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This scheme has probably been cooked up before but I wonder if there's something in place to stop it. The idea is to get "free" attention with the following scheme:

  1. set up two user accounts, say A and B
  2. build up at least 100 rep in account A (ok, this step will deter most people from doing this)
  3. ask 100-rep bounty question with A
  4. switch to B and write up a mediocre but reasonably sound answer, and award bounty to B.
  5. now, use B to ask another 100-rep bounty question, and award to A.
  6. repeat from #3

It would look suspicious if done repeatedly, so other dummy accounts could be set up too.

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3  
Yeah, I'm pretty sure people passing bounties back and forth between each other would be shot down very quickly. That's not something that can be done in secret and anonymously like voting either, since the whole point of a bounty is to draw attention. –  lunboks Apr 10 '12 at 23:41
    
@HeitorChang flag it if you found any suspecious on any question/answer and then moderator will take care of it. And the case you are are indicating is also not a good example –  Ankit Sharma Apr 11 '12 at 11:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is more of a note, but won't really fit as a comment.

There is one (IMO legitimate) use of bounty-passing. Well, not really passing back and forth, but somewhat like this was done on this question.

Basically, you get another user to "store" the bounty and transfer it when a better answer is posted. You don't keep attaching the bounty to the same question (that's attention-mongering)--instead you just sit on the rep till a good answer comes along.

Note that the answer used to "store" the bounty on that question is technically correct(i think).

I think this is legitimate, especially on smaller/specialized sites where 7 days isn't enough time for someone good to come along.

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In this case specifically, it'd be nice if the "exemplary answer" bounty reason would allow one to assign a bounty immediately -- there's no point in leaving the bounty "open" for two days. But I've only wanted that once or twice before, so maybe it's a corner-case enough to not worry. –  sarnold Apr 11 '12 at 23:49

You're forgetting one thing... It costs B 100 rep to award a 100 rep bounty to A, and vice versa.

So you still have to earn the rep, anyway. It's a zero-sum game. In your scenario, all you're doing is just passing the 100 rep back and forth between the two user accounts.

If the user is just doing this to gain attention for his questions for free, flag for moderator attention, and we'll take care of it.

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But they'd get more attention on their questions that they likely want answered, and more upvotes because of it. –  lunboks Apr 10 '12 at 23:45
7  
That kind of abuse is easy to detect, and it's a suspendable offense. –  Robert Harvey Apr 10 '12 at 23:47
    
Yes, I realize you have to earn the rep, but if you never got caught, you could ask multiple bounty questions for no additional work of earning more rep. I did forget it's slow, as you need to wait 2 days to start a bounty. –  Heitor Chang Apr 10 '12 at 23:49
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It's highly-visible abuse, and someone will catch it. As you correctly point out, there's some rate-limitations built in. –  Robert Harvey Apr 10 '12 at 23:50
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Yeah, it's starting to look to me like it's more trouble than it's worth to get away with this. A big warning would be the substandard (bogus) answer receiving the bounty. Others could flag that. –  Heitor Chang Apr 10 '12 at 23:53
    
@lunboks: That scenario is already taken care of: Abusing bounties for unlimited profit –  Josh Caswell Apr 11 '12 at 0:03

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