What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 141 Stack Exchange communities.

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?

share|improve this question
6  
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

2 Answers 2

up vote 23 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, Stack Exchange limits the speed with which they gain privileges, forcing them to learn about the Stack Exchange 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.

share|improve this answer
    
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
10  
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
1  
@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
2  
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

@RaghavSood mentioned that You can get away with it a couple of times. A couple of times seems more than enough to give an inexperienced user those privileges.

On a site like Stack Overflow, where there are sometimes over a hundred bounties placed on a single day, it seems inadequate to hope that users will manually figure this out. Especially if the user is smart, and keeps a 2-3 week time gap between bounties.

My suggestion is that there should be an automatic script that detects such bounties, and asks mods/trusted users to verify if they are true.

share|improve this answer
1  
If you gain 500 rep a day you will shoot out in the reputation league. If you see a user that is that weeks top user with only 501 reputation, you know something can be wrong. –  Patrick Hofman Mar 9 at 8:19
    
@PatrickHofman What if you use a series of bounties 200 rep bounties, 1 every week. Then you end up on the second page of that list, and I'm not sure if people will even check the entire first page. –  ghosts_in_the_code Mar 9 at 8:39
    
(I do) Agreed, there is some room for fraud here if you take the time. I expect the serial voting script takes bounties in account too, but I am not sure it does (and no one is going to tell you since the script kept secret). –  Patrick Hofman Mar 9 at 8:54
    
Maybe a smart query can indicate those cases. I tried this one thinking that if the given answer would only be used to be able to get the bounty in the first place it wouldn't be any good, so a low score. –  rene Mar 9 at 8:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .