Currently if someone votes you down you lose say two reputation. on SO where people has 10k+ reputations, 2 rep isn't much (if anything).

I would propose a change of that part of the reputation system, so when you have higher amount of reputation, you will lose more reputation if you throw in useless questions/answers.

Also idea might be to count it more if the question/answers ends up on negative side (i.e. -1)

Possible following simple algorithm might be sufficient:

min_loss = 2; // always lose something
reputation_loss_modifier = 0.001; // i.e. one each 100 reputation point
negative_modifier = 1.0; // double up if negative
rep_loss = (
  min_loss + floor( abs(current_reputation) * reputation_loss_modifier ) * 
  ( 1 + ( negative_modifier * actual_post_points < 0 ) )
  • 1
    By this formula, Jon Skeet would lose 1864 rep on a downvote of a +0/-0 answer. LOL – Jon Seigel Jun 20 '10 at 14:56
  • 1
    And if a high-rep user gets voted-up, they gain more rep? – Gelatin Jun 20 '10 at 14:58
  • My vision was that if you have higher reputation then you should stand at a higher standard than others. @Simon: was only regarding downvotes. – azatoth Jun 20 '10 at 15:27
  • I know, I was trying to make a point. – Gelatin Jun 20 '10 at 19:06
  • (-1) for the reasons in my answer. – devinb Jun 21 '10 at 7:51

Let me get this straight: You want the people with the highest reputations to lose the most if somebody votes them down. You want the people who have contributed the most and probably know the most... to lose significant amounts of reputation... when any idiot votes them down for any reason.

No thanks.

(In any event, this completely goes against the site's core philosophy that questions and answers should be evaluated on their own merits. A useless answer submitted by a high-rep user is fundamentally no worse than a useless answer submitted by anyone else. High-rep users don't need any added incentives/disincentives to post good/bad answers. Certainly a reputation "welfare" system isn't going to help.)

  • I can understand your point; My point was more in the "more power gives more responsibility" view. – azatoth Jun 20 '10 at 15:31
  • 3
    @azatoth It's irresponsible to only post answers that wont attract downvotes. – Tom Hawtin - tackline Jun 20 '10 at 16:01
  • @azatoth: Yes, more power does give more responsibility. Those who have the reputation to retag/edit/close/delete need to learn how to use those privileges properly. Those things are responsibilities. What you're asking for appears to be some sort of class warfare, a way to "even up the odds" between low-rep and high-rep users, and that's not what reputation is about. At best it's equivalent to a sort of progressive taxation system, and providing negative incentives to reach high reputation only discourages those people from contributing their fullest. – Aarobot Jun 20 '10 at 19:13

Have you any idea how seriously most high rep users take down votes?

For me every down vote---every single one---is cause to check the text in search of some horrible, embarrassing error or some mis-understanding of the questions. It calls for a check and double check to see if it was deserved.

  • Two points: so what?
  • The possibility of being public wrong in this place: ouch.
  • The possibility of being wrong and not correcting it: Yikes!
  • This is probably the best argument against it: High-rep users are already the most anal about downvotes for the reasons described. I know I am. – Pëkka Jun 20 '10 at 20:50

In an ideal world, a down-vote is just a flag to the poster that something in their answer was either inaccurate or unclear. The vote is always followed up by a comment, letting the original author know what (might) be wrong so the answer can be fixed or clarified.

This isn't an ideal world. You realize people down vote high rep users just for the sake of doing so, correct?

Additionally, reputation is not meant to be 'just a score', its a measure of how much the system trusts you to go beyond just asking and answering questions. By your logic, 20 down votes is all it takes for many of the editors of SO to lose their ability to maintain the site. It would be sad if nobody was able to close and delete the SPAM / noise / nonsense. Do you think the handful of moderators have the expert knowledge to maintain every single question type on SO?

High rep users don't need to be held more accountable to their answers. They got their reputation by being accountable to their answers.

It seems like reputation (or a lack thereof) is the theme of the month on meta.


This is a fundamental misunderstanding about reputation. Reputation is a reflection of past-performance and only a hopeful indicator of future. When someone has an incredibly high reputation is means they have answered many questions very well. It does not mean that they know everything or that they are infallible.

Everything on StackOverflow is provided by people who are volunteering their own time to help others, it never means that anything they suggest should be implemented blindly.

Your suggestion implies that we should be punishing those who have contributed the most to the community.

You must log in to answer this question.

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