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Change the bounty upper limit to 50k, because 500 seems outdated and cheap. If a newbie gets a good answer in, more power to them.

Think of it like Jeopardy. Remember about the turn of the century when the rules changed and you could win longer than one week. It was a good change. All time Jeopardy champion
Think of it like The $25000 Pyramid. I remember seeing reruns in black and white when it was like $5k. It was a good change.

There are plenty of users with more than 50k. I looked at a bunch of profiles yesterday with a serious amount of bounty. I would spend every night for a couple months or longer on a 50k solution.

Community benefit: Large open source projects could really get some good exposure with a 50k bounty.

500 I'm asking for 3000 on one question right now. I have the answer working and won't share it till I get 3k for it. Don't think me bad. I'm still participating; it's just on one question that the community and blogs can't answer yet.

Maybe if this gets to -100 I'll take it down.

As for my bounty score, I have four stars at asp.net which I made in three months four years ago – exactly halfway to five stars. I'm no stranger to how these boards work and how search engines love linkbacks. One of these days I'll start blogging on my website and link answers back to my website just to get a few more up clicks.

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How many people would use this power, though? Looking through the featured questions tab, quite a few (probably more than any other bounty value, but I'm too lazy to count) are +50, and only three are +500. –  icktoofay Aug 25 '13 at 20:22
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How many people even have 50k rep to give out, and why on Earth would they give it out? How is one answer ever worth that much? –  animuson Aug 25 '13 at 20:26
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It took you 5 months to gain 61 rep. It is going to take you 7 years before you put a 1000 bounty on your question. Good luck with it. –  Uphill Luge Aug 25 '13 at 20:27
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50k bounties would completely blow away what little actual use rep has (i.e. a measure of trust). –  Mat Aug 25 '13 at 20:36
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Btw, given these two rapid feature-requests of yours, and your relatively limited participation, perhaps you might find this of value. –  Bart Aug 25 '13 at 20:39
    
I like that link @bart I feel sorry for the person that posted the original question though. Computer geeks shouldn't feel rejection from their peers and colleagues. –  danny117 Aug 26 '13 at 0:07
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"Once again I'll give working example from my app for 3000 in bounty. Currently you'll have to give me full bounty on six questions to do this. Then I'll provide the answer. This is just how I'm doing bounty on impossible questions" ... REALLY? That is pretty damn poor sportsmanship if anything, and not how this site works. P.s. you can't take this down. It has upvoted answers, making deletion by you impossible. –  Bart Aug 26 '13 at 1:40
    
@Bart: That is the second such comment he has posted. Flagging them. –  dmckee Aug 26 '13 at 2:20
    
@dmckee way ahead of you. If anything, it shows a great lack of understanding of how the bounty system works and, even more so, of how the site works. And on top of that, it's simply not a sustainable attitude. –  Bart Aug 26 '13 at 2:31
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I'm no stranger to how these boards work and how search engines love link backs. One of these days I'll start blogging on my website and link answers back to my website just to get a few more up clicks a) Links in StackOverflow posts are converted to be nofollow, so they don't help with search engine ranking. b) Posting links to your own website should be done only sparingly, when it makes sense given the question. Doing so repeatedly for the sake of promoting your site is against the Terms of Service. –  David Robinson Aug 26 '13 at 2:57
    
Jackpot! You just hit the 25k dollar pyramid!! Play again? –  brasofilo Aug 26 '13 at 3:41
    
I did some research and it was 100k over the years. –  danny117 Aug 26 '13 at 20:03

4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Look at the data.

By far, 50-reputation bounties are the most common. If my query's correct, currently there have only been 1,726 500-reputation bounties (vs. 58,847 50-reputation bounties). If the limit were increased, would it be used? The data suggest that such an occasion would be rare.

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Bounties aren't meant to transfer great amounts of rep. They are intended to simply attract attention to a question. They are also not meant to get away with very broad questions. That is, you can't just pay your way out of a poor question with the excuse that you're "offering quite the amount of rep for it".

