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I know that 1 reputation is deducted when you down-vote an answer. My question is - why do you lose this reputation? Why should we be punished for down-voting an incorrect or badly written answer?

The aim of Arqade and Stack Exchange in general is to have 'good answers rise to the top', and bad answers to go to the bottom. I know this reputation loss is not much, but why should we be punished do follow the site's aim?

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This is a (in my opinion) good way to prevent trolling and mindless downvoting on answers. If downvoting on answers was free you could expect a lot more downvotes on answers that don't really belong there.

Also keep in mind that you gain back your 1 reputation if the answer you've downvoted gets deleted. This is especially important since in most cases the bad answers you've described above are deleted within a day.

Keep in mind that there aren't a lot of reasons where you should downvote an answer:

Low quality answers are usually deleted or edited within a day which solves the problem and gives you back your rep.
Not an answer flags are handled extremely quickly by the community. You'll get your rep back within an hour.
Answers with misleading information take a little longer to handle since it requires 3 delete votes from high-rep users but after a week or so the post will usually be gone aswell.
Spam is handled extremely fas... Oh it's gone already. (same with offensive content)
Personal problems with the answer are also an ok reason to downvote but sometimes you'll have to sacrifice 1 rep to show your dislike of the post to the public. If enough users share the same opinion as you the post might even be deleted some day.

So basically you're only getting "punished" if you have to downvote answers because you disike every answer (and probably also rainbows). If you use downvotes to keep the site's quality high you'll get your reputation back in no time.

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  • For clarification, do you also get your rep back when the answer is edited? Or only when deleted – Mathias711 Apr 20 '15 at 7:16
  • @Jutschge Thankyou, this really clarifies it. Upvote+Accepted. – angussidney Apr 20 '15 at 7:36
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    @Mathias711 - you can revert your downvote if the answer is edited, which will return your 1 rep – Robotnik Apr 20 '15 at 8:16

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