyd
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:18
  • 6
    It is frustrating to lose rep and 500/2k/3k/10k moderator powers, and it would behoove many of us to be a bit more welcoming towards those that feel slighted, rather than pushing them away.
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:22
  • 1
    Even though the idea of rep doesn't matter(except for maybe on my CV), the measurement of rep to determine if you can edit and other such things is what makes me protective of my rep.
    – Earlz
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:23
  • @earlz: Remember that part of this change will mean the rep actually shown on your CV should be more meaningful than currently. (This is covered elsewhere, but the idea is it will be much harder to ask many, many poor questions, depend on others to clean them up, and sit back to collect rep. See Shore and Gold at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/33398/…)
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:28
  • 1
    The more you have, the more important it is. Like everything in life.
    – juan
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:35
  • 6
    @Downvoter: Not really. I was much more protective of my SO rep at 2900 than I am at over 18K. @heavyd: It can be disheartening to have the rules change on you, and to lose something you like. It can discourage the person from coming back, which isn't what we want. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:43
  • 1
    oh, but I wasn't counting once you pass 10k @david, there it really loses meaning. They should add something you win at 20k+
    – juan
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:49
  • 3
    @Downvoter or a special "Almost as good as Jon Skeet Badge" when you reach 100k
    – Earlz
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:15
  • @Downvoter: Yeah, then I'd care. I'd be closing on something if there was a 20K threshold, and I'd want to get it. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 20:36
  • 2
    Sure, I don't think rep is that important, but that's because I have it.
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 21:09
  • @nvl, I can't help think your outburst would have more impact if it was posted community-wiki :-) Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 4:14

As Jonathan Sampson has said:

Only one I can think of is that it gives an unfair disadvantage to those who join the system after the rep change.

I agree with this, as this would give an unfair disadvantage to people who join after the change. Why should you get the advantage of having all of your old upvotes be +10, when the next person only gets +5?

By making it retroactive, everyone is playing by the same rules, no matter what.

  • I really don't buy this, it's like saying I'm at a disadvantage compared to Jon Skeet because I joined after he did and spend less time on the site than he does. "How can I ever expect to catch up? Must be a disadvantage."
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 17:34
  • 1
    What about those who joined the system after the daily reputation cap was introduced? That's just one example of rep adjustment that dwarfs this, and that wasn't applied retroactively. I don't see that rep-fairness enters the equation, for pretty much the same reasons that nvl points out (which effectively invalidates the discussion, i guess) Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:05
  • 1
    @gnome: You're not disadvantaged because you have less rep, it's because you would have received less rep for the same actions that Skeet received more on. @david: tu quoque, just because one thing wasn't retroactive doesn't mean this shouldn't be.
    – Sampson
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:28
  • @Jonathan: I haven't even intended to comment on the specific case, I was just aiming to say that how fair or unfair the distribution of reputation would be with or without retroactive application of the new rule shouldn't be taken too much into consideration, as it previously hasn't. I'm sure there were reasons behind the decision, and I won't argue it, but for whatever the reasons might be, I don't think the one I commented on is a very good one. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:43
  • @David: Actually, with a global recalc, won't the daily rep-cap be universally applied, or is it really special-cased?
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 19:36
  • @Gnome: I'm assuming there's been way too many changes back and forth to keep perfect track of what every single reputation point actually came from. I'm guessing what they'll just sum the rep we've gained for our question upvotes, and remove half of it. Perhaps it's a bit more advanced than that, but I doubt they intend a full recalc with regards to every rep change that has so far been made. That's all just speculation, on my part, of course... Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 19:45
  • @Jonathan: Do you feel disadvantaged compared to the developers of a decade ago (before the dot-com bubble burst) who had higher salaries/perks and easier access to VC for startups, compared to what "the same actions" would get you today?
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 19:46
  • @David: "every user will (eventually) get a full reputation recalc" blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/03/… AFAIK, the system really will go back through the complete history and track where every single rep point came from.
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 19:48
  • @Gnome: I think you have a false analogy. Stack Overflow is designed to behave the same way for different users doing the same activity at different times. Real-life isn't that way. The result of your actions in the real world is determined by multiple factors (geography, personal experience, education, costs, the market, etc).
    – Sampson
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 20:04
  • 1
    I totally buy into it. My rep is almost 1k on SO...yeah, it sux to have 3x as many answers as I have questions (around about) and have to lose 1/2 my rep on those 20 some-odd questions, but I do buy into the change. It is far too easy to gain 100+ rep on a well thought out question with potential for drawing in noobs like me to up-vote it.
    – IAbstract
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 21:27
  • @dboarman: Note that what I don't buy into is the given reason for why the change must be retroactive---because of some perceived disadvantage for new users. (I think it should be retroactive, but for other reasons than given in this answer.) It would seem that you and I agree. Also, why does it suck to have 3x more answers than questions?
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 20, 2010 at 7:52
  • @Gnome: it sucks that I have 3x more answers than questions, and I'm going to lose rep at the same rate as someone who has 60 questions and 20 answers. I'm only losing 180 rep (I think), not that big of a deal I guess. There is no accounting for ratios of questions-to-answers. I realize the difficulty in finding the perfect ratio and then implementing it - such is life.
    – IAbstract
    Commented Mar 20, 2010 at 15:25
  • @dboarman: You can check for sure now: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/43004/… Compared to someone with 60 questions and 20 answers, you (with 20 questions and 60 answers) will lose less reputation (on average, of course, because it's really votes and when they were cast that matters).
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 20, 2010 at 15:27

