I answered an OP’s question some time ago but the OP’s user account was removed and thereafter the points I earned were deducted. I believe that in this scenario the points should remain intact since the removal of an OP’s account is outside of my control and/or responsibility. Can there be a process to make this happen?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This behaviour is present on the entire SE network, and is unlikely to be altered in the near future. See also this meta.SE post. Only if a user has a large amount of votes, their votes will be retained. $\endgroup$
    – Discrete lizard Mod
    Mar 26, 2019 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ How do you imagine would the system distinguish between the removal of "good" accounts on one hand, and troll, sock puppet, spam, ... accounts on the other hand? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Mar 26, 2019 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael it we should such a system already exists (in part) based on the last sentence of Discrete lizard’s comment. However, without having a clear understanding of how the system currently works I can only suggest that a separate counter for points be kept for a user that is not linked to an OP’s question (without changing the current counting system which does have such a link). In short, two counters. $\endgroup$
    – tale852150
    Mar 26, 2019 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ It is fairly easy to distinguish, deleted for moderation purposes (as vote puppet) clears votes. For bad behaviour, flamewar etc. votes are retained. For account deletion also votes are preserved. If posts are preserved it changes no votes. If post is gone, so are the votes cast on it. It seems unfair for many users. I have lost a very small amount and do not care, but I am against this behaviour. It does not sparate value of gathered knowledge and is counterintuitive for Q&A, as it becomes Q,A&Person or simply social network or standard forum, which according to everyone it is not. $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Mar 26, 2019 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Evil Actually, if someone deletes their own account with no human supervision, their votes must be deleted to prevent fraud. Otherwise vote fraud would be very easy: create a sockpuppet account, vote, delete the sockpuppet, repeat. $\endgroup$ Mar 26, 2019 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles I see the point, but there is human supervision, to upvote some upvotes are needed, true it may come from sockpuppet, but such chain of accounts gets easier to detect. I do not have site statistics to support any of the following, but honest participants are in majority, I would bet that sockpuppets are marginal, I have seen two vote frauds here, both handled, but the rest more or less seems bothered. The last piece is the need of vote fraud - I do not see any, but according to sanity stats it should cover less than 0.1% of users, which is sustainable everywhere with exception - SO. $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Mar 26, 2019 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Evil Human supervision is not involved if a fraudster creates multiple accounts, cross-votes and deletes all but one of the accounts. As for how common it is, 1. you have an observation bias (most sockpuppet cases are only noticed by one moderator and maybe one other user) and 2. it would happen more often if there was a way to do it without detection. $\endgroup$ Mar 27, 2019 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ Ok. It explains a lot. In that case, it would be hard to implement automatic votes preserving system. $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Mar 27, 2019 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles if someone builds a house for a neighbor, and gets paid for building the house, one does not lose their money if the neighbor’s house burns down. :-) $\endgroup$
    – tale852150
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles I know, I know - it’s not that simple...but you catch my drift? :-) $\endgroup$
    – tale852150
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


You do not directly lose reputation because you answered a question and the asker's account gets deleted. You only lose reputation in two cases: if the account that cast an upvote or an accept vote on your post gets deleted, or if your upvoted post gets deleted.

If the account that cast a vote is removed, the vote is removed. This helps limit vote inflation on old posts: to a small extent, it privileges content that remains relevant (and thus keeps getting upvotes) over the years. This is also necessary to prevent fraud: if orphan votes remained around, this would make it easy to create temporary accounts to upvote the same post multiple times or to upvote many posts of the same user without leaving traces.

If the post that deserves a vote is deleted, it's even more clear-cut. A user's reputation only depends on content that's actually on the site, not on content that was on the site in the past.

In both cases, there are exceptions, but the exceptions are just that: exceptions. In the normal case, you don't keep reputation conferred by a vote that is no longer present on the site.

  • $\begingroup$ How does one find out what happened given these scenarios? $\endgroup$
    – tale852150
    Mar 30, 2019 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ @tale852150 Look at your reputation history (your user profile → “Activity” → “Reputation”). For example, for 2019-03-15, it says “User was removed”. You won't be told who the user was: that's private information, you aren't supposed to know who voted for you. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 9:39

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