A script that is run every so often to correct inconsistencies in the way a user's displayed rep is calculated initially.
Recalculation is performed to ensure that user's reputation over time is reported correctly, reflecting the current voting values.
Occasionally, there may be inconsistencies with the way that a user's displayed reputation is calculated, which may cause it to mismatch the user's actual reputation. To increase the quickness of updating the displayed reputation, every day, it is initially calculated incrementally based on the events that happen throughout the day, such as votes. However, due to things like race conditions and potential bugs in that calculation, the displayed score calculated based on this incremental calculation may not match the actual score. For instance, if you receive two upvotes on different posts at exactly the same time, only one of those votes would initially appear to count.
The reputation recalculation process happens on an irregular frequency, ensuring that the displayed value matches the actual value. In the example above, the script would give you the points for the vote that was not counted initially. It may also run in certain other cases, such as if a user is removed or if you were serially voted and the votes were invalidated. This is to ensure that you don't end up losing rep from serial upvotes that caused legitimate upvotes to not earn you rep since you hit the cap.
Your actual reputation will always be correct at
/reputation (e.g. https://meta.stackexchange.com/reputation).
See also: How do I audit my reputation?
- Your reputation will be correct at all times
- Deletions will have a much more immediate effect on reputation, not waiting on a recalc (but reputation sync takes up to 5 minutes on a delete/undelete action; as to not block the user's response thread, it's offloaded to a background queue)
- Recalcs will no longer be necessary
- Up/Down vote reversals will restore the correct reputation amount
- Up/Down vote reversals will correctly adjust to the reputation cap
- The reputation history in your profile will be more detailed and accurate (e.g. when a post is deleted, you'll see that in the reputation tab of your profile)
...To think of it more easily: imagine that a recalc will be done after every action in the system...
StackExchange blog 03-05-12: Reputation and Historical Archives
...This may sound pretty boring – and it is – but it’s a big deal for some of our most avid users, for whom that number at the top of the screen is an at-a-glance indicator of how their contributions are faring on the site. Up until now, the reputation visible next to your name on your profile was a rough approximation of your real reputation – only a recalculation would resolve all the discrepancies that crept in over time.
- MSO Jan 14 '10: Make scheduled reputation recalcs to increase transparency
Users keep raising the same questions on Meta after a loss in reputation overnight and have no clue as to why. It would be helpful to have a clear mechanism for recalcs and to leave a tersely annotated audit trail to at least indicate where the rep has gone...
...Having a clear schedule makes it easier for users to get used to rep losses and gains; it stops being a total mystery (this might also prepare them for the rep recalc that will have to be performed when the weight of downvotes will be increased, wink wink, nudge nudge)...
Transparency, in my opinion, is one of the better qualities a community can have. Losing massive amounts of rep with no explanation leads to bad blood (since rep is highly valued by members of the community). Having a mechanism that clearly allows you to see what has happened to it prevents a lot of the problems we have now.
A bit of history...
StackExchange blog 03-21-10: The Great Reputation Recalc Begins
... As previously discussed in Important Reputation Rule Changes, we are now beginning site-wide reputation recalculations on Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User. You may see some changes in your own reputation, along with changes in other users’ reputation.
In addition to rebalancing question upvotes as +5 instead of their old value of +10, we also fixed the following minor bugs in the reputation system... Do bear in mind that the reputation score is denormalized, meaning there are external events that happen on the trilogy sites which can affect your reputation, but some of them can’t take effect (due to effects of chronology) until your reputation is recalculated from scratch...
While reputation is an important concept on our sites, as documented in the FAQ, it isn’t meant to be an extremely scientific and to-the-second accurate number. You should always expect a small amount of normal flux and variation around your reputation score, which will be reconciled through periodic recalculations like this one.
- MSO (faq) Mar 19 '10: The global reputation recalc of March 2010
I lost a ton of reputation! Why did this happen?...