On April Fool's Day, I posted a joke Code Golf on SO. I thought it was hilarious. I spent a fair amount of time looking at the formats of other Code Golf questions to make sure mine looked authentic. And when I was finally satisfied, I went straight to the "Post Your Question" button... without remembering to tick the "community wiki" checkbox.

It was an honest mistake, and as soon as I saw the comments pointing out my error, I edited the question to make it CW; I even upvoted the commenters. I was too late, though; I got 13 points for that question (+3/-1), and it was closed. A copycat question popped up and got pretty popular — though, searching for it now, it seems to have disappeared. In its comments, one person pointed out that it was a dupe of mine and the poster replied that it didn't count as a dupe because the other guy (me) was trying to farm rep.

Long story short, I would like to return those 13 rep points to the system. Right now, my options for losing points range from "bad" (giving 13 downvotes I wouldn't otherwise give) to "really bad" (abusing the "flag as offensive" tool). Am I stuck with these tainted points?

My suggested fix is a way to allow users to throw rep away, and have that show up on their activity pages.


  • people who accidentally forget to use CW will be able to avoid having their otherwise-good questions closed by people who suspect them of being rep whores
  • new users who don't know any better won't be scared away from using the site as easily


  • someone would have to create and implement an algorithm — I can think of at least three ways to do it, and I've outlined my favorite of the three below
  • could give rise to a "give your rep points back" regiment of the "CW police"

Here's my suggested algorithm: allow users to enter an amount of rep to give up, and make it clear that once the "submit" button is pressed, that reputation does not go to anyone and cannot be retrieved; it just permanently evaporates into nothingness. Clean and simple, though not flexible.

(And yes, I triple-checked to make sure I didn't forget to select "community wiki" for this post.)

  • 9
    Just delete the post. On the next rep recalc all the rep you gained will disappear. You can even request a recalc.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Apr 7, 2010 at 16:17
  • 7
    This post shouldn't have been wiki. :)
    – mmyers
    Apr 7, 2010 at 16:21
  • 7
    Don't let the CW police get to you. Apr 7, 2010 at 16:35
  • 3
    You're right, unless you delete the question. Then the rep does disappear.
    – mmyers
    Apr 7, 2010 at 16:42

6 Answers 6


I'm confident we can find 6.5 people to downvote some of your answers :D

  • Okay, I can see the 6, but what about the 0.5?
    – SamB
    Apr 7, 2010 at 22:25
  • @SamB 13 / 2 = 6.5. (Not part of the joke really.)
    – Pekka
    Apr 7, 2010 at 22:36
  • no, I mean, where in the world are we gonna find half a user?
    – SamB
    Apr 7, 2010 at 22:39
  • 5
    @Sam it's somewhere along the lines of "the average western couple has 2.3 children."
    – Pekka
    Apr 7, 2010 at 22:42

13 rep points is not that much really, don't sweat it.

Reputation in general is meaningless.

And by the way, you didn't need to CW this question here on Meta, as it's a valid [discussion]/[feature-request].

There is already rep evaporation on recalcs anyway.

  • +1, but Pekka's answer was too good to pass up
    – Pops
    Apr 7, 2010 at 16:49

Add a bounty on a question that you wouldn't ordinarily have a bounty on. That way you are still feeding the site. This is sort of like "laundering" your tainted money.

  • +1 for the laundering reference :)
    – Pekka
    Apr 7, 2010 at 16:54

No! Bad Torgamus! BAD BAD Torgamus!

/rubs Torgamus' nose in the rep

Next time it's the rolled up newspaper for you!

  • Honestly it doesn't matter. If you don't want it, flag it for moderator attention and request that the post be deleted and your reputation recalculated.
    – Pollyanna
    Apr 7, 2010 at 17:06
  • 3
    Great. Now I don't know whether to accept Pekka's answer or yours. I suspect inertia will win. Actually, happy side-effect: earned a badge for deleting the post (Disciplined).
    – Pops
    Apr 7, 2010 at 17:24

Open a Bounty on one of your questions. The fact that the minimal bounty is more than 13 rep can be seen as an extra service fee for absolution.

  • Mmmmmm, absolution.....
    – Pollyanna
    Apr 7, 2010 at 20:36

I'd say don't worry about it. You made me laugh, that's worth at least 5 points.

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