At MathOverflow > Help center > Reputation & Moderation I see the following:

[...] a user who voted for one of your posts had their account deleted (either by request or due to violating the network's terms of service). As a result, all of their votes were removed, and the reputation you gained or lost from them was undone. The resultant reputation change could be any amount [emphasis mine -- I.P.]; it could even be a reputation gain if enough of the removed votes were downvotes.

So, a user's account was deleted for whatever reason, but another user (say X) loses points, even though X's questions or answers were found useful by the deleted user.

What could be the logic here?

I understand that there may be hopefully exceptional cases when the deleted user's voting activities involved fraud of some sort. But it appears that X loses points if a user's account was deleted for whatever reason, with the following exception:

[The text at the linked page also has this:] We have a system in place that examines the impact of removing a user's votes. If the user has cast a large number of votes, deletion will be held up so staff may consider preserving the votes prior to the deletion.

It is I guess better than nothing that there are effots to minimize the negative impact. But why cause any negative impact at all? Why not reduce the nullification of the votes only to cases of voting fraud?

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    $\begingroup$ Link to the FAQ post: What does “user was removed” mean and why did my reputation change because of it? (One think worth pointing out is that deletion of an account does not automatically mean that the votes are removed.) A related feature request - which also contains some useful information: Don't throw away all votes when a user is deleted. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 5 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak : Thank you for your comment. I have augmented the post to take your comment into account. $\endgroup$ – Iosif Pinelis Mar 5 at 20:18
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect part of it is that vote manipulation is something which is difficult to prove. So if the policy required them to make a distinction between cases of vote-manipulation and cases of non-vote-manipulation, they would get dragged down a hideous rabbit hole. My advice would be to remember the timeless adage don't worry about the "points" too much. $\endgroup$ – Tim Campion Mar 7 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ @TimCampion : Thank you for your comment. However, I am not sure if I can completely follow this logic. It seems to assume quite significant positive correlation between quitting MO on one's own volition and having perpetrated vote manipulation (because I was not talking about user accounts removed for cause). The correlation seems to be assumed significant enough to affect users not even aware of such suspected manipulation. Or am I missing something here? $\endgroup$ – Iosif Pinelis Mar 7 at 22:32
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    $\begingroup$ I think @TimCampion's adage applies regardless of any correlation or absence of it between a user account being deleted and the appropriateness of that user's votes. (I would suspect the motivation to be rather that votes should represent the community opinion, and someone no longer in the community no longer has a share in the community opinion; but who can fathom the minds of the SE developers?) $\endgroup$ – LSpice Mar 7 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ But, anyway, once one has passed the point of having enough reputation to acquire all desired privileges—which I think 53+K allows, though who knows what undreamt of privileges I don't know about—I think that this is beyond the point of being an issue. Certainly no one but you and anyone paying unhealthily close attention to your reputation page will know if your reputation goes up or down by anything less than 100 points; and, since the only point of reputation is to signal, well, reputation in the community, then who cares? $\endgroup$ – LSpice Mar 7 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ @LSpice : Thank you for your comments. (i) The concern "votes should represent the community opinion" seems to be legitimate. However, it is not obvious to me that, especially in this respect, the community must be defined as the set of all current MO subscribers. It seems to make more sense to also include all those who have ever benefited from MO. $\endgroup$ – Iosif Pinelis Mar 8 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ Previous comment continued: (ii) The point here is not about reputation points or privileges per se, even though they are indeed the MO currency. It is about basic fairness. If someone has indeed earned the points by spending time and effort and thus helping other people, is it fair to take those points away (no matter how many of them -- 10, 100, or 1000) just because someone else quit MO (having done nothing illegitimate)? $\endgroup$ – Iosif Pinelis Mar 8 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ Anent (i), I do not mean to advance any position on this myself—indeed, I am in sympathy with the claim that this is not a useful thing to do, although, given the essential meaninglessness of reputation, I also don't think it matters much that it is done—only to speculate (fruitless endeavour) on what lurks in the minds of the SE developers. $\endgroup$ – LSpice Mar 8 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ Anent (ii), I would argue that the only sense in which one has actually gained anything when reputation has gone up is in terms of potentially increased community standing; reputation is literally (not just practically) meaningless for one user in isolation. Since nothing of value to oneself has been given when one receives reputation, nothing is lost when it is taken away (as long as community perception doesn't change). But that's just MHO. $\endgroup$ – LSpice Mar 8 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ In one of your comments you mentioned that you want to "include all those who have ever benefited from MO." This description would probably fit anonymous post feedback slightly better than reputation and score. Anonymous feedback is collected on all post, to access it you'll have to use SEDE, some examples of such queries are linked in the MO chatroom. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 8 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ @LSpice It looks like new privileges top out at access to site analytics at 25k. However, a few months ago, SE sent t-shirts and mugs to users with 100k and 250k rep respectively. Actually, these are the only privileges with a tangible monetary value, making them the most valuable privileges, undreamt-of by us mortals. Keep gunning for that t-shirt! $\endgroup$ – Tim Campion Mar 8 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I misread -- it looks like there's a "see reduced ads privilege" at some point. Since we all already have that one as MO users, maybe we all have a reputation boost compared to the rest of the SE network :) $\endgroup$ – Tim Campion Mar 8 at 12:33

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