You know what programmers like?

Rules and rule based systems.

Yes, shows like surviver and biggest loser change the game rules every week, and all the participants act shocked and dismayed at the shifting ground.

But programmers like to know where they stand, and if the ground moves they expect the ground will shift equally for everyone.

In this case it doesn't. Those with a preponderance of questions will move far down the ladder, and those who focused less on questions will stay closer to where they were.

But this question of "fairness" is ludicrous. Define "fair" first, then we can determine whether this change is fair.

One thing that's certain is that Stackoverflow, as a rules based system, is not set in stone. Anyone who enters the game at any point should understand that changes are going to be made, and those changes will affect one, some, or all of the players.

Roll with the punches, focus on giving good answers to questions, and one really shouldn't have to worry about the occasional changes, even one as far reaching as this.

Quite frankly I'm surprised the rep system hasn't changed more since it came out of beta - balancing such systems is non-trivial.

  • Fair is very simple to define in this case: Let people keep what they've earned. The rule shifting is fine, it's the retroactive part that I think is patently unfair. Reputation has value. It may only be psychological and only within this particular community, but to dismiss it as unimportant is to forget the reason the trilogy sites have been so successful. People care about their reputation. They work hard for it within their understanding of the rules at the time. If you want to change future behavior, fine, but don't punish past accomplishments.
    – devuxer
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 21:34

Am I missing something or is everyone (that's ever asked a question) going to lose reputation points over this?

Just take a step back and look at what this means - the site's owners decided to take a bite out of every user's cheese-cake.

I get wanting to tweak the incentive system here; fine, whatever. But if you assume rep matter to people (and I believe SO is based on this assumption to a large degree) then how is this kind of decision to reduce everyone's rep going to make any user of the site happier?

When was the last time you saw a multi-million user system bitch-slap all of its users simultaneously like this? lol it's like waking up one day and see that your farm on farmville is fenced off and all your crops are failing because the Zynga people decided to discourage planting corn. retroactively! :) That's the sort of thing that you just don't do.

I get also that it's tricky to make the system backward compatible. But, guess what, tough luck. bw-compatibility is always tricky. That doesn't mean it's cool to set up a community, let people participate and enjoy themselves, gain reputation and brag about it with freaking iframe flare that publicizes SO and then take a chunk out of everyone's hard earned rep basically to save a few ifs in the codebase.

On a personal note, I haven't participated in a while and got here by following the recent blog post about this. The reason I'm not participating as much any more, incidentally, is that I honestly don't find enough "good" questions. If anything I would suggest increasing the value of a good question, not decreasing it... I would not suggest, however, to do so retroactively.

  • 2
    Yes, everyone -- which means that it's all relative, so nothing really has changed. Unless you're someone who has asked a lot of questions and not contributed to the site in any other way, that is.
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 0:54
  • Question: Do you think it would have been better to double rep gained on answers, increase rep loss to downvoting to -2/-4, double the rep cap, etc., and double threshholds to do stuff (e.g., vote to close privileges at 6K?) Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 21:05
  • You're missing something - not everyone is losing. Some even gained rep from the re-calc... As to your last point, if you're not finding enough "good" questions, you're not looking hard enough. Sure, they're not all gems - but there are plenty of good questions.
    – AnonJr
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 23:15
  • @AnonJr, care to explain how one could gain rep from this recalc? Commented Mar 25, 2010 at 6:23
  • if a user who down-voted you is deleted, their down-votes won't be added in on the re-calc. If a question is moved, that question/answer's rep from the source site will be added to that of the destination site. If a heavily down-voted question/answer was deleted, it won't be added in on the re-calc. These and other possibilities have been documented elsewhere.
    – AnonJr
    Commented Mar 25, 2010 at 12:04

IMO you should never lose reputation retroactively. I played by the rules when I asked the question to gain the reputation - now it feels like I can't trust the rules anymore.

I just lost >25% of my rep because I mostly ask questions. But I have put a lot of effort into writing good questions, and feel that they are worth just as much as good answers. Even though I mainly ask questions to find answers to my problems it now feels like I've lost some of my motivation to write good questions. It's like they aren't valued - even though the questions are just as necessary as the answers to drive the community forward.

