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I know this has been attempted many times before:

Here Transfer points between sites, here Should SO rep be considered in SU and SF?, here too Why not merge reputation across SO, SF, and SU?, here Can I use my rep from one site to give a bounty on another, here Allow bounty to be set with reputation from another site?, and here Sharing the reputation among all the Stack Exchange sites, here as well How about a shared reputation? and there are many many more posts about this....

The fact that there are so many posts about it shows that there is a true desire for a transferring reputation from site to site.

The main initiative is that everybody is specializes in something, but might have a difficult questions in a subject that (s)hes not so good in and therefore cannot get sufficient reputation to offer bounty to get his/her question answered.

Well I am in that kind of situation. I've some reputation on SO, but am struggling to have enough reputation on SF and Ask Ubuntu to get some of my tough questions answered.

Many concerns have been posted about the idea of transferring reputation from on site to another:

  • Reputation is a measure of trust and experience: Somebody with a high reputation on SO should be able to have the same in Mathematics (without earning it there).
  • Reputation on one site doesn't have the same value as reputation on another site. This is the issue Shog9 has posted in his comment:

Imagine a site where getting to 10K reputation points requires a near-herculean effort - it's easy if you try - and now imagine that some schmuck like me, with 50K on SO, wanders in, accumulates 200 points, and then starts handing out 500 point bounties left and right. Within a disturbingly short time, I could eclipse the influence of users who've labored to shape that site from day one, with minimal effort. That ain't right.

  • Giving out bounties requires the op to be able to judge who is most worthy of receiving bounty if more than one answer is given.

I think I have come up with an easy solution that fulfills the goal without affecting any of the concerns:

My idea is to setup another "token" lets call it "bounty credit" or just "credit" that has the following rules applied:

  1. Reputation can be converted into credit at a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Credit cannot be converted back into reputation.
  3. Credit cannot be directly transferred from one site to another.
  4. Users can exchange credit with another user from another site at any ratio that both users agree to.
  5. Trading bounties is a privilege that only comes after 200 reputation.
  6. The amount of credit that user has on each site is not made public.
  7. Credit can only be used to post bounties or for exchanging credit with other sites.
  8. Users cannot trade credit with themselves.

A simple trading system can be set up on which users can easily exchange credit with other users, just like on a stock market. The community will thus define how much the credit is worth on each site, simply depending on demand and availability.

Credit on SO will be least valuable, because reputation there is most abundant (means that it probably requires less effort). People exchanging SO credits will be more willing to trade more for less than on other sites. This will make sure that nobody will be able to spend more bounty on another site than (s)he really deserves to. After all the bounty that (s)he spends must have been earned by somebody in the normal way on that same site and somebody will not give it out for nothing.

The extra benefit that comes here is that people harvest their reputation is on the subject that they are best at and not where they have the most pressing question and therefore the time will be best spent.

The fact that nobody can exchange credit without having more than 200 reputation ensures that everybody using this system has at least got some idea on the topic and is thus well able to decide which answer most worthy of a bounty.

Perhaps the exchange should also be taxed at say 10% to prevent some people gaining a lot of credit, just by trading it around.

I think this idea would become very useful to many users, without affecting the ecosystem in any negative way.

What do you think?

share|improve this question
    
Duplicates often mean users are too lazy to search at least once more than it does that there is a true perineum scratching lust and desire for a request –  random Apr 29 '12 at 21:46
    
@random, true but i still means that this particular user wants it. –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 21:48
    
Sorry, that's how downvotes work on Meta. –  Cody Gray Apr 30 '12 at 1:37
    
@TheEstablishment i did look through the faq, but missed the orange box, because it was highlighted... sorry. Feels a bit inhibiting to post any feature requests here then, but ok I can live with it. Soon I will loose the privilege to upvote other features though. –  d_inevitable Apr 30 '12 at 7:44
    
The point is actually a bit larger one: reputation on Meta doesn't matter. It's not a disincentive to post feature requests, it's how feature requests are ranked and how community opinion is judged. –  Cody Gray Apr 30 '12 at 10:28
    
@TheEstablishment yea I understand that. I don't mind loose reputation as long as I don't loose privileges on using votes and creating comments. Thats all. But I'm not feeling to strongly about. Will not post another feature request in the future. –  d_inevitable Apr 30 '12 at 12:23
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plain trading rep is not enough! I want stock options, equities and derivatives. - How is Jon Skeet stock today? - What is the impact of subprime mortgages crisis at Theoretical Physics? –  gnat Apr 30 '12 at 14:22
    
@gnatakaspecialagentMulder LOL, that's where the taxing is comes in. No speculations, no bubble, no crashes. Trading will always be unprofitable and therefore always remain subtle thing in the background. Mortgages would be a totally different feature and I would def. -1 that. Oh wait, I am not allowed. oh well. –  d_inevitable Apr 30 '12 at 15:40

3 Answers 3

The fact that there are so many posts about it shows that there is a true desire for a transferring reputation from site to site.

Yup. Coupled with,

My idea is to setup another "currency" lets call it "bounty credit"

...the mistaken idea that reputation is in any significant way a currency.

Granted, the very existence of a bounty system does go a long way toward encouraging that impression. Hopefully, the severe restrictions placed on it do something to counteract that. Nevertheless...

  • Reputation is not a currency. The reputation system is a token economy.

  • It doesn't "cost" anything to ask a question, or get an answer, on any Stack Exchange site. If you think you have to offer a bounty in order to get an answer to your question, you should probably think about ways of writing a better question instead.

  • Reputation on one site doesn't necessarily mean anything in the context of any other site.

