Reputation is lost in following cases

  • Answer to a question which gets closed and ultimately deleted and a recalc occurs.
  • If the answer to any question is deleted and a recalc occurs..
  • If answer (question?) is flagged spam.

Regardless of the user's feelings towards the rep loss, it is always good to know what drove the reputation change, both up and down.

My request is to notify the user (may be using mail) about the reasons for reputation change whenever a recalc happens. The mail should enlist the questions and reasons for the change (not only "rep re-calc was done"), otherwise it would defeat the purpose.

This would also greatly reduce the noise about "rep lost" cry on Meta.

  • Is there a reason for the rollback? – perbert Apr 16 '10 at 16:37
  • @json: No offence :), but IMO sub was causing pain to the eye, mail is not essential (any notification would do), and mail the reasons for rep change not notify about rep re-calc. – nvl Apr 16 '10 at 16:45
  • See the number of closed posts regarding rep meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=reputation+closed:1 . I think notifying the user about the reason will reduce this list. – nvl Apr 16 '10 at 16:53
  • I don't believe an automatic recalc happens if a question is closed->deleted (although IMHO there is no reason why this could not be triggered). Both the questioner and the answerers will hold onto that rep until a recalc is triggered for some other reason. – Ether Apr 16 '10 at 18:06

If you receive a hit from something being flagged offensive/spam, this is quite easily visible in the reputation graph. See, for example, this user's graph for the dates 4/4 through 4/7 this year.

On the other hand, rep recalculations are legitimately confusing. However, since rep recalcs are already expensive to perform (which is why they aren't performed in real time), I don't think the devs will go for integrating an e-mail generation and transmission operation on top of it. In particular, I don't think that generating an e-mail to tens of thousands of users for the recent global recalc was ever seriously considered.

Remember that most of the stuff that comes up here, on meta, is being handled by the community, that is to say, volunteers (or, if you prefer, addict-slaves). There's not much reason for Jeff to want to reduce the load here as long as its within acceptable limits. Just because the question is a FAQ doesn't mean he's going to spend time and money implementing a solution that may, potentially, reduce the frequency of the question.

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I think a notification would be in order. Not necessarily an email but something. If the rep gets recalculated then you should know. I'm not sure if you'd want a break down of where you gained / lost rep but it would be nice to have that accessible.

Rep also shouldn't be taken so seriously.

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    Its not about rep but more about the reasons. Most of the users are at peace if rep is lost. – nvl Apr 16 '10 at 16:41

There has been several proposal in this vein, but they have been rejected by Jeff because he doesn't want to tell the SO users about the recalc because he considers that more people will complain if he tells them about it.

The most sensible proposal was adding a small banner on the site, as was done on Meta.

Also, your mention of e-mail will most likely result in a quick [status-declined].

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  • I didn't know that Jeff has already decided on it, but the users are already asking questions on Meta whenever they loose reputation. A small mail, IMHO, will reduce this. – nvl Apr 16 '10 at 16:27
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    @nvl: 1) Jeff hates mail 2) People will come crying for lost rep either way, as when people came here didn't realize there was already a banner explaining what happened 3) I partially agree with you, some big changes should be announced on the site, but it's Jeff 's call. – perbert Apr 16 '10 at 16:31
  • Sure its Jeff's call, but I think he pays attention to others POV too. And i did not get any banner explaining reputation lost. It actually took me some time to realize that I had lost around 160 points today by seeing the rep meter. – nvl Apr 16 '10 at 16:39
  • @nvl: It actually took me some time to realize that I had lost around 160 points today by seeing the rep meter. That's how he'd like to keep it. If you don't realize it, you don't complain. – perbert Apr 16 '10 at 16:41
  • :D But the user will notice the change soon and come crying to Meta some time later complaining that he lost rep! – nvl Apr 16 '10 at 16:47

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