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Let's say, hypothetically, that I have a friend X who might require reputation.

Could I award him a bounty of 500 for answering one of my seemingly legitimate questions? Even if he has 1 reputation?

Does that trigger some kind of script?

Is it against the rules?

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5  
You could probably get away with one or two before somebody will notice. And no, using bounties to "transfer" rep is not allowed. –  Mysticial Mar 2 '13 at 18:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Reputation is meant to be earned, not given. So if you're knowingly posting a question, having a friend answer it, and giving him a bounty to give him a boost on his new account, I believe this to be against the rules. You might get away with a couple of times, but soon enough someone will notice.

By making a user earn reputation, StackOverflow limits the speed with which they gain privileges, forcing them to learn about the StackOverflow Q&A model and how it differs from traditional forums.

Giving a user a direct 500 rep boost will grant them more than half of all privileges almost instantly. Such a user will then be able to comment, retag questions, flag, vote up and down, create chat rooms, set bounties, edit Community Wiki posts, and close their own questions, without really having learnt what each of these means and what the consequences are.

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I agree, but I just looked at the top reputation chart of this month and you can clearly see a user that only answered 1 question and gained 500 reputation for receiving a bounty with a 3 day old account. So it does happen. Although in this case it SEEMS a legitimate answer. –  Edward van Raak Mar 2 '13 at 19:01
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Correct: this is a suspendable offense assuming we find evidence that bounties are being abused for the transfer of reputation. If it's a new user who happens to know enough to be able to answer a question and win a bounty, but it is legitimate, it's OK. If it's a sock puppet receiving a bounty for the sole purpose of getting a large reputation/privilege boost, it's not OK. We have tools for determining each case. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 2 '13 at 19:01
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@EdwardvanRaak If you believe the bounty was awarded to the user unfairly, you can flag the answer and inform a moderator of this via the Other option. They will look into it –  Raghav Sood Mar 2 '13 at 19:04
    
@Edward, it could also be a user who created their own "spare" account, not willing to give the bounty to someone else, or after having found the answer to their question themselves... –  Arjan Mar 2 '13 at 19:36
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Ah, @Edward, but the user who offered that bounty is now at 261 rep himself. If he gave his friend more rep than he has left himself, then surely it was not something that was planned. –  Arjan Mar 2 '13 at 19:48

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