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Similar to "How about making it possible to set up bounty on someone else’s question?", but a little less extreme..

Basically, you could "top up" the points of another users bounty (up to the current maximum, 500)

Say a question has a bounty of 100 points, I could contribute up to 400 of my points towards it it. When the bounty is resolved, 100 points would be deducted from the original user (well, 50), and 400 from me.

More than one user could contribute (again, up to the maximum limit)

If the question already has a 500 point bounty, this feature wouldn't apply. Also as cletus suggested, you should not be able to add to the bounty within maybe two days of the bounty closing.

Updated Suggestion: Acknowledging the inherent complexity, what if, when offering a second bounty, the user immediately agrees to forfeit control of who the bounty is given to <-- the original user to offer a bounty does so, and further, the bounty expiration remains unchanged. This would help lower rep users. They might not be able to offer the astronomical +500 rep bonuses that the 10k crowd can. These +500's certainly attract more views than the +50s. Presumably, the 10K users also already have the ear of the Stack Exchange Gods and need not beg so arduously for a feature on Meta, or have the visibility on [so] that their questions are answered quite quickly. Right now, if they forfeited too much rep it would relegate them to maybe barely being able to talk in chat. They might lose: 'create tags', 'retag questions', 'view close votes', 'reduce ads', 'vote down', 'create chat rooms', 'edit community wiki', and 'set bounties'. While none of these are huge, it also makes that hope of someday getting to 10k appear infinitely further off in the future...

As an example, this proposal is reasonable, maybe not stellar, but reasonable, so a low-rep user could offer a larger bounty in the hopes of getting on the "someday-we'll-implement-this-when-Jeff-gives-us-Friday-off" list.

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If I was able to increase the bounty on my own question, and a lot of people up voted the question, I may choose to increase the bounty. –  Ian Ringrose Aug 25 '09 at 17:39
    
plz2implementkthxbye –  LiraNuna Oct 4 '09 at 2:20
    
Should I start bounty on it? I can do it on June 13. –  nicael Jun 9 at 17:31

3 Answers 3

Variations upon this theme have been suggested before. My usual concern is the added complexity of things like adding bounties to other people's questions and who chooses the answer or potential hijacking issues.

But this proposal is far more limited and thus far less complicated. You should probably limit it by saying you can't top up a bounty within, say, 2 days of it expiring and point out that the winner is still selected by the OP. Other than that, I see no real problem with this.

One issue worth discussing however is should this extend the deadline for the bounty? I'm thinking not but maybe there is an argument for doing so.

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Maybe there should be some Poker-like rule. (The game not a poking-tool), because if a second person is really interested in a certain question than this question might be important enough to have the bounty around for a little more. But on the other hand, the time should have an upper bound, some converging geometric progression maybe. –  Don Johe Jul 21 '09 at 11:53
    
It's plain game theory. But I don't want an overcomplicated system to work with. –  kd304 Jul 21 '09 at 12:16

Interesting idea, though I'm pretty sure it's been proposed in various forms multiple times. Would you be comfortable with someone else (the original asker) deciding who gets the lump sum? What happens to the bounty timer? Is it reset? For some reason I think that anyone wants to and is capable of answering a 500-point bounty will also answer a 50-point bounty.

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IMHO, 'who gets the right to accept' is unnecessary - do you want your question get answered, or do you want power over others? –  kd304 Jul 21 '09 at 12:18
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I agree, particularly with your last point. I wonder if we can extract any meaningful information from the data dump concerning activity on bounties, say, 100 vs. 500 point bounties. I'd wager activity is pretty flat over all bounties, given they all have the same timeline. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 21 '09 at 12:21
    
It has been discussed multiple times, I simply chose to edit this one as it's closest to what I wanted to propose and the others tend to here as well. –  M. Tibbits Jul 8 '11 at 4:36
    
Well, you may look for for somebody painting your house for $50 during ages. This does not mean nobody would do for $500. –  Audrius Meškauskas Jan 30 '13 at 13:22

The more I think about the scenarios, the more I find ways of exploit it for questionable purposes.

For example, a community driven rep-aggregator person. You start to offer bounties around, and the same person would around 50% receive it (time-random). As there is no rep cap for bounties now, the person could, in theory, beat the big guys in couple of days or weeks.

Don't get me wrong, I support reputation transfer (e.g offering bounty), but with proper constraints.

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If the maximum bounty is 500 rep, additional contributing users forfeit the right to steer the bounty, and the expiration time remains fixed, do these address your concerns? –  M. Tibbits Jul 8 '11 at 4:35

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