I'm sorry if this has already been asked but I can't find similar questions, so I'm shooting in the dark here:

I recently joined The Awkward Silence and was surprised about some recommended behaviors to adopt while reviewing on IPS. For instance, I used to comment on answers that didn't respect our policy and then recommend deletion/delete them. But after discussing with other members, I believe I've understand that it's better to comment and downvote but not delete those answers. So I've begun to do this, and the rep points began to fall (which is normal because I downvote other users' intervention).

Because of that, a question came to mind: how's that that we lose reputation while doing reviewing tasks, in the goal of improving this site?

I'm very new on meta so please feel free to edit / critique / give further explanation about the answer policy. :)

2 Answers 2


This rule is implemented so nobody goes downvoting every answer they don't like. If you lose reputation for down-voting, you will think about it before casting it. This was also put in place so users don't abuse the system by down-voting excessively and indiscriminately.

From this answer on main meta:

According to what Jeff/Joel discussed on the SO podcast, they wanted to find a way to discourage users from down-voting for less legitimate reasons (say a pro-Java developer down-voting everything remotely related to .NET or the like).

Also worth mentioning that there is no penalty for downvoting correctly because you get the rep back when the answer you downvoted gets deleted later. (Credits to ArtOfCode)

From this Stackoverflow blog:

Perhaps you’ve noticed a theme here. Incoming questions are a universal constant, all around us in countless billions. But answers — truly brilliant, amazing, correct answers — are as rare as pearls. Thus, questions are merely the sand that produces the pearl. If we have learned anything in the last three years, it is that you optimize for pearls, not sand.

  • 8
    @avazula - also, if we have a meta consensus to delete it ("try this", Non-IPS, one-liners, etc), then you should flag/comment/downvote/deletevote. It's only if it's in line with the policies but still not a good answer that you downvote.
    – Mithical
    Apr 19, 2018 at 9:42
  • 7
    Another pattern it discourages is downvoting all the other answers on questions you've answered, to help yours rise. Tactical downvoting like that is definitely against the spirit of community-curated content! Apr 20, 2018 at 1:49
  • 3
    It's not necessarily correct to delete everything that's correct to downvote so I don't know that I'd equate the two, but it does at least rebalance it.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 20, 2018 at 18:54
  • Is there actually any evidence that people would downvote in the way feared? May 2, 2018 at 5:29

The earlier answer by @AJ is fundamentally correct in saying that

this rule is implemented so nobody goes downvoting every answer they don't like. If you lose reputation for down-voting, you will think about it before casting it.

May I only add from personal experience that a nominal -1 loss of reputation for casting a downvote or -2 for getting a downvote on your post is no real deterrent for any member who has earned at least 600 points on this site (because maintaining the 500 threshold is necessary to retain the important close/reopen voting privileges) and -10 lost by downvoting 10 users is easily "earned back" by someone's single upvote on your recent popular answer.

But nobody likes to see that -1 against their name, whether as a downvote earned by a reckless post or as a reputation loss incurred by casting a downvote, so the psychological cost of that -1 is more potent than the actual reduction in reputation score, and is like a tiny electric shock of "systemic censure" that keeps the user on the right track:

post sensibly and responsibly, following site guidelines, to avoid attracting downvotes.

cast a downvote only when it is necessary.

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