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