Possible Duplicate:
Removing a downvote adds reputation that wasn’t there

Whenever a 1 rep user makes a very bad question, they will of course get downvotes. Well, sometimes there are sympathy upvotes for the question or edits on the question make it more readable and people upvote it. As of right now, if a 1-rep user get 8 down votes and then gets 1 upvote, the user's reputation will rise to 6-rep.

This seems like unintended behavior.


If a user is new and doesn't know the rules, etc and gets a flurry of downvotes it could drive them from the site. So many things like leaving comments, voting up, etc rely on them having at least a little rep that one bad question could shut them out before they have a chance to learn from their mistake.

  • I'm not saying we should give them negative scores on the actual user. I'm more saying that if an actual question holds a negative rep, and the user is at 1 rep, then they don't get rep from that question until it becomes positive net rep. Of course, if they start a new question and get an upvote on it, then they get 5 points. They don't "owe" something to the old question, unless they downvoted after they got raised above 1-rep. – Earlz Apr 4 '10 at 19:00
  • If the new user reads comments, pays attention, and slowly turns a bad question into something halfway useful, I won't downvote it. If the new user tosses out the question and ignores it, then I don't see it matters to the user whether I downvote it or not. – David Thornley Apr 4 '10 at 20:08
  • Another way to look at it: What would be the alternative to this? To make it so that an accounted reputation never appears to be less than 1, but to proceed with all calculations that would do so? Not necessary, I think: A user with a bad answer or question would probably never be able to gain enough undeserved rep from a few upvotes — especially when their rep was recalculated; on the other hand, a user who genuinely makes an effort will more easily recover from an initial misstep. – can-ned_food Jun 17 '17 at 15:07

The sympathy votes is an existing issue that is just slightly amplified for 1-rep users. We shouldn't have a special workaround for 1-rep users.

Getting rep. for upvotes after an edit is a feature, I think: this is rewarding desired behaviour, having 1-rep users changing their questions so that they are better. Good for them.


I consider it a feature, in that if a new (1-rep) user posts a good question/answer, I can downvote, immediately cancel it, and then upvote in order to give him an extra 2 points. Call it a welcoming gift. Might not seem like much, but every little bit helps when you're just starting out.

Anyway, if a question is really bad, it will receive enough downvotes to knock it off the front page, and if it's really really bad then it will get closed or flagged to oblivion, which is really a lot more important than the user's rep from a few stray upvotes.

This really all boils down to the so-called "sympathy vote" problem which, IMHO, doesn't really exist, insofar as there are plenty of terrible questions/answers with zero or positive scores that also receive undeserved upvotes. (In other words, it's only called a "sympathy upvote" because it happens after a downvote, when it may very well have happened anyway, downvote or not).

  • 1
    But that 2-rep "welcoming gift" goes away upon a rep recalc anyway. – John Rudy Apr 5 '10 at 13:34
  • 1
    @user0x36E0: Assuming they continue to contribute, by the time any recalc kicks in it won't matter. On the other hand, it's very helpful on the first few days: Ask a good question, receive 2 upvotes, accept an answer, that's 13 rep. Another 2 and they can start upvoting other answers. 'Course, this mattered more when question upvotes were worth 10 rep and your vote alone (+ their accept) would be enough for them to start upvoting others. – Aarobot Apr 5 '10 at 15:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .