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Why is it a privilege to set bounties? I think that everybody who has a minimum of 51 reputation (because that is the minimal value of bounty), should have the ability to set bounties. It's that user's decision - his reputation, his bounty.

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My guess is that so after setting a bounty, you could still have some rep left over. – Rocket Hazmat Oct 17 '13 at 18:37
You can't go below 0, so the minimum rep would be 51, not 50. And I think a privilege at 51 looks silly given the fact that every other milestone is at a rep level that is divisible by 5, and most beyond the initial set are divisible by 25 or 100. – psubsee2003 Oct 17 '13 at 18:37
I just wanted to mention that a user with 101 rep could still post a 100 rep bounty, putting them back down to 1 rep, so it's not like you can be sure users can't bounty themselves to less than 25 rep. (Easily verifiable on an account with just an association bonus.) – Servy Oct 17 '13 at 18:38
@RocketHazmat But that assertion isn't made. See my previous post. You can actually bounty yourself down to 1, just never with a 50 rep bounty. – Servy Oct 17 '13 at 18:38
@Servy: Ok, you're right :) – Rocket Hazmat Oct 17 '13 at 18:39
ah, the magic of no trail of deleted comments :-) – Jan Dvorak Oct 17 '13 at 18:41
And to correct myself earlier since I missed the 5 minute edit window, you can't go below 1 rep. – psubsee2003 Oct 17 '13 at 18:45
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Bounty is more than just paying reputation to gain attention.

For one, there is good chance the attention will bring you not only the help you seek but also more upvotes (assuming that's your question, or you set bounty on question you answered) many times 50 rep bounty would give you more than 50 rep in return, hence bounty might be a way to gain reputation.

Also, you can give bounty as a prize to answer you deem extremely good or helpful: such prize could have been called "super vote" and in my opinion this alone is a major privilege.

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We need users to understand more about the site and how to be a good community member before we give them the option of offering bounties. It's a matter of trust, just like any other ability on the site.

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Indeed. A set bounty disables some of the powers of the community to moderate a question, so it should require some trust. – dmckee Oct 18 '13 at 15:01

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