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There have been several feature requests like this one on transferring reputation onto other SE sites to use as bounties.

The basic argument is sound: I may be knowledgeable on SE topic x, but not on SE topic y. Seeing as I've contributed a lot on site x, giving me an extra incentive that I can use when needing help on site y makes a lot of sense.

The suggestions are all status-declined - if I understand correctly, mainly for the fear of gaming, which is always a clear and present danger. Fair enough.

But how about letting us transfer a very limited amount of rep - for the use as bounty fodder only - say a total of 2% of all points earned? In a very restricted fashion: if you don't have enough points to start the desired bounty, you can fetch the needed rep from one other site, according to your 2% quota on that site.

  • You'd get to transfer 200 bounty points for every 10,000 rep points you earn
  • You'd get to transfer 1000 bounty points for every 50,000 rep points you earn
  • If you never use your transfer quota, nothing will happen.

So for example:

  • You want to start a 300 bounty on Math.SE

  • You only have 158 points there

  • You need 142 points from elsewhere

  • You have 11,539 points on Stack Overflow. According to the 2% rule, that gives you a 231 point transfer quota, so you can "suck" the missing 142 points from your Stack Overflow rep. The 142 points are transferred; your SO transfer quota remaining is 89 points.

  • Your 200 bounty on Math.SE can start.

  • Profit!

No multi-site transfers, and no repetitions - just this. For every 10,000 points you earn somewhere, you get to transfer 200 points elsewhere once.

That would pretty much rule out any chance of abuse, wouldn't it?

This would not only give an additional reward to users; it would also create another incentive to ask questions across the network.

I could use this right now for a complicated WordPress question I'm about to ask.

I'd obviously like the feature to be retroactive, but it could be either way.

Meta Stack Overflow would probably have to be excluded from this.

An earlier version of this suggestion was about a network-wide "bounty purse" that would grow by 2% of all reputation gained anywhere on the network. I guess that would be easier to implement and a nice incentive to participate in other sites, but as @Purmou points out, it defeats the idea of giving something up to get help.

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Would you want this to happen for existing users? Like, would Mr. Skeet get 8000 bounty points? :P –  Purag Feb 26 '12 at 22:52
@Purmou yup, that's the idea. And why not really? I'm sure he'd put it to good use (if he'd use it at all) –  Pëkka Feb 26 '12 at 22:53
I agree, I just thought that should be clarified. Though the purpose of the bounty system is to give up something you've earned to help yourself or somebody else get better help. I think having a "bounty purse" sort of defeats that purpose. –  Purag Feb 26 '12 at 22:54
@Purmou I would argue that a 10k user won't care about 100 points either way, but I changed the suggestion back to its original form, allowing a limited transfer instead of a magically growing "purse". It feels more sound to me after all –  Pëkka Feb 26 '12 at 23:04
This makes more sense, especially for related site (SO, Programmers, SU, etc). I'm convinced. –  Purag Feb 26 '12 at 23:23
Presumably MSO would not be on this reputation ATM network? –  Tim Post Feb 26 '12 at 23:36
@Tim yeah, it will make sense to exclude it. (All other Metas being excluded as well, by their not generating rep in the first place) –  Pëkka Feb 26 '12 at 23:44
not that sure about this brewster's millions proposal, why should we allow all these rich people special rights on a site they never participated in? –  waffles Feb 27 '12 at 0:32
@waffles um, because they participated a lot on some other site? And it's not really like they get a lot for it - just a couple hundred points to use for bounties. That's hardly "special rights", is it? Also, anybody who can gain 10k rep on SO would be able to trivially gain 100 points on any other SE site just by waiting for easy questions and Googling them. It's just not a great way to gain rep for bounties. –  Pëkka Feb 27 '12 at 0:36
If this system is implemented, what does the target SE site lose? A question would theoretically get more attention than it might otherwise. But, since it's coming from an experienced, high-rep user, she probably knows how to ask good questions and avoid duplicates -- it's not much of a risk. ... The SE site gains an increased bonus for perhaps its greatest asset: people who answer questions well. It seems win-win to me. –  Awesome Poodles Feb 27 '12 at 1:45
The only part I don't really care for is the "once" portion. I might have only two LaTeX questions per year, but it'd be nice to be able to blow my SO money^Wreputation over there to some kind TeXer. Otherwise I quite like it. –  sarnold Feb 28 '12 at 3:32

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

No, inter-site rep transfers are never gonna happen.

What, exactly, reputation implies isn't constant across sites in the network. That alone kills this.

Furthermore, when we see nasty behavior around bounties (which is rare, but happens) I'd rather not have to involve multiple sites in figuring it out.

Finally, this is really complicated for not a lot of gain. As it is, with the association bonus* you get up over the 75 min rep for offering bounties; it's already one time, gives you enough rep for the typical 50 (or rarer 100) bounty.

*Which we give for a demonstrated understanding of the Stack Exchange system, which you should have basically mastered by 200 rep.

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Does nasty behavior include transferring reputation between accounts? :) –  Shadow Wizard Feb 27 '12 at 7:12
@ShaDowWizArd - indeed it does. –  Kevin Montrose Feb 27 '12 at 7:15
<smartass>If credits get moved from credit-rich sites to credit-poor sites through this mechanism it will have the effect of equalizing the Parity Purchasing Power of Reputation Points.</smartass> –  sarnold Feb 28 '12 at 3:34

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