Saw a comment in the question about increasing the cost/effect of downvotes on reputation that rep recalc is irrelevant because, in their words, it will "only happen 2-3 times in a lifetime." I was under the impression that it happened relatively frequently.

How often does reputation get recalculated? If it isn't done regularly, should it be?

3 Answers 3


A system-wide recalc happens occasionally, for example when the rep rules are tweaked (like this). Since December 2010, you can also trigger a recalc manually, following the instructions on your reputation report.

Other than that, a rep-recalc can be triggered on your account by ♦ moderators:

  • on request
  • if we've done something like merged your account(s)
  • if there is a suspicion of "inappropriate activity" that has resulted in one or more posts being deleted

In most cases, a rep recalc is nothing to fear. I've seen rep recalc result in increases as many times as decreases.

Re your last point... a regular system-wide recalc possibly wouldn't be a bad thing, but I have no idea how much impact it has on the system. Per-user it is pretty cheap (it'll process me in about 1 second - I just did it, and gained 2 rep! woohoo!)

A few known causes of discrepencies (there may be others):

  • a post you had previously gained/lost rep on is deleted
  • there is a "feature" that can lead to over-the-cap (i.e. 201+ points in a day) users losing 1 point repeatedly - recalc claws these back
  • 3
    I agree that it's nothing to fear, but should it be done on a more regular basis so the cumulative effect isn't as great? I guess I expected it to happen weekly or monthly.
    – tvanfosson
    Jul 21, 2009 at 22:08
  • I expanded my answer to cover that; in short, I think yes, it probably should be. Jul 21, 2009 at 22:09
  • 5
    Can you do a recalc and then reverse it it if lowers rep?
    – jjnguy
    Jul 21, 2009 at 22:10
  • Regarding your update: couldn't this be done offline (by offline servers anyway)? Or is it the DB access that is the potential bottleneck?
    – tvanfosson
    Jul 21, 2009 at 22:10
  • 2
    @jjnguy; there is no preview, and no rollback. You're stuck with the updated rep, whether you like it or not. Jul 21, 2009 at 22:16
  • 1
    I don't see how this could be accomplished offline. Either way you have to read and write to the database. If doing it offline you have to deal with what to do if rep changes during the recalc. Jul 21, 2009 at 22:16
  • @Ian Elliott - saved me some typing, cheers. I honestly don't know if performance is an issue here; I don't have that kind of visibility. Jul 21, 2009 at 22:17
  • @Ian -- I meant doing it using something other than the SO web servers. It's not clear to me where the load would be with respect to the recalc. I know there have been a few system-wide recalcs so I suppose that they have some knowledge of the cost and where the resource constraints are.
    – tvanfosson
    Jul 21, 2009 at 22:18
  • Presumably the one-offs are done using an administrative interface on the web servers. A system-wide recalc could be run from any server with access to the DB.
    – tvanfosson
    Jul 21, 2009 at 22:20
  • per-user recalcs are indeed available via the ♦ moderator tools on the site; I have no idea how site-wide recalcs are done, but I hope/expect it uses the same code (DRY) - plus the team have repeatedly stated their avoidance of stored procedures. But ultimately, it is an implementation detail ;-p Jul 21, 2009 at 22:27
  • 8
    @Marc: There is an admin panel we don't have access to that has a button to Recalc All Rep. We (or I at least) had access to it briefly, but then is mysteriously disappeared. It had a lot of fun buttons. Maybe that's why it went away...
    – Tom Ritter
    Jul 22, 2009 at 12:56
  • Was there a button which caused a screen to light up with "Please do not press that button again", @TomRitter?
    – TRiG
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:19
  • No more manual recalcs.
    – bjb568
    May 9, 2014 at 5:49

I offered a suggestion for performing regular recalcs on all users here, when a user passed one of the thresholds for gaining new abilities.


Rep will get a recalc if you request it, or if you happen to be caught by the system as gaming the system or being a serial down/up voter.

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