Awarding great amounts of rep has some undesirable side-effects. Your 50k limit for example, could theoretically grant a user with all the site's privileges in one shot. Not only does that seem unfair to some who have had to work pretty hard for that, it also potentially provides users with tools for which they might not have the actual experience. And while rep is only a rough measure of how much the community trusts you, your proposal could completely destroy that notion.

Just start out with a small bounty. And if that is not enough, award bounties again until you've reached the maximum, should your question require all that much attention. If it does however, you might want to rethink the question you're asking.

The only exception to the "attracting attention" principle is the awarding of reputation to an already existing, excellent answer. But I'd say that 500 rep for those would already be quite a significant amount, and I see no reason to increase that .

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if you take into account that one can put as many bounties as they wish sequentially into "awarding of reputation to an... excellent answer" (thus also increasing exposure of such an excellent answer), then one can even argue that amount of rep transfer isn't limited at all, really –  gnat Aug 25 '13 at 21:11
    
@gnat "as many bounties as they wish"? I don't think that's the case. Each successive bounty would have to be double the previous bounty. Up to a maximum of 500. Or is there an exception for excellent answers? –  Bart Aug 25 '13 at 21:15
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No exception. I am talking of 500-rep bounties in a sequence, 500, 500, 500... etc. Hundred of such bounties will sum up to 50K rep –  gnat Aug 25 '13 at 21:18
    
@gnat I don't think that is allowed. That would violate the principle that bounties have to be the double of a previously awarded bounty. –  Bart Aug 25 '13 at 21:22
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Ah no @gnat, you're right. "you can still offer more bounties for 500 (the maximum amount) as long as you like (or as long as you have the rep)." Ha, never knew. Thanks. –  Bart Aug 25 '13 at 21:25
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I am sure right because I did just that. Probably, the only thing I don't know about bounties is Why bounty dropdown sometimes defaults at value larger than minimum allowed? :) –  gnat Aug 25 '13 at 21:54
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Haha, can't help you out there @gnat. No freaking clue. –  Bart Aug 25 '13 at 21:54

there are only 400 users having reputation more than 50k. Awarding 500 bounty is enough to motivate or say thanks to someone.

On 200 average for daily reputation it takes 250 days to earn 50k reputation. No one want to give away for one question.

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If you want the bounty limit increased, why 50K? Why not 1K, 2K, 5K, 10K, etc.? Why such a higher number? 50K seems excessively high. There are some SE sites where no users have that much reputation (and even on SO there aren't all that many) and I agree with the comments that there probably aren't any answers worth that much anyway, nor is there really a need for a higher maximum bounty.

If someone feels an answer is especially good, they already have several avenues for rewarding it: upvotes, bounties, accepting, etc. Furthermore, the same user can award multiple bounties to an answer, so it's already possible for someone to award you more than 500 reputation through bounties. Furthermore, multiple people can award bounties on the same answer, so if the community feels that an answer really deserves more than 500, multiple users can award it bounties. This already gives multiple avenues for an exceptional answer to be awarded more than one bounty's worth of reputation.

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A single person can also award multiple bounties to the same answer. –  minitech Aug 25 '13 at 22:00
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@minitech Thanks for pointing that out. The SE site I'm most active on doesn't see many bounties, so it comes up infrequently enough that I was unaware of that. –  John Bensin Aug 26 '13 at 3:07
    
I like the other answer better the data suggests it would rarely be used. However it would be available for philanthropic activity creating needed open source packages. –  danny117 Aug 26 '13 at 19:59
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@danny117 I think you're assuming that reputation on SO is worth much more to the average person than it really is. I imagine that open source projects that need support would much rather receive funding, volunteers, and resources in exchange for their services instead of points on a website. –  John Bensin Aug 26 '13 at 20:33

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