  • Awarding a bounty is simply a way to vouch for another user's expertise, with the deduction from your own reputation serving to both limit the frequency of such things and demand that you have at least some small amount of experience yourself. Think of it as a "super up-vote".

  • Reputation is not a currency. Any attempt to make it into one will be met with severe opposition.

share|improve this answer
    
I put those speechmarks on currency for a reason. I know reputation is not a currency, but couldn't think of a better word, but you've provided one. Will use it now. –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 21:28
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It doesn't matter what you call it - as soon as you enable a way to transfer it, convert it, exchange it... It's a currency. Again, the existence of bounties does muddy things a bit, but there are strict rules in place - if it looks like users are misusing bounties, they may well find them revoked or removed entirely. Enabling any sort of cross-site transfer also opens a huge can of worms in terms of enabling a user on one site to wreck another site's economy. –  Shog9 Apr 29 '12 at 21:42
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Okay you say that reputation should not become any closer to currency than it is already. The fear is that trading bounties across sites could make is so. Which in certain way I think you have got a point. However, what is the subject of the problem? Just naming it "currency" doesn't really state the problem. The point about wrecking another site's economy is prevented with rule #5. –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 23:49
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Not really. Imagine a site where getting to 10K reputation points requires a near-herculean effort - it's easy if you try - and now imagine that some schmuck like me, with 50K on SO, wanders in, accumulates 200 points, and then starts handing out 500 point bounties left and right. Within a disturbingly short time, I could eclipse the influence of users who've labored to shape that site from day one, with minimal effort. That ain't right. And that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to "rep as currency"... Read up on token economies: as soon as counterfeiting shows up, it all goes to hell. –  Shog9 Apr 30 '12 at 3:59
    
the thing is that rep on SO will most likely be the least valuable, as it is most abundant. Meaning you would not be able to exchange that much influence. 500 credit could easily cost you over 10k on SO, on such site that you describe. The trading of it will make sure that exchange rates are truly reflected on the value. –  d_inevitable Apr 30 '12 at 7:40

I started a bounty today on Skeptics, on a question that I really want to know the answer to. The 50 rep bounty may seem quite insignificant, but it did lose me three privileges on the site (create chat rooms, edit community wiki, and ironically set bounties) and it could have been far larger if I could dip into my 20K network rep for it. So, I really do get where you are coming from.

But, I am not a contributing member on Skeptics. Sure, I read through it almost every day, I even edited a question once (I'm that awesome), but I haven't asked or answered a single question, all my reputation on the site is from the 101 association bonus and from edits. That's important because bounties naturally attract people to the question, and I already feel like I cheated a bit here by exploiting the rep from the association bonus, as although I really want the question answered, I also happen to know the OP in real life (Hi Liza ;).

I have absolutely no idea if the question is a good one for the site, heh, I'm not even sure it's on topic, but the bounty will definitely bring some attention to it. No big deal when it's one question, but think about it, with a network wide rep bounty thingy in place I could place bounties on crap questions all over the network, on sites that are about things I have little (if any) idea about. It may sound like a good idea when you think of sites like Programmers, Stack Overflow, and Code Review, but it starts sounding like a very bad idea when you add Biblical Hermeneutics, Poker and Musical Practice and Performance in the mix.

In short, setting bounties is a privilege, it's better to only have it where you earned it.

share|improve this answer
    
I think you have missed the rule number 5. This makes sure some knowledge is required. I think you dont need more than 200, or perhaps set it another number to make sure that the user is knowledgeable enough to post bounties. –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 21:46
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@d_inevitable If you have enough knowledge to reach 200 rep, I think it's reasonable that you can keep on contributing and just get more. This way everyone wins, you have enough rep to set your bounties, and at the same time you've helped the site with your questions and answers. –  Yannis Apr 29 '12 at 21:49
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Not true, ive got like 5 pressing questions on askubuntu.com, but it was a hell lot of work to gain just a mere 157 reputation. I think I can get 43 reputation more, but that will take some time. Hardly enough to to get all my questions answered. I've set out a bounty of 50, on one question, and that did get answered pretty quickly. I've got over 1000 on SO and hardly ever have question to set out there. Why do you think that my questions on askubuntu do not deserve more attention? –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 21:54
    
@d_inevitable I didn't say they don't deserve more attention, I said they don't deserve the feature you're suggesting. I'm sure there are a lot of others with pressing questions on AskUbuntu, answer them, harvest the sweet rep and then place bounties on your questions. Or, if that's outside your expertise, well you can still gain some rep from editing. 25 good edits will give you enough rep for a minimal bounty. –  Yannis Apr 29 '12 at 21:59
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You raise good point... I only have so much time spending on SE sites. I think its much better off on SO than on AskUbuntu. Everybody should harvest the privilegde for bounties where he is best at. –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 22:03

Once upon a time there was a site called experts exchange. They started out offering Q&A for free. Then they started charging. So to get help, to get that knowledge out of people's heads, required cold hard cash.

Jeff and Joel when they started SO did so with the express intention of not being experts exchange.

As you can see, therefore, the idea of trading "credit" or "paying" for help here, on these sites, is pretty much directly opposed with the original reason for starting SO.

I can't comment on the idea of trading reputation between sites, or bountying rep from one site to users on another. Aside from its technical complexity, I've no real opinions either way. But inter-site credit - I don't think that'll happen.

There's another good reason it won't happen - there is already a kind of credit you can offer - money! Simply hire someone with the skillset you need (you may need to persuade Mr Shog above to get careers implemented for your site of choice, but never mind).

share|improve this answer
    
How is this credit related to money? "There's another good reason it won't happen - there is already a kind of credit you can offer - money! Simply hire someone with the skillset you need." This can be equally said about anything else related to SO. –  d_inevitable Apr 29 '12 at 21:31

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