Just in case it ever comes to it I was wondering if I could get a reputation score lower than zero.

  • I've noticed that no one ever has less than 1, but I think that if you have -10 worth of downvotes then you need at least +11 of upvotes or other positive reputation modifiers to go above 1
    – user61492
    Feb 27, 2014 at 22:56
  • @Alex: Nope, that's not true. If you have 1 rep and get 5 downvotes followed by 1 upvote, you'll have 11 rep. Which is pretty silly, because if you get 1 upvote followed by 5 downvotes instead, you'll end up with 1 rep. Mar 10, 2014 at 23:32

3 Answers 3


Nope, the minimum value is 1. If you lose rep (e.g. downvoted) when you are already at 1 then it has no effect.


This question is answered at Meta StackOverflow

The StackOverflow team believes that everybody's special in their own way and doesn't deserve to have a negative self-esteem (aka reputation).

Other reasons for this design decision could be:

  • Reputation is stored as an unsigned integer (can't be negative)
  • Having negative reputation could cause people to make new accounts to get out of it
  • 1
    Unlikely to be option a, SQL server doesn't have unsigned integer types that can count past 255.
    – TZHX
    Mar 1, 2014 at 22:16
  • 3
    @TZHX i'm sure the real reason is that everyone is special :D Mar 2, 2014 at 1:01
  • @TZHX If you read the technical documentation (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10369/…) on what SE runs on, it uses MS SQL server 2014. (MS SQL Server can store an unsigned integer with the NUMERIC data type: blog.sqlauthority.com/2013/06/21/…). Mar 9, 2014 at 15:41
  • 1
    @Nigel I'd be very surprised if that was the cause of this design choice/limitation, or if they didn't store reputation in an integer data type.
    – TZHX
    Mar 9, 2014 at 16:45
  • @TZHX I'm not saying it had anything to do with the design choice/limitation, merely that your statement that SQL "doesn't have unsigned integer types that can count past 255" is bogus. Mar 9, 2014 at 17:04
  • 1
    @CanadianLuke unsinged integers(32) isn't a valid data type in SQL Server. numeric is an option, as Mr Niquande suggested, but it's not really a suitable/sensible choice for this or a reasonable explanation for the design choice. I think, generally, using numeric over one of the default integer types would be considered a design flaw because of the the added complications with conversion, etc. and the general lack of any compelling reason to do so just to create an unsigned integer type (which saving one bit of space, isn't).
    – TZHX
    Mar 10, 2014 at 19:25
  • @TZHX After I posted that, I started researching it, and you were correct. I take it back, and offer my sincerest apologies. Mar 10, 2014 at 19:55


Reputation has a floor of 1. it can never reach zero or a negative number.

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