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This is going to sound like #firstworldproblems, but hear me out.

I'm a mod on a beta site, and I'm close to the 10k mark there. While I appreciate the recognition of my contributions, I am thinking it must be good for something else than just bragging rights. Since I'm already a moderator (and I think it's likely I will remain being one), the points don't really mean anything to me. But I know from my use of other SE sites that rep is precious when you've got little.

Sex Rep is like air, it's not important unless you're not getting any.

When I had a few thousand rep points, I began being very generous with bounties on others' questions, but it turns out that doling out bounties is rather a lot of work (review each answer to decide which one gets the reward) for the relatively small amount of rep that I "get rid of" so now I only give bounties for really worthwhile Q&A's.

Besides bounties, isn't there another way to put my excess rep to any good use?

Guess which line in this graph I am referring to? Guess which line in this graph I am referring to? The jagged part of it is where I generously handed out bounties.

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10k points lets you downvote 10,000 answers.... (although on a serious note, all I can think of is what you've already done; find questions which need some attention, and add a bounty to them). –  Matt Jan 9 '12 at 15:16
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Giving back to the community! If only Carlos Slim thought like you... –  Gabe Jan 9 '12 at 15:20
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I would suggest you to keep your reputation.. while it has no "real" use for moderator it draw more respect from people - seeing moderator with 100 rep is odd and will raise questions and speculations like "what have he done to deserve so little reputation"? –  Shadow Wizard Jan 9 '12 at 15:25
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With zero unanswered questions on your site I can see why it's hard to find questions to bounty. Definitely a nice problem to have. Nice work on Parenting, to you and the community there. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 9 '12 at 15:32
    
Thank you @BilltheLizard. The site has grown in a pace that's easy to keep up with. Having more new questions come in than I can handle would be an even nicer problem to have :-) Also, given the scarcity of questions, it's tiresome to have to wait for each one to become two days old before becoming eligible for a bounty. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 9 '12 at 16:02
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Get another 190k and redeem it for a painting of unicorns. –  Gilles Jan 9 '12 at 17:56
    
If/when your site launches, 10k would then be viewed as the bare minimum rep a mod should have. It wouldn't look good to see a mod that, barring mod privileges, lacks abilities that non-mods have. I'm with Shadow Wizard. Just keep it. I have a feeling you should be able to find good uses in time. –  John Jan 10 '12 at 0:35
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Sell the account on eBay and start a new one...do that again for even more money! –  Time Traveling Bobby Jan 10 '12 at 8:32
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5 Answers

You mentioned that giving out bounties is a troublesome task and requires too much effort. To my knowledge the only way to use your rep (besides downvoting answers which wouldn't be a smart way to go about getting rid of 10k rep) is indeed the bounties.

So my solution for you is to: Let the community do the work for you. Find good questions, put bounties on them. You're done. The community will automagically select the nicest answer for you, and then the bounty will be automatically rewarded to the best answer. So you'll be saving some time, except you won't get to hand pick who gets the bounty.

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I still had an old memory of the times when only half the bounty was given if you let it time out, so this is actually very good advice! More power to the community, the way it's meant to be. And I still get to overrule if I like one specific answer better, before the bounty timer runs out. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 9 '12 at 15:46
    
Oh wait! That half-bounty rule still applies: If you do not award the bounty during the period, half the reward will be automatically be awarded to the top voted answer posted after the bounty start provided it has a score of at least 2. While I do want to give back my rep, just throwing half of it into /dev/null doesn't seem smart. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 9 '12 at 16:15
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun WHATT? thats a stupid rule... Well if you have an outrageous amount of rep this probably won't be a big deal but half of the bounty getting cut off just sucks... –  Gabe Jan 9 '12 at 16:18
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You can still just manually award the rep to the highest voted answer before the bounty expires... –  The Unhandled Exception Jan 9 '12 at 17:50
    
@TheUnhandledException key word Manually –  Gabe Jan 9 '12 at 18:01
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Yes, but it saves him the "review each answer to decide which one gets the reward" part. 1. Sort by votes 2. Award bounty to the first answer 3. Profit! (for the person who posted that answer, anyway!) –  The Unhandled Exception Jan 9 '12 at 18:02
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@the see parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/greatest-hits and my answer below; that's what the 'greatest hits' route is for! –  Jeff Atwood Jan 9 '12 at 23:41
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There isn't excess reputation. It can seem so to you because you are a moderator, and you have more privileges than 20k users, even without having a reputation of 20000; you have the privileges that would normally require you having a minimum reputation.

Consider that the site is still in beta phase, which also means the moderators are still the appointed ones; when there are the elections, the moderators will be elected, and it could be the new moderators are not the same as now. Considering that there aren't much users close to be a 10k user, just two users are 5k user, and only one user is close to be a 5k user, what would happen if you are not elected moderator? What would happen if you don't have anymore the time to be a moderator?

While I see the bounties a good way to incentive answers to questions that really need one, I would say that none of your reputation is an excess.

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Reputation points are to be compared to grades, not to money. Their purpose is to signal the community how trustful and experienced you are. If they were tradable, they would not have served that purpose. So a significant giveaway is not up for discussion.

What can you do? Since your reputation is so high among your community, you might consider expanding your involvement in this community into new aspects such as blogging, writing a book, or even getting politically involved for your cause.

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I'm not sure you're 100% correct with "grades, not money." If that were truly the case, then I should not be able to spend rep on bounties either, right? Also, the badges remain with me even when I spend the rep, and my 67 badges (15 non-bronze) act like good grade indicators too. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 9 '12 at 19:14
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You are not supposed to give away your reputation. Reputation is an indicator, or a score - it gives information about your activity in this site. In the same way, Mount Everest cannot give away meters - its 8,848 meters are an indicator of its height, not something designed to be spent.

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Bounties on popular questions that represent your site, but need improvement, are a fantastic way to "spend" some of your extra rep, if you are so inclined/

For example on Parenting, that would be

http://parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/greatest-hits

If any of those appeal to you, don't hesitate to place a bounty on them with a description of what you think that question, and its answers, need to be outstanding -- among the best of the resources on the Internet.

For more background on this feature, see

How can we utilize the "Greatest hits" list for our sites?

I've done this on Stack Overflow questions that were popular, but IMHO needed improvement, and seen amazing results with bounties in those cases.

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This looks like a very smart approach! I didn't find that Greatest Hits page by traversing the pages though, is that correct? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 10 '12 at 7:44
    
This is a great idea Jeff! –  The Unhandled Exception Jan 10 '12 at 12:30
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