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Here's one to get shot down: How about letting bounties to be set using the reputation gained through the use of another site? So, for instance, I'm a programmer with a high Stack Overflow rep who hates using computers. Wouldn't it be useful for me to be able to exchange some of my excess Stack Overflow credit to incentivise a question on Super User?

Or perhaps I'd like to highlight a question on Meta Stack Overflow, but I don't spend my time immersed in the grey with diseased poo colour scheme.

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+1 for "immersed in the grey with diseased poo colour scheme" –  theotherreceive Jul 20 '09 at 3:58
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I usually think of it as the "bloody newspaper" color scheme, but your description is much more "colorful". –  gnostradamus Aug 7 '09 at 16:02
    
so whats the decision on this? –  Aditya P Mar 18 '11 at 12:32
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This was such a good idea -- why was this declined?!?!?! –  Adam Rackis Oct 19 '11 at 19:29
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@AdamRackis: I don't participate in Meta very much. It would be a bit odd if, despite not having demonstrated much interest in helping run the site, I could give up some of my more easily-acquired www.stackoverflow reputation to draw more attention to my requests. Giving up reputation is, in part, a way of telling the more helpful people, "I've given a lot to this site, so I am especially deserving of your help." Mark does provide a justification for that, but I can see my point, the reverse of that justification, as being similarly reasonable. There are possibly engineering issues, too. –  Brian Oct 20 '11 at 21:57
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@Brian I don't think bounties are a way to say "I've given a lot to this site, so I am especially deserving of your help." I think bounties are a way for experienced users to spend some rep to buy extra attention on really hard questions. As Lance said, the main risk would be spending your SO rep on unworthy Cooking questions, but as he said, limiting your ability to do this to technical sites would be a good protection against that. Specifically, if you have a high SO rep, you can probably be trusted to not bounty trivial questions on meta. –  Adam Rackis Oct 21 '11 at 19:50
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WHY has this been declined? I totally agree with the suggestion. :-( I think StackExchange staff should give a reason. –  Jez Jul 10 '12 at 9:19
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WHY has this been declined? I totally disagree with the suggestion. :-) I think StackExchange staff should give a reason. –  Jeroen Aug 14 '12 at 21:08
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Bumping this ancient question because it was a good proposal and declined with no explanation. –  user000001 Feb 23 '13 at 17:25
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I went to meta today to make this same feature request! I have a ton of rep on stack overflow, but I'm almost always able to answer my own questions there by searching. Now sometimes I have a really annoying problem with an iphone, for example, and I know very little about apple products so I can't build up enough rep to set a bounty on that stack exchange site. It would be a nice reward or "thank you from stack exchange" for my many hours helping people on SO if I were able to get a larger amount of attention for issues that are really bugging me on other stack exchange sites. –  wim Apr 23 '13 at 6:36
    

10 Answers 10

Cross site moderation

If you're a moderator that should send shivers down your spine. Thought finding sock puppets and voting rings was bad enough? Now you have 100 sites on which your voting ring could be centered. In theory it can be easy to find if someone gives bounties in exchange for upvotes on one site. But what if Bob gives Alice a bounty on UX for upvotes on Stack Overflow? As a UX mod, all I see is the UX bounty. Seems legit, I'd never think anything of it.

This would require new, cross site mod tools. Which should be scary for all sorts of reasons; now you're querying 100 databases (we get rate limited enough in the mod tools thanks), potentially having to investigate crap on sites you're not a mod on, it's a mess and all for incredibly little gain.

Bounties meant something in my day

When I see a bounty, someone with rep on that site set that bounty. Rep is a rough measure, but usually that means when someone sets a bounty on UX, they did it because it's a good UX question. I really don't want to start seeing people cast 50 rep bounties on every single "design my interface" question because they have more rep on SO than they could give away in a billion years. The barrier to entry is useful. Bounties are supposed to hurt, if I can give away rep from a site I don't care about or a site I have far too much rep on I can just spam rep on anything for any reason, give it to friends, whatever. I'm not going to use my extra 8k MSO rep anyway

Oh god the rules

The obvious solution is to lock this feature down tight. A rule here, two rules there, some rate limits in the back, some mod tools in the truck. But at what cost? Seriously, if you have to add a dozen rules to a feature before it gets released your feature needs major justification, much more than "wouldn't it be cool". Given the suggestions for rules so far this tool sounds like it would: - Be very frustrating to use and have multiple rules you need to know if you use it more than once - Not actually prevent much abuse because cross-site moderation would be a nightmare even in the case of a single abusive bounty

So no, I think this is a really bad idea which needs to be propped up by lots of really bad rules for amazingly little gain. Let's just keep rep separate, keep bounties meaningful and relevant, and not give moderators massive cross site bounty rings to deal with all for the sake of bountying "how can I make pasta as a programmer".

