I was trying to find the correlation between downvoting and losing 1 rep for the downvote.

If I understood correctly downvoting a post with a score ≥ 0 always takes away 1 reputation from me.

But I couldn't see a consistent pattern while downvoting a post with a negative score. If I'm not mistaken sometimes I lose 1 rep after downvoting a post with a score of -1 and sometimes I don't.

I used to think the pattern is much clearer with posts with the score of -2 or lower. I never noticed any loss of reputation after downvoting one such post (though I cannot claim that I have checked meticulously every single time).

But to add to the confusion I noticed today I lost 1 reputation after downvoting one ranty (not-an-)answer posted by a new user laced with expletives (this one, deleted already). At the time of downvoting it already had a score of -4 (0 - 4).

What are the exact cases where downvoting leads to reputation loss? (Or rather when it does not do that)

1 Answer 1


Downvotes as a result of "spam" or "rude/abusive" flags being cast and therefore automatically done don't cost you rep.

Downvotes on questions cost nothing.

Any answer downvote you do should cost you one rep point. Unless the question is deleted in a certain period of time (I believe you regain that rep). (This excludes flags triggering a downvote)

(At least, as I understand the system)

  • 1
    DVs on questions are free
    – muru
    Oct 18, 2017 at 23:42
  • Thanks @muru, that was the main reason behind my confusion.
    – pomsky
    Oct 19, 2017 at 1:47
  • 2
    yes you lose 1 when you downvote an answer, and get it back when the answer is deleted, if that happens. If the answer is undeleted, you lose your rep again.
    – Zanna Mod
    Oct 19, 2017 at 8:18
  • 1
    Thank you @Zanna, it all makes sense now. I thought it was more complicated than QI's scoring system :D
    – pomsky
    Oct 19, 2017 at 12:03

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