Also; you typically get a lot more upvotes on a good answer than a good question anyway.. There is e.g. almost 5 times more good answers than good questions.

If you want to change the rules - fine. But I don't find it fair to make the changes retroactive..

  • 2
    I don't happen to agree that a question is worth as much as an answer that was written with the equivalent amount of effort. By definition, answers are written by people who have more knowledge, experience, or persistence than the people who asked the questions. For any given technical question, there are fewer than 1/10th as many people who can correctly answer it as those who can ask it. That is precisely what reputation is intended to convey - not how skilled they are at facilitating discussion, but how skilled they are at their craft.
    – Aarobot
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 20:35
  • 1
    @Aaron, I happen to agree with the point change, but it's the retroactive part I object to. Reputation is never going to be a perfect measure of anything, but it is the reason people try so hard and keep coming back for more. If future rule changes can cause wild swings in reputation already earned under a particular set of rules, you say to people, "Eh, this number that has done so much to motivate you to contribute? Don't get too attached to it. It really doesn't mean very much." It's just not the way you treat valued members of a community.
    – devuxer
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 21:42
  • Thanks for a great comment Dan! The value of questions vs answers can be discussed - but the retroactive part is just a big kill for motivation. And also the "not knowing what comes next"-part...
    – stiank81
    Commented Mar 23, 2010 at 7:34

I think it's fair.

It may seem harsh now, but we'll get used to it like we did with the reputation cap (which was, by the way, retroactively applied, and that was a huge blow for some users)

  • 2
    I think people who joined before the rep cap should be grandfathered in to the system so they have no rep cap at all. ;-P
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 2:59

I notice that this question glosses over the fact that the question-rep change was implemented at the same time as another significant change, which effectively raised the daily rep cap for users who received a lot of accepts/bounties (i.e. the users who actually provided the most help to others).

To claim that one change should been forward-only implies that all changes should have been forward-only, and I am fairly certain that those who were prone to receiving 200pt bounties or a half-dozen accept votes at 8 AM would disagree.

It would be interesting to see statistics on what percentage of users (especially high-rep users) actually lost rep as a result. The reams of questions being asked on MSO give an impression of widespread resentment which I think is misleading, because the group is self-selecting; few people are going to come to Meta to complain that their rep went up overnight. And I'm willing to wager that the vast majority of high-rep users, especially users over 10k, actually gained rep as a result of this change, because to get that high they generally would have had to provide a lot of good answers.

Several people are classifying this as a unilateral change to the rules, but to me, it's more like fixing a long-standing problem with the rep system. I'm not saying that people don't deserve anything for working to make their questions as clear and concise as possible, and neither is Jeff - the votes still count - just not for as much as they used to. This seems a lot more fair to the people who took their time to help other people, rather than ask for help.

What really makes SO shine, IMHO, is the quality of the answers, not the questions. Yes, there are some notable questions, but you can find questions anywhere. You can ask questions anywhere. What you can't do is expect a solid answer in 5 minutes. That's what's important on SO, that's the reason for asking a question in the first place, and that is precisely why the system should encourage people to craft good answers and reward good answers.

Question upvotes should never have been lumped in with answer upvotes in the first place. This should be reflected in the current rep scores, not just future ones. Part of the rationale for this change, as I understand it, was to reassess the "trust" of users who haven't demonstrated exceptional proficiency by virtue of their answers. Which is not to say that they aren't proficient; just that they haven't proven it.

So yes, applying the change retroactively is "fair." It is, in my opinion, making an unfair system fair. This may have inadvertently punished a small handful of users who were using their rep privileges effectively, but if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.

Besides, the debate over question rep is almost as old as the site itself. It's disingenuous to claim that you had no warning.

  • +1 well put. I never requested a rep-recalc from a mod despite knowing I probably had a few points to gain. I always saw it as a known bug that'll eventually get re-aligned with the next re-calc. I think the blog comments are split down the middle on the issue and they tend to ignore this point. Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 22:43

It's like the government having made a mistake calculating your taxes for the last little while. Just because they took a while to find the problem doesn't mean that you're now exempt on paying back the amount you're in arrears. You may not be charged interest, but that money wasn't yours, and you should give it back.

To grandfather the recalculation would defeat much of the point, which is to rebalance the site in favour of answers and away from Question Pumps.

