In Stack Overflow, your reputation is a numerical representation of how much trust and confidence you've earned from your fellow users. Each time another user votes on one of your posts, your reputation increases or decreases. As your questions, answers, and articles receive positive votes, your reputation increases to show that your community values your contributions.
All new users start with one reputation, and your reputation can never drop below one. Even if your reputation never increases, you can still be active in your Stack Overflow community. In most cases, the following activities require no additional reputation:
Post a question.
Answer a question.
Write an article (Stack Overflow for Teams Business and Enterprise only).
NOTE: Depending on your Stack Overflow plan and administrator settings, certain actions will require higher reputation.
Voting is the mechanism by which your community recognizes quality content and grants users higher reputation (and privileges). It's through voting that editors, subject matter experts (SMEs), and moderators can emerge to help run and govern the site. Voting is how site leadership forms.
To encourage voting, Stack Overflow offers a variety of badges to recognize key voting activities. You can earn badges for casting your first vote, using up all of your allotted votes in a day, casting upvotes on other people's answers, and more.
Upvoting a question, answer, or Article signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful. Downvoting a post indicates that it contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information.
More votes paint a clearer picture of a post's usefulness and accuracy, so all users should vote frequently. Upvotes are also a great way to thank the author of a quality post for the time and effort put into writing it.
User votes are the primary–but not only–way your reputation increases or decreases. The following actions on the site will affect your reputation.
A user upvotes your question
A user upvotes your answer
A user accepts your answer
You accept your own answer
A user awards your answer a bounty
A user upvotes your Article (Stack Overflow for Teams Business and Enterprise only)
A user downvotes your question
A user downvotes your answer
You place a bounty on a question.
You can earn a maximum of 200 reputation per day from the combination of upvotes and downvotes. Bounties and accepted answers are not subject to this daily reputation limit.
If a user retracts a vote on your post, Stack Overflow will subtract (or add) the corresponding reputation. In most cases, deleted posts do not affect reputation for voters or authors.
User's can't downvote Articles, so you'll never lose reputation from writing an Article. Instead, users can give feedback to the author with the Article feedback feature.
While all users can perform most actions on Stack Overflow for Teams, some require special privileges awarded based on reputation. Once you meet a reputation threshold, you'll have privileges to perform that action immediately. Similarly, dropping below a reputation threshold means you'll immediately lose those privileges.
Stack Overflow for Teams Free, Basic, and Business have the following reputation thresholds:
Access Content Health
Mark content as obsolete
Use moderator tools (Stack Overflow for Teams Business only)
Stack Overflow for Teams Enterprise gives site administrators granular control over privileges for many actions. You can see your site's reputation thresholds at https://[your_site]/help/privileges.
Privilege thresholds example (Stack Overflow for Teams Enterprise only)
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