On the back of the Global Reputation Recalc there has been a flurry, nay, swarm of questions along the lines of:

Why my reputation decrease from XXXX to YYY?


How are rep change for today, brokened?

Users asking such are being downvoted and their questions closed as duplicate.

Even though a large base of users have been around the site for a while, many, it seems, were not aware of the realignment of question upvotes and other such clearing of house matters (like deleted and migrated posts).

As not everyone reads the blog, nor do they hang out reading the posts on Meta, have the crumbs of information about the Global Reputation Recalc failed in delivery?

  • 3
    @Jeff I'm not sure this is a duplicate.
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:25
  • Why was this closed? :(
    – Gopi
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:26
  • Indeed, good question, voted to re-open.
    – fretje
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:28
  • @Sri I'm not sure why Jeff closed it, but it seems wrong. Voted to reopen.
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:33
  • 2
    – random
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:48
  • I am not sure how this can be closed as exact duplicate. Jeff can you please explain me why did you close this question.
    – Gopi
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 9:33
  • Still i see a lot of questions araised regarding the Global Rep Recalc!
    – Gopi
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 10:53

4 Answers 4


I certainly believe so.

The problem from my point of view was that my reputation changed in an inexplicable way before the big banner went up at the top of the site.

I think that instead of just posting a Why did your reputation change? Reputation scoring has changed on all Stack Overflow family sites. Learn more. banner after the system had already changed, it would have been better if at the start of last week a banner had been posted along the lines of Reputation scoring will be changed this week on all Stack Overflow family sites. Learn more..

A little warning for those of us who don't assiduously follow the blog would have saved a lot of confusion.


There are two types of numbers.

  1. The money idea: You can translate the number into other units. One money is two slices of bread, 37 miles are 60 kilometers, and so is one gallon of gasoline.

  2. The score idea: Space Invaders at its best: Shoot at things, and number grows. Be happy if you reach a highscore. Same for your number of Facebook friends, the result from your IQ test, and the tidyness of your appartment.

You can understand Stack Overflow reputation as either of those types.

  1. Understand it as money: 10 rep is one answer upvote. 15 rep is one accepted answer. Just as you would with money, you need an understanding of how one unit translates to another. If you care deeply about mortgage interest rates, you keep yourself informed. If you want a car that saves you money, you need to learn about energy prices, be informed about technological innovations, taxation advantages for employing reusable energy, etc.

  2. Understand it as score: It's a number. It grows when you do good things and decreases when you write crap. You do good stuff because you like doing good stuff, because it's fun. You shoot each space invader after the other, without each time checking that the score did in fact increase by the appropriate amount.

Either way of understanding reputation is fine. But if you are one of the first kind, you can be expected to keep yourself informed. If you make your money in selling oil, don't come complaining to the desert when it doesn't have any reserves left.

My 2 cents. (That's Euro cents, which translates to approximately 0,0102258376 Deutschmarks.)

  • I always thought the Euro cents was a little off... (kidding)
    – AnonJr
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 20:35

A big sentence to the top of Meta says: "Reputation scoring has been revised and recalculated on all Stack Overflow family sites. Learn more about this change."

That should be enough.

Update: Some of your comments concern the wider problem of asking Meta questions directly on SO because the user doesn't know about Meta. I think this should be tackled by a new "intellisense" suggestion, similar to "the question appears to be subjective and is likely to be closed". Namely: "This question appears to belong to meta.stackoverflow.com. Consider asking it there." Of course, you would find that out based on the words used when posing the question, especially its title. As a bonus hint, most of the related questions which will appear will have already been closed as "belongs on meta", and this should be stressed visually to the user and used for the above hint.

  • Yeah i understand, yet i found questions about this issue! You can find more questions if you navigate through question.
    – Gopi
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:22
  • 3
    It was only displayed on meta, not on the other sites. So if someone that's never even heard of meta sees his rep go down, he's not going to go to meta to find out why, he's going to complain on the site he's active.
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:24
  • 1
    i see lot of question in META
    – Gopi
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:25
  • @alex: He will go to meta and read the sentence which explains the change for "all Stack Overflow family sites". Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:32
  • @Daniel why should he go to meta if he's never been here and doesn't care about it? Not many people have accounts on meta (not many people really know there's anything other than SO). There are only about 16500 meta users out of more than 160000 SO users and probably countless other SU and SF users.
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:36
  • 1
    @Daniel, no he won't Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:37
  • @alex Then close the question as "belongs on meta". That people ask meta questions on SO is something which happens all the time, but it's not specific of this particular question. Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:40
  • 1
    @Daniel they ask it on SO because they've never heard of meta or don't know what it does. They ask where they're active because that's where it happened. People then downvote it and move it to meta but it's too late, the question's already been asked. They've probably not seen the endless list of qoestions on meta because they've not visited it yet.
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 8:46
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    @Jeff sorry, I'm not following you. What results in a lot more email? Having the banner or not having it?
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 9:09
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    The tradeoff, as I see it, is: no banner = more work for community moderators (meta), global banner = more work for internal SO team. So the SO team are palming off the fallout onto the community moderators. I'm not making any judgements on anyone, but that's the way I see it. Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 9:16
  • 1
    @Farseeker Maybe, but I'm not sure. Why would it increase the number of emails if people actually find out what happened?
    – alex
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 9:20
  • 1
    @Alex, I don't know. Ask Jeff, he's the one thats claiming it. Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 10:33
  • 4
    I'm not convinced that it would result in a lot more email. Even if it did (and it would be of the type "why did you make this change, no fair!" rather than "hey where did my rep go", the team can simply pile up those mails into one folder, and respond to them all with another blog post (or point them to the earlier explanations).
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 14:43
  • 1
    "The site"? Only meta. Most users don't even know about meta. They just know "something happened".
    – kmarsh
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 16:41
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    @alex - I guess this is about the fact that if they disagree or don't fully understand why after reading the banner, they will mail the team to complain. Users tend to do that.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 16:47

Maybe the main reason that's used to defend, why this information shouldn't be communicated is (as I understand it), approximately: "It would lead to a lot of emails/questions/..., people challenging the decision etc."

I believe, it would. It would replace the question "What happened?" with "Why did it happen?" This may be inconvenient here on Meta (while less inconvenient for the user), but IMO, like with any big change, such questions are justified.

Wouldn't it be better to redirect them as early as possible to the best post with all the discussion about the topic, so they're less likely to open a new question? Maybe using a dynamic notification banner?

Every awarded badge, ever message reply is announced with a dynamic banner, in order to keep users informed what happened to their status, their profile, their questions and answers. Since this was a big status update, they might be interested in that, too - the next time they visit the site, even if they didn't log in for a month. (OTOH, non-registered or new users are not, so a static banner is probably not the best solution - though it's better than nothing.)

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