I don't find bounties to be very useful on this site. There tends to be two kinds of users, those with thousands of reputation points and those with a few hundred or less. We'll call them the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. Bounties don't really entice the 'haves' because they don't need the rep. And, since most bounties are for a few hundred reputation points, they don't have much of an impact on the have-nots. Furthermore the have-nots are disinclined to offer bounties which would otherwise be a good tool for getting their question more attention.

A possible solution would be to offer some, possibly temporary, moderator capabilities instead of just rep points. But whatever the case, I believe that the bounty system does not work properly. Do others agree and if so what can/should be done about it?

  • 3
    Back when I had low rep I totally would have jumped at a bounty that would double my score. The problem was (and generally is) that I can't actually answer the questions that have bounties, which is probably why they have bounties. :-) (Not me personally, but if they were easy they wouldn't need bounties.) Jun 12 '12 at 18:27

I would be more inclined to offer bounties if the rep didn't go down the drain when the question gets no takers. That's what happened to me on the single bounty I offered (on what I thought was a reasonable question).


The fact that at least 1/2 the bounty will automatically go to someone just for responding, even if the response does not answer the question or address the reason for the bounty at all, bugs me.

This (and the fact that I automatically lose the points, even if I don't get my answer) prevents me from offering bigger size bounties.

Case in point, this question: Looking for more information about a story of positive atheism/heresy

The answer 1/2 the bounty was awarded to was interesting and informative and I upvoted it, but it does not answer the question, or the reason for the bounty. When I made the bounty, I specifically wrote that I'm looking for a source for the story (I still am), which I didn't get.

  • I suppose you could post a nonsense answer, award yourself the bounty, and delete the answer. It's gaming the system, but it works (for now, until they do something to close the loophole :-)).
    – msh210 Mod
    Jun 13 '12 at 16:59
  • @msh210 Are you sure you're able to award yourself the bounty?
    – Double AA Mod
    Jun 13 '12 at 17:03
  • @DoubleAA, pretty sure. Of course, you don't gain the points.
    – msh210 Mod
    Jun 13 '12 at 17:05

There is already two bronze badges, one for "First bounty you offered on another person's question" and the other for "First bounty you manually awarded on another person's question". Perhaps there should be a silver badge for manually awarding n points (total) on other people's questions (and perhaps a gold one, for a larger value of n).


Maybe the more Rep points someone has, the more it should cost them to offer a bounty, but that shouldn't change the value of the bounty for the earner.

  • 4
    This discourages bounties, but I don't see how it fixes them. Jun 12 '12 at 18:31
  • @MonicaCellio the playing field is leveled- now bounties are advantageous to nobody! Jun 13 '12 at 6:05
  • Which helps whom, exactly? Jun 13 '12 at 14:35

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