What does Reputation do?
As a registered user, your reputation on the site is a part of your identity on the site. It reflects, to an extent, your familiarity with the site, the amount of subject matter expertise you have and the level of respect your peers have for you. It can generally only be gained when other users of the site approve of the content you provide.
Reputation also determines a user’s privileges within the system. As you gain more reputation, the system learns to trust you and bestows new functionality upon you that low-reputation users cannot access.
As users gain reputation, they gain abilities and responsibilities. The required reputation amounts on different sites can vary slightly; see your site’s
/privileges page for specifics. Common privilege levels for new sites, public beta sites and “normal” sites are described here.
How can users gain or lose Reputation?
Users gain or lose reputation based on the quality of their interactions with the system and other community members. The primary reason for reputation change is voting. Posts which are voted up increase their authors’ reputation; the reverse is true for posts which are voted down. Upvotes are more heavily weighted than downvotes.
Posts which have Community Wiki status are exceptions to the reputation rules; votes and acceptances do not grant reputation; bounties, however, still do.
You gain reputation when:
- One of your posts is voted up/useful: +10
- One of your answers becomes accepted: +15
- You accept an answer written by someone else to one of your own questions: +2
- A downvote on one of your questions or answers is removed: +2
- One of your suggested edit gets approved: +2 (up to a total of +1000 per user)
- You remove a downvote from an answer: +1 *
- An answer you downvoted is removed: +1
- One of your answers is awarded a bounty by the user offering the bounty: + full bounty amount
- One of your answers is awarded a bounty automatically: +½ of the bounty amount (see bounty FAQ for details)
- You associate accounts of two or more Stack Exchange network sites, and at least one of those accounts already has 200 or more reputation: +100 on each site (awarded a maximum of one time per site) (this increases the bar to answer protected questions to 110)
* As downvoting a Community Wiki answer does not deduct reputation from the voter, removing a downvote on a CW answer doesn't return any.
You lose reputation when:
- One of your posts is voted down/not useful: −2
- A post where you had successfully suggested an edit has been deleted (reputation page shows the cause as removed): −2
- The account of a user who was the final approver of a suggested edit you made has been deleted (reputation page shows the cause as User was removed): −2
- You vote an answer down/not useful: −1 *
- An upvote on one of your posts is removed: −10
- One of your accepted answers loses accepted status (i.e. unaccepted): −15
- You unaccept an answer written by someone else to one of your own questions: −2
- You place a bounty on a question: − full bounty amount
- One of your posts receives 6 spam or rude or abusive (formerly known as offensive flags): −100
* Downvoting a Community Wiki answer does not deduct reputation from the voter.
- All users start with one reputation point.
- No user's reputation may drop below one point; if an action would cause a user's reputation to drop below one point, that user only loses enough reputation to drop to one point (source), and the remaining penalty or loss is waived.
- You can earn a maximum of +200 reputation from upvotes and suggested edits in any given day. Bounties and the bonuses for accepting and accepted answers are counted separately (source). Reputation “lost” from the reputation cap is not awarded on following days. Additionally, if you hit the cap and later lose reputation, previous votes do not fill in the difference, although later votes will push it to the cap again.
- If a vote is cast before a post becomes Community Wiki, but is removed after the post becomes CW, the removal does not affect reputation (source).
- Before May 2011, downvoting questions cost the downvoter one reputation point (source). (Since May 2011, there is no cost for downvoting questions.)
- Deleting and undeleting posts may reverse reputation effects as well, if these posts have votes. Actions previously taken on deleted posts cease to affect reputation within five minutes (source), unless the post meets both the following criteria (in which case the reputation effects will be permanent) (source):
- The post had a score of at least +3
- The post has been visible on the site for at least 60 days
- Accepting your own answer does not gain you any reputation.
- Voting reversal as a result of serial voting will return lost or gained reputation.
- If a user who voted for one or more of your posts or who approved any of your suggested edits gets their account deleted, it may cause your reputation to change as if their votes were never cast. If this changes your reputation, the change will be shown as "User was removed".
- This does not happen if the user has cast a lot of votes, such that removing all of them would be highly disruptive to a lot of users. In that case, the account's deletion will be held up so that staff can review the user's voting record. If, upon review, employees come across some reason that votes should not be preserved (e.g. the user was involved in voting fraud), they'll be removed as normal; otherwise, they will be preserved. If you see a "User was removed" change in your history, it either means that the user hadn't cast enough votes to trigger such a review, or staff made the explicit decision not to preserve the votes.
- A script that runs occasionally fixes inconsistencies in reputation, which may be caused by bugs/glitches not mentioned here. This can change your reputation in certain cases.
- Upvoted comments do not affect reputation.
When everyone is at 1, where does the reputation start?
There are four ways a new user can earn their first bit of reputation:
- Make a post that gets upvotes. No reputation is required to make posts, and the rep loss from downvotes is waived if it causes your reputation to drop below 1.
- Users come from another site in the network where they start with 100 reputation (if they have a linked account with 200+ reputation) (this doesn't give the ability to answer protected questions)
- Users have their answers accepted or are the ones accepting answers from other users (+15 and +2 respectively)
- Suggested edits are approved (the original poster has a binding vote on suggested edits if they are not yet approved or even rejected)