StackExchange is a website that uses gamification. I am curious if punishment is a suitable method in gamification.

I recently posted a question on this site on how to improve my survey about UX and gamification. https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/87320

I checked yesterday. It was flagged and I had no notification prior to that, and no way to respond to the flagged post, and boy was I surprised. Thus, I lost all reputation points that I had gained. How does this make a person feel after something like this happens. A one strike and you're out certainly does not make for a good user experience. Is there a better way to handle situations like this?

  • It takes five votes to get your question knocked out. So it might be more accurate to say "five strikes and you're out". Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Consequences encourage thoughtful contributions

Taking a negative hit encourages users to do one of three things:

  1. Improve the answer or question to reclaim their glory
  2. Delete it to remove the negative impact to their rep (and avoid further damage)
  3. Quit the site

Thoughtful contributors make a healthier community

For points 1 & 2, it's a win for the community (assuming the down votes are a legitimate indication of quality).

For point 3, it could be good or bad.

  • Good if an un-knowledgeable or damaging user leaves.
  • Bad if a good user leaves because they can't handle criticism.

Ultimately, it's probably good either way: A user who can't handle criticism probably isn't the right user for this format.

  • Unfortunately, options 1 and 2 are not possible on this site. Damage has been done with no way to reclaim the points or to fix any misunderstandings.
    – thomasyung
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 1:17
  • Is it good UX to allow a user to fail, and have no method of undoing their actions? Does not seem like a gamification design or UX design heuristic.
    – thomasyung
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 1:23
  • Apparently, I'm not familiar with the circumstances of your post. A problem question is usually placed on hold or moved to another site. In most cases, the negative feedback on SE sites is very productive. Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 1:44
  • Interesting that this is the first time I have ever received an email notification from this site alerting me of new comments. Seems like a more thoughtful human-centered process would have been to notify the user that someone had flagged your post, giving you an opportunity to accomplish option 1 or 2.
    – thomasyung
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 20:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.