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I am surprised no one has thought of this before.

When you choose an answer as the best, why not also have an option to tip the answerer if they were particularly helpful? In other words, you would 'donate' reputation to them. I have wished this existed on a couple of occaisions. I think it would be a great way to thank helpful people - we do this in a restaurant, why not online?

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What is that supposed to mean? –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 22 '10 at 8:18
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We don't tip in Australia. We pay people a real wage. –  random Jan 22 '10 at 9:18
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"we do this in a restaurant".. Depends on where you're from. If you try to tip a waiter here in Italy they will look really surprised and ask you why you're giving them money. I believe the only country where tipping is customary is the United States.. Anyways, I don't think it's a good idea as some people would probably start to always expect tips (as it happened in US restaurants =p) –  Andreas Bonini Jan 22 '10 at 10:53
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Tipping is expected in Canada as well as the US. We left tips in restaurants when we travelled to England, Scotland, and France as well, and nobody looked at us funny there. –  Graeme Perrow Jan 22 '10 at 12:52
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@Graeme - in France, I wouldn't risk being served again by a waiter I wouldn't have tipped the previous time... –  Gnoupi Jan 22 '10 at 15:00
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@random - but what about the sheep? Do you tip them? –  Adam Davis Jan 22 '10 at 17:00
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+1 for cow-tipping. –  mmyers Jan 22 '10 at 17:33
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5 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

This is what the bounty system is for.. if you really want to reward a great answer, then start a bounty and award it.

http://stackoverflow.com/faq/#bounty

Bounty system was also enhanced to make this easier:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/06/improvements-to-bounty-system/

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Using a bounty for this has too many prohibitions; if it's too much like hard work, it won't be done. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 22 '10 at 9:37
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Besides, there's a minimum of 50 rep. for bounties. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 22 '10 at 9:38
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The bounty has to be given in advance, and rewards the highest voted answer regardless of how helpful it is - and from the wording on the FAQ, it only applies to answers created after the bounty was started, so you can't retroactively reward an existing answer. –  Graeme Perrow Jan 22 '10 at 12:55
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You can set a bounty after an accepted answer and then select that answer again to win the bounty. @gra –  random Jan 22 '10 at 14:55
    
Some questions are a lot harder than others. Those who take time on the hard questions should be rewarded more somehow. A tip would be a great way. It would be nice to be able to tip without un-accepting an answer then making a bounty then re-accepting. Plus, you have to tip a min of 50. What if I only want to tip 25? Not a critical feature, but a definite "nice to have". –  Vaccano Apr 19 '10 at 16:30
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@Jeff Atwood @random- This solution is even more unusable as you now have to wait 24 hours before you can accept a bounty answer. The person who I want to "tip" will now think that I dissed him by removing his accepted answer and opened it up for more discussion. Bounty just does not double as a tip system. –  Vaccano Apr 19 '10 at 16:35
    
@vaccano I don't think waiting 24 hours is a dealbreaker. Rate limiting is necessary throughout the system to prevent abuse. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 19 '10 at 23:22
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Tip is a nice term.

I feel bad if I mark something as answer when there others equally as good, it would be nice to "tip" or somehow acknowledge that they are also as good, possibly with a extra +10 (upvote + answer = 25, so upvote + tip = 20).

I think though, that just being able to give a tip would be open to abuse and/or should only be open for the question asker to give to the people answering - it shouldn't be open for anyone to tip anyone - that is what upvotes are for.

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Agreed - I only had it in mind for the asker. Also, limits on amount (say 5-50) would curb abuse. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 22 '10 at 7:19
    
Yes. Up-Vote is a tip without losing your money. –  NAVEED Jan 22 '10 at 7:28
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Excuse me? Your money? –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 22 '10 at 8:18
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Money is not the best term for reputation, as it implies that it needs to be spent in order to be used.. And this is only true for bounties. –  Andreas Bonini Jan 22 '10 at 10:57
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Let's see -- you have the upvote, which you can award to anyone, including multiple posts, to indicate that they are "good." These reward the recipient with +10 rep.

You have the "accept," which is to indicate that said answer was the one which either directly solved your question or got you closest there. You can only accept one answer, and this rewards the recipient with +15 rep.

If the other answers are "as good," they will be rewarded by other members of the community with their upvotes.

Remember: Once your question is here, it's not just your question anymore; it's the community's. They will also read it, and vote accordingly.

To use your own analogy: Your upvote is your tip. Your acceptance is "paying the check."

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Also, accepting an answer and commenting under with enthusiastic words is a way to increase that effect, directing other people to vote for him. –  Gnoupi Jan 22 '10 at 15:03
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If that were true and always worked, why is there a bounty system? I think the person who asked the question typically has more stake in the answer than the SO community. –  Shane MacLaughlin Feb 19 '10 at 15:56
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I don't agree. There are times when the ability to give more would be appropriate. –  javamonkey79 Jan 1 '11 at 1:34
    
@javamonkey: And for that, there is the new(er) bounty system, wherein anyone can place a bounty on any question, and award it to any answer he/she feels is the best. Thus, tipping is now supported. –  John Rudy Jan 2 '11 at 23:23
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You're still relegated to the 50 rep increments - a bit too spendy to be considered a "tip" IMO. –  javamonkey79 Jan 3 '11 at 1:28
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If you appreciate the help somebody provided, accept their answer, and then look through some of their answers to other questions. When you find good answers, upvote them.

Do not abuse the voting system. Vote only for questions that you genuinely feel merit an up vote.

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Just don't do so too fast; you don't want to arouse the attention of the suspicious voting detection system. –  John Rudy Jan 22 '10 at 15:11
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If we allow 'tipping' then people will start to expect to be tipped (if it gives reputation), and it will become another contentious point.

The system provides adequate means of thanking your answerers, there's no need to add additional layers of "thank you!" on top.

If you really appreciate their work, add a comment to that effect - trust me, they like being recognized.

Edit:

As a counterexample, I would love to tip both answers on this question I posted yesterday:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2248865/rotate-webpage-via-code

I'm trying to think of another way to reward multiple answers beyond the usual voting/accepting/commenting...

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You don't tip sheep. You mules them. –  random Jan 23 '10 at 13:28
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@random - I... I had no idea... google.com/search?q=mules%20sheep –  Adam Davis Jan 23 '10 at 14:56
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