I like the bounty system -- I think it's a great motivator and an enjoyable, if intangible, method of showing/receiving appreciation.
However, as a new user, I find it difficult (if not impossible) to participate.
In the first place, as a just-starting-out coder with little to offer by way of solutions, I nevertheless ask quite a few questions. There is an inverse relationship there that perhaps deserves further exploration and integration into how SO rewards work.
For new users it is easy and rewarding to ask questions, but I find myself handicapped and even penalized when it comes to expressing appreciation. For example, one cannot really reward two correct answers -- even if they each answer a different part of the question and the correct answer is comprised of both answers. As a solution, there is the bounty system -- but access begins at 75 rep and the lowest reward possible is 50 rep.
At the moment I have 86 rep and, morally, I owe two such bounties. I am holding off on paying the first until I can remain above 75 rep... but now I owe a second. Of course, strictly speaking I don't really owe anything; it is only my sense of decency to which I am beholden. However, these fellows (thecodeparadox in particular) really put some work into their answers and they deserve acknowledgement.
Not yet having much to offer in the realm of providing answers, my rep is growing at a glacial pace. Is this fair to those answering my questions?
What would you more experienced members say about providing some system for low-rep users to reward helpful responders? What would you think of something like this:
- a one-time bounty-purse (or access to a common bounty purse)
- not displayed to other users (as rep points, etc)
- the reward can be requested (rarely granted) or requested by a senior member
- awarded at mod discretion
- in order to compensate for the extra workload, mods receive a rep bonus for awarding such a purse, but a double-deduction if the purse must be rescinded
- awarded only to qualified low-rep users who display clear-thinking and erudition in their questions
- specifically to be used to reward 2nd answers and above-and-beyond answers
- subject to the oversight of the mod who awarded the bounty purse
- and able to be cancelled, with points granted rescinded, by the overseeing mod
Necessarily, such a purse would be a somewhat rare award, but many of the badges on the SE network are difficult to attain.
ALTERNATELY, could there be created a common "bounty-purse" along with a method of petitioning a moderator to award a special bounty to a specific user, specifying the question under review along with the answer? The answerer would be notified that he is being reviewed for such a reward, which, in itself, is a reward -- all rewards on SO are intangible after all -- and perhaps this nomination can be added as a statistic...
What think ye?