I lost a ton of reputation in March of 2010! Why did this happen?

  • 27
    +1 and marked as favorite so I can quickly find this and close subsequent "lost reputation" questions as duplicate. Mar 19, 2010 at 19:00
  • @earlz: These dupes will be closed and deleted (eventually): I don't see the value in that tag.
    – Gnome
    Mar 22, 2010 at 1:15
  • The reputation-lost tag will help find dupes - maybe.
    – IAbstract
    Mar 22, 2010 at 17:35
  • Can anybody explain why this question is regarded as off-topic? Feb 12, 2017 at 6:03
  • @Sнаđошƒаӽ Because it's about the reputation recalculation of March 2010, and therefore does not need any new answers. I edited the question to make it clear it should not be used as a reference for current reputation events.
    – user315433
    Feb 12, 2017 at 7:56
  • @zaq Thanks for your feedback. BTW, do you know of anything about recent rep drop on SO? I have lost 200+ reps today. Feb 12, 2017 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


See the announcement:

In addition to rebalancing question upvotes as +5 instead of their old value of +10, we also fixed the following minor bugs in the reputation system:

  • accepted answers and bounties were only partially immune to the rep cap before depending on the time of day you earned them, but they are fully immune now.
  • upvotes can now “replace” missing rep lost to downvotes, up to the +200 daily reputation cap.

Additionally, any reputation changes from questions and answers that have now been deleted will not affect your final reputation score. This is part of the reputation recalc process, which only counts "live" posts. Also, note that the change in question upvote weight was not applied to meta. As of April 2011, the change does apply to Meta.

A detailed audit of your reputation is available.

You should always expect a small amount of normal flux and variation around your reputation score, which will be reconciled through periodic recalculations like this one. [source]

Why did question upvotes change value?

  • While we value good questions (and asking a great question is absolutely an art), we want to explicitly encourage people to provide the best possible answers. Without people interested in providing good answers, the questions are moot. We know that answers have more intrinsic value than questions, and the reputation balance should reflect that. The question asker already enjoys a substantial benefit beyond reputation gain from upvotes on their question — namely, they get great answers to their question! Thus, the asker shouldn't need as much reputation gain.
  • There are a few users who ask hundreds, sometimes even thousands of questions. Over time, these users generate a fairly sizable reputation entirely through the tiny trickle of upvotes gained by these questions. In a sense, we want to discourage question asking a little bit, and make sure that people who ask questions are doing it for the right reasons and not to generate reputation.
  • In other words, we’re rebalancing a bit to favor answers. Based on the existing data in the trilogy, I believe this will be a positive change for everyone. For more discussion see the meta topic.
  • 1
    upvotes can now “replace” missing rep..... would that explain why I just gained 970 rep on SO... ?
    – skaffman
    Mar 22, 2010 at 0:09
  • @skaffman That, and bounties are now totally immune to the cap. So that may have helped as well.
    – jjnguy
    Mar 22, 2010 at 0:18
  • @skaffman: The "full immunity" of accepted answer bonuses from the daily rep cap looks to be the most significant cause of that for you.
    – Gnome
    Mar 22, 2010 at 0:20
  • Personally, I don't understand why those 6 problem users weren't banned, instead of bringing the hammer down on everyone globally... Mar 22, 2010 at 15:14

The Chemotherapy just happened.

So for those who think it sucks, I ask you: why did you come to Stack Overflow?

If it is to beat Jon Skeet for the most rep, then I say this must be a bad day for you, but then who can beat Jon Skeet?

However, if you are like me (I imagine about 99.99% are), then you wanted to ask tough programming questions and/or answer them because it helps you learn and get better. Life for you hasn't changed.

The rep is a fun thing. Remember the main function is to get the system to trust you so you can help keep it clean.

If you were at 10k and fell below, then I say

You were there once, you will be there again.

Heck, to anybody who has lost rep and cared enough to look at this question I will personally guarantee that you will be back at the rep you had on 03/19/2010 sometime in the future if you change nothing, but keep acting like it is 03/10/2010 (before this rep recalc was done.)

Stack Overflow has made me a better programmer, so I thank you and will stay a loyal user.

  • Agreed, but I think the initial response to loosing rep points is.. wtf?? was my account hacked? etc. Its not about the points, but the points allow me to do more on the site so it was a little shocking to see 25% of my rep gone. Mar 22, 2010 at 4:31
  • Instead of this FAQ question, you would be better served on a discussion question about the merits of rep and the implications of this recalc. (There are several already started.)
    – Gnome
    Mar 22, 2010 at 10:00
  • Well Ahh - So olympic athletes can be asked to return their rewards as they have been given in error and a too high value, not because of cheating or anything and of course they must be delighted as it will encourage future athletes to do better - I think this sucks, event though I am not a reputation chaser.
    – mm2010
    Mar 24, 2010 at 8:29
  • 2
    @mm2010: Olympic athletes are sometimes stripped of medals. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stripped_Olympic_medals And even for reasons other than cheating. nytimes.com/2008/08/17/sports/olympics/… However, reputation is not a prize for "winning" (that would be more like the accepted answer bonuses and bounties, which are actually improved by the rep-cap change). -- There are several discussion questions if you're interested in debating the merits.
    – Gnome
    Mar 24, 2010 at 18:08