While I was thinking the whole time, about how I could rephrase my post to avoid misinterpretations, of the referenced comment in context with my, rather rhetorical, questions, serving the purpose of getting different opinions on the topic, as being my point of view, I totally forgot about the simple but effective ability of answering my own question.
Do you think bounties/reputation can/should be seen as a mere instrument for buying answers?
For me, reputation is a mix of four things.
Its happiness you brought to others, yeah, people tend to be happy when you give them something they like and benefit from, also do happy people tend to give more likely, so they give you an upvote and you get some reputation, providing a positive feedback on the effort you put into a post. Plus the bonus that you probably made someone a bit happier.
And if you've helped someone a lot, he's probably a lot happier, and might give you a bounty, because, he thinks you deserve it.
It's also responsibility.
As your reputation is growing, so is your ability to influence the general quality of the sites content, by gaining additional moderation privileges.
Maintaining the quality of such a mass of content is probably hard, so one should help where here can.
Also the trust users are putting into the actions of higher reputation users - (remember the moderation privileges) - increases, as well as the expectations on the quality of their posts.
At least,so it does for me.
Without activity on the site, you probably wouldn't gain much reputation.
As your reputation increases you spend time interacting with the community, learning how things work.
Things like, how to ask a questions, how to write good answers, when to flag,
when to point out to users they shouldn't beg for votes.
And much more.
I'm learning quite a lot of new things about the community everyday, and withit it feels a lot more familiar than it did at the beginning.
For me it's an indicator of what I've learnt so far.
At the beginning I didn't knew how to write answers, neither did I know much about the language I was answering questions in, so it took hours to answer a question I didn't knew the answer to, not to say they weren't the best.
At least, to get reputation, you have to write answers or questions, and you probably won't get worse in something by doing it regularly.
Besides reputation there is also the displayed vote score, which I consider to be another thing than reputation.
Well a downvote doesn't has much impact on the reputation. No one gets hurt by -2 rep.
However, it has a huge influence on the position of an answer, providing, along with visual aspects, an indicator of the quality of an post, its content and correctness.
Where I value the vote score more, than the reputation gained from the votes.
I would rather like to have an answer with 1 upvote and no downvotes than one with 10 upvotes and 15 downvotes, still giving 70 reputation.(And I've seen worse)
Though sometimes it seems it does not really mirror the quality of an post, in which cases probably more users should place downvotes.