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I have decided that my experience on SO would be better had I no reputation (but could keep the privileges I acquired). I would like to give away four large bounties of 500 rep, which I would do periodically to shed reputation.

Do you think this is a good idea? Any questions to suggest? I would be looking for simple problems with difficult answers.

EDIT: I feel this way because by competitive nature, rep sometimes influences the way I answer questions (hurrying to be the first answer then editing, answering questions I am not really interested in, going for easy answers, having beginner users assume some level of competencey due to rep, etc.). If I take away the fact that I have reputation, my involvement will be purely for the sake of collaboration, and not for any other motive, however implicit they may be. Kind of like the zen of SO.

Losing privileges does not really matter, I will regain them in time, if desired.

EDIT2: I've heard two good suggestions: using community wiki for my answers, and masking the rep scores with greasemonkey.

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Why do you feel your experience on SO would be better with little/no reputation? – one.beat.consumer Dec 20 '11 at 0:43
Meta is not a place to ask for links to specific SO questions. It's entirely your decision anyway, but we're not going to search out questions for you. – darvids0n Dec 20 '11 at 0:53
@darvids0n: Did you post a comment on the wrong question? I have no idea what that's supposed to mean or who it's directed at. – Wesley Murch Dec 20 '11 at 0:56
@Madmartigan: No, the OP asks Any questions to suggest? I would be looking for simple problems with difficult answers. and I was informing him that question isn't on-topic on Meta. – darvids0n Dec 20 '11 at 0:57
For those who feel that suggestions are off-topic, the please focus on the idea itself. – Benjamin Dec 20 '11 at 1:01
@darvids0n: I see, my mistake. – Wesley Murch Dec 20 '11 at 1:05
Are you sure this will work? Won't you be influenced in the same way by the fact that getting more reputation can make you give away more bounties? I think the results will be the same, even if you trade your reputation for a bounty karma boost. – Kapep Dec 20 '11 at 1:18
@kapep, rep. ++ is remedied by answering w/ wiki only, which I usually do myself. The only truly useful rep. level is writing comments imo :) – bestsss Dec 21 '11 at 1:12
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It seems to me that the issue you are having is with the concept of reputation and it's competative nature on this site, rather than the quantity you do or don't have. From that point of view, it would seem to me that the best thing for you would be for no one to have reputation.

Once you reach the conclusion that reputation in general is making the site less pleasing for you than it could otherwise be, the next logical step is to try and simply remove it from the pages. A greasemoneky (or similar) client side script or browser extension that simply removes reputation indicators (or at least most of them) should be fairly easy to write.

In fact, even just a client-size CSS script would work, since it seems that the rep score is pretty easy to grab with a CSS selector. Something like this: (note: not tested at all)

.reputation-score {display: none}

The beauty of this is that if you ever have a change of heart later, you can always show the scores again, and you don't lose any privileges at all. It also doesn't affect any of the other users of the system, and still allows all of the system's features and mechanics to work normally.

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Yes, I think this is what I am getting at. Thanks, I will try it. – Benjamin Dec 20 '11 at 21:26
A quick test in the Chrome inspector shows that the CSS change does hide rep score on most pages, with profile pages being one exception. – cdeszaq Dec 20 '11 at 21:27

Starting bounties just to "shed rep" is of course not what the bounty system is for.

Abusing the bounty system (or any feature) harms and goes against the spirit of the site.

If you can find questions that honestly deserve or need a bounty to answer them, then by all means - go for it, but dredging up activity on random questions just because you're bored or sick of looking at your reputation score is not going to help anyone.

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Of course. I am not looking for random questions. I want to make a donation to a good cause. – Benjamin Dec 20 '11 at 1:03
Then what is it you're asking? – Wesley Murch Dec 20 '11 at 1:04
Is it a good idea? – Benjamin Dec 20 '11 at 1:05
Bounties can be useful, but your motives are all wrong. Perhaps you should spend some rep-earning time instead writing a greasemonkey script that hides rep. – Wesley Murch Dec 20 '11 at 1:06
My motive is give rep up for a good answer to a good, hard question. – Benjamin Dec 20 '11 at 1:08

It's not a good idea to "dump" reputation on bounties for a number of reasons. For example:

  1. I'm almost certain that you can't keep privileges without the necessary reputation. In other words, if you give away all of your reputation through bounties, you will lose all of the privileges associated with that reputation as well.
  2. Starting multiple high-rep bounties simultaneously could dilute the focus of the bounties. If you really want to give questions more exposure, don't you think that it would be more effective to do so one question at a time?
  3. I'm not aware of any conclusive evidence that a 500-rep bounty is any more effective at garnering answers than, say, a 100-rep bounty. In terms of giving questions more exposure, I think that it would be better to place twenty 100-rep bounties (over the course of a few months) than four 500-rep bounties in two weeks.

Regardless of your reasons for doing so, remember that the decision to award a bounty is yours and yours alone. Place bounties on the questions that you personally feel deserve more attention, rather than asking the community to put it to a vote.

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I agree that one question at the time would be better. – Benjamin Dec 20 '11 at 1:17
Yes, you do indeed lose privileges if your rep dips below the threshold at which they're granted. I tested this when I crossed 10k by doing a little downvoting. The privileges I had just gained were removed. @Benjamin – Josh Caswell Dec 20 '11 at 1:26
Plus, do we want low rep users jumping in increments of 500 quickly? I think .. no. – Tim Post Dec 20 '11 at 20:36
@Tim, rep. trading is an option, stackexchange has unhealthy, always inflating rep. economy. only wiki answer help that but it's too minor. – bestsss Dec 21 '11 at 1:15

You'll always be competitive; it's human nature.

Just remember that reputation shouldn't be your way of measuring your knowledge. Only you know your capabilities. Don't let an online community dictate that for you.

We all instinctively go for easy answers, and we always think we're going to be praised by users with less reputation, but that's all in our nature. Though, I think Stack Exchange does a good job of keeping their users in shape, even despite these selfish thoughts.

And even if you're answering questions out of your own desire to be praised, you're still answering questions, aren't you? Reputation may be a very selfish concept, but it also motivates us to do what we do on this site—help fellow programmers.

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