  • 4
    No, it's actually as if the government said, "You know how we said your tax rate was 23% in 2008? Well, we changed our mind. We're retroactively changing it to 35%. So, here is a bill for $10K. We'll be withdrawing that directly from your checking account."
    – devuxer
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 18:47
  • @DanM: We make financial decisions based on our known financial state, which includes our take-home pay. Do we make any decisions on SO that are dependent on our reputation? NO. We ask questions and answer questions. Occasionally we do some site cleanup dependent on what abilities we have been granted. Has this changed our ability to ask or answer questions? NO. Is SO reputation something that we can take to the bank and exchange for other things? NO.
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 19:36
  • I will grant you your NO answers, but I think you're missing the point. People talk a lot about reputation being a measure of how much the system trusts a particular user. I think that's a worthy goal. But there's another type of trust: how much people trust the site. Thoughtful changes to the rules are a good thing, but taking away points already earned degrades site trust. By rejecting the notion that people should be able to keep what they earn, you devalue reputation. Rep may not have any value on the open market, but StackExchange won't work if people stop caring about it.
    – devuxer
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 20:14
  • 1
    We decide to post bounties depending on reputation
    – Casebash
    Commented Mar 23, 2010 at 8:02

To the idea of recalculating reputation I must advice Jeff & Co. to recall the modern history.

Currency denomination wherever it was introduced only pissed off the population and made a lot of good-living people poor in the blink of an eye. It also caused severe psychological trauma for many, which lost trust in their government.

It some sense, an online community is a microworld with its citizens, rules and sort of a government. The effects of denominating the reputation can also be serious. Consider psychological implications and the trust of your members. You say with enough reputation the site trusts you. Now people do not trust the site.


I agree with you. Here's what I wrote on the SO blog:

You know what’s funny to me? The trilogy sites work because people do care about their reputation. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t try so hard. So, with these changes, you took away something people care about. You can laugh and say it’s just a number that has no intrinsic value or tell people to get a life, but you undermine the very reason the trilogy sites have succeeded so dramatically. You are basically saying, “We know what makes you tick, now we are going to take it away and hope you get over it.” The correct move, as many have pointed out, is to change the point system going forward, not rob people of something they’ve worked hard to accumulate under a particular set of rules.

  • 4
    I don't think the trilogy sites succeeded dramatically because people got reputation for questions, though. I think for those asking, the reward is that those motivated by reputation answered their questions. Would you agree with that?
    – mmyers
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 18:45
  • 1
    @mmyers, I don't disagree with you, but what you're saying is a red herring. My point is that people's thirst for reputation is fundamental to the success of the site, yet when it comes time for a global recalc, I'm hearing people say things like, "Who cares? It's just a number." Well this just-a-number is the reason the site works. Don't take away something people have earned just because that thing is not critical to putting food on the table.
    – devuxer
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 19:48

It's extremely frustrating to lose rep retroactively, when it was gained within the rules of the site. There should be grandfather rights for rep.

  • 2
    Perhaps worth noting that rep is already gained and lost retroactively during a rep recalc (for a user's deleted questions, answers, and downvotes), and all of that would have been gained/lost within the rules of the site. A global recalc has been proposed before. (I had a net gain of over 100 rep on a recent recalc, under the current rules, which I attribute to about 200 deleted downvotes and ~100 rep worth of self-deleted answers.)
    – Gnome
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:33
  • @Gnome, Actually they let people know ahead of time that they would lose rep from deleted Q&A in a recalc, this is after the fact. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:38
  • It's fair, but it is frustrating.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 19:53

All those of you who are against or are whining about the reputation change, should play World of Warcraft, that’s where after one patch, your super ability gets a nerf and you feel disappointed. But WoW players are mainly kids.

I can’t believe people are actually complaining about something as trivial and virtual as a reputation number on stack overflow. If you want to have a higher number, answer the goddamn questions.

It takes time, but then again, getting a CS in computer science takes at least four years…

No big deal. Now go do some work and don’t use goto.


The way I see it, your 'reputation score' is a reflection of the value that Stack Overflow places on your contributions to the SO community. If, for some reason, what SO values happens to change, it stands to reason that your reputation score should change accordingly. It may go up, or it may go down. That's just the way life is.


I can't decide yet. It's hard to tell by just looking at your reputation gain/loss. I lost almost exactly 1K rep out of 8k pre-recalc, but considering that EVERYONE shifted the numbers have to be looked at as relative to the overall community. It is quite possible that despite losing a lot of rep, you gained ground on catching up to Mr. Skeet if your profile was more answer-heavy than question heavy.

Ultimately I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand it seems unfair to change the rules midstream, however I do kinda agree with the logic behind the recalc even if it does hurt to see that number drop.

For those hard-core addicts out there that love to crunch SO data-dumps, I'd be interested to see some numbers on how the recalc affected the relative ranking of SO users by rep score. It would be far more interesting than the change in an arbitrary reputation number.

  • 1
    Jon Skeet gained 13k. How's that for catching up? :)
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 21:12
  • I meant catching up in terms of passing other users in ranking on the User list page, not necessarily by score.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 21:51
  • Makes sense. Good thing then that Jon can't pass anyone in ranking.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 23, 2010 at 7:39

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