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I think you're losing sight of the potential upsides to this change. Just imagine the hilariously disruptive impact on smaller stacks' reputation economies when Jon Skeet takes an interest in them and suddenly most of the rep on those sites comes from his bounties. –  blahdiblah Mar 22 '13 at 23:47
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Even though I really wish we had this ability, I'm forced to upvote this answer. What if this feature were limited to trusted users? That is, I could award a 200 pt bounty on UX, but only because I'm >20K on SO, and pay for it from there. –  John Dibling Aug 15 '13 at 14:05
    
a simple program that monitors it would work wouldn't it? Something that checks a bounty by going through interactions between the two and alerts a monitor if necessary. That would get rid of the need for cross-site mods, right? –  tox123 Jul 4 at 19:49

The problem with this is that it's about more than reputation is about more than just priveleges, and it's more than just "points" - the reason that it has any value at all is that it is about you reputation.

If I can gain reputation as a cook for my prowess as a programmer, then reputation no longer has any real value at all, and the entire system devolves completely into a game. The reason it's not entirely a game at the moment is that in order to "win" the game, you actually have to be really good at whatever field it is that you're in.

Removing that restriction would entirely ruin SE.

If you think that one SE site is related enough to another site to deserve cross-site reputation bonuses (such as cross-site bounties) a better approach would be to allow some portion of all reputation gained on one site affect your apparent reputation on another.

I personally feel that that is not justified, however - if the two sites are so related that reputation for one can count as reputation for the other, they should probably not be seperate sites at all.

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Being able to give bounties cross-site wouldn't give awarder personally any reputation on the other site (unless fiddling the system). I was looking at bounties/rep as goodwill. However, reputation across different sites doesn't have a 1:1 value. Taking reputation from Stack Overflow and dumping it on a new small site would be unbalanced. –  Tom Hawtin - tackline Mar 17 '13 at 16:38

Even though I support this request, I think there is a problem to this suggestion, which is abuse.

The moment a user register on a site, he gets 101 reputation, those can be used as bounty on any other site, without affecting his reputation on any of the sites he cares about.

I think he later can delete and re-create an account on the same site, and getting 101 reputation again.

The solution Could be to only allow transferring of reputation for bounties, only from sites that has reputation over a specific limit (lets say 400?).

And to put a condition that setting bounties on a remote site should not make the current site reputation fall below a specific limit (lets say 300).

This would also limit the usage of this feature to only users who are somewhat experienced.

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I think the apparent need for such a complex system to make this feasible is a good indicator that the feature shouldn't happen at all. It's more complicated than it's worth and I still see more options for confusion, rep inflation and abuse than good use. –  Ben Brocka Mar 22 '13 at 12:00

I think that in general it is good idea.

Question is about details (whether implement 1:1 credit transfer, or divide with factor different for each site e.g. "bounty 100 on TCS.SE is worth 500 of bounty from another sites", limits... etc).

Idea behind this is about exchange of help, between people keen on different domains.

Let's take specific example:

  • A is able to help people on Unix.SE and earn reputation there.
  • In the same time A would love to get more help on History.SE or other sites. (which are related to areas which are his/her weaknesses)
  • Thanks to such exchange, A could help others on Unix.SE, reward people on other sites, like B
  • Now B can do vice-versa - B can earn reputation points on History.SE and go to Unix.SE and reward there
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I think that'd work good for the technical, even somewhat related computer sites, like SO, Ubuntu, Apple, etc., but not so sure about the non-technical computer sites like English, Cooking, etc.

Since you're buying the bounty with rep that is supposed to represent some level of knowledge, I think the cross-site bounties would work well for interrelated sites. If you have the rep on Stack Overflow, then that should show you have some level of technical acumen, so that you can be trusted on the other technical sites like Super User to bounty relevant questions.

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@Brad, that was true at the time you wrote it, but not anymore. –  Pops Oct 4 '10 at 18:55
    
@Lance - do you still stand by this answer that it wouldn't work for SE sites? I'd reeeeaaaalllly like to offer a bounty on some apple.SE questions, but have insufficient rep. This feature would be really useful imo. –  Adam Rackis Oct 19 '11 at 19:28
    
@Adam, modified to be more current, you should put a bounty on this question. –  Lance Roberts Oct 20 '11 at 4:51
    
That would be a great compromise. Let users open bounties from SO rep to SU, Apple, ServerFault, Programmers, etc. Can you elaborate on why you think it wouldn't work on Cooking, English, etc? I "feel" like I agree, but I can't really figure out why. –  Adam Rackis Oct 20 '11 at 15:40
    
@Adam, ok, edited. –  Lance Roberts Oct 20 '11 at 15:45
    
Good point—agree. "trusted to bounty relevant questions" –  Adam Rackis Oct 20 '11 at 15:50

On the first glance, this looks like a good idea: If I earned reputation hard by answering questions in my specialty field, why shouldn't I be allowed to spend some of this for my questions in the fields where I'm not so good, and really need the help?

