Originally by: Irdia Freelancer
You can get a standing loss currently for rejecting a mission that was not accepted which is outside the '4 hours'. I did this 3x while collecting some datacores this last week. eg Lvl 4 research agents will try to give you a mission and if its been offered and you decline it (never accepted) it will give a small standing loss 0.0135% like which is tiny.
I am not sure if this is what Irdia is talking about, but it was once the case that, if you allowed a mission offer
to expire without formally rejecting the offer the agent would get offended for having his time wasted and you would get a standings loss. This aspect of the game was supposed to have been recently changed; one major problem with the system was that if you accidentally deleted an offer from your journal, and this is a game in which you can quite easily accidentally delete things, without having declined the mission, and you did not limit yourself to a few regular agents, it could become very difficult, or mathematically impossible, to physically find that a agent again, which is what you would have to do, to then properly reject the offer and avoid a standings loss. The legacy of the old policy is that you will still get letters from agents acting like they are ****ed at you for letting mission offers elapse, but you will get no standings hit.
The mechanics for R&D agents do work differently due to their special nature (e.g. standings requirements), but they are not supposed to be different in this respect, and, if they still are, it should be due to an oversight on CCPs part; understandable as I cannot imagine there are many examples of R&D agent mission offers lapsing; and the deleterious effects of any such happening ought to be a good candidate for correct via ticket, and also a bug report.
There is the chance that CCP wont see it this way, since you do actually have a record in your journal of all your active R&D agents, so you would not have the same problem you would with deleting the offers of normal agents, but I think considerations of in game consistency should trump obstinate insistence on individual responsibility.