For example, I've answered lots of questions on Stack Overflow, but now I have a cooking question (and I have about no chance to earn significant reputation on Seasoned Advice, this is why I need the question answered), so why shouldn't I be allowed to use some of my SO reputation to put a bounty on my cooking question?

This would make the cross-site reputation a kind of global SE currency (but usable only for bounty purposes).

The problem with this is that reputation on different sites has actually different value. On some sites it is a lot easier to earn upvotes with an answer (or a question) than on other ones. (The same problem is existent within Stack Overflow, though: Answers in more frequented tags get a lot more votes than answers of similar difficulty in small tags. But it is somehow deemed okay.)

Additionally, the idea is that each site can develop its own community, and the site-reputation should somehow measure the standing in this community. Receiving a bounty from someone outside the community does not relate to this.

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You raise a good point; however, I think a good compromise would be to just limit how much rep you could use for this purpose. Say, up to 150 per question, 500 per year? 500 per 6 months? I do see how frequently dropping 500pt bounties on cooking might disrupt the "exchange rate" of their rep, but I think there are good ways to limit this, while still getting the benefits this would provide. –  Adam Rackis Oct 20 '11 at 15:38
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Maybe also needing to pay more "foreign reputation" than the bounty size could help (e.g. you pay 100 reputation for a 50 rep bounty or similar). –  Paŭlo Ebermann Oct 20 '11 at 22:36
    
I agree with this post. It's like trying to convince the US government to let you spend a little Canadian money in the US every once in awhile. They're both called dollars, but they're not compatible. US dollars (site #1 rep) buy US goods (site #1 bounties) and not Canadian goods (site #2 bounties). I don't think we have any appropriate method for currency conversion either; there are no "rep banks" to handle the supply and demand :P –  Matthew Read Nov 18 '11 at 16:01
    
And certainly it seems almost abusive to gain rep at site #1 and then go to site #2 and draw attention away from other questions with a bounty you didn't earn the right to offer. –  Matthew Read Nov 18 '11 at 16:02
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What about creating some self-sustaining system for exchanging reputation between sites, just as our bank system can be used for exchanging currencies? It'd be difficult to set up at first, but soon the exchange rates would converge (which would additionally provide very interesting information about the sites). –  Petr Pudlák Jan 26 at 14:16

I think this is one example of why fragmentation of the QA sites is not a very good thing (see also What could be done to serve domain specific "communities" better on SO?) and perhaps some tighter integration (perhaps even a reputation shared between all sites) could be better.

I predict this answer can provoke comments about how I cannot compare reputation from Stack Overflow with reputation from Super User, as the fact I understand one does not mean I understand the other. This, however, is in my opinion no different from the fact that while I have quite solid C++ background, I do not understand a bit about AJAX, Ruby, SQL and other things questioned on SO, yet this is not apparent from the reputation I have on SO, and still this does not seem to cause any issues.

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I totally agree, though I'm not surprised to notice that it has already been proposed and was just ignored.

I'll copy+paste my duplicate post here:

Wouldn't it be nice to have cross-site bounties?

After all, if I am a developer I am likely to have points on SO, and not many on SF, and vice-versa.

I think probably everyone would benefit from such a feature.

Update: I agree that cross-site reputation, privileges or many other things would be bad. Bounties however, are a completely different topic. You "pay" some earned rep to the person that will answer a question that isn't get an answer otherwise. You are skilled in a field, and you need help in another field: that's the founding principle of the entire economic system in general.

Cross-site privileges would mean awarding powers in a field to people who do not have earned it in that filed, and that is bad.

Cross-site bounties means allowing you to sell your milk to buy some meat.

Edit: one possible addition to that, just in case too many people frown upon such a feature, could be not to add the extra 50 rep for the cross-site bounties.

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This makes a lot of sense to me. Most of us are specialized to a large degree, making it hard to build up adequate amounts of rep at all of the sites. The site where you aren't an expert is the site where you'd most likely find a bounty to be useful.

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Exactly what I was going to say. +1 –  Spencer Ruport Jun 11 '10 at 18:38
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++1. It makes perfect sense that someone who needs help and is willing to offer rewards for it won't have the skills in that area necessary to build up the rep to provide those rewards to others. Being able to exchange rep for bounties between sites is a perfect system for people to earn where they can and spend where they need. A "pay it forward" system. –  Questioner Jul 3 '12 at 6:07

I think this could lead to some potential abuse (basically using rep on one site to boost up an account on another site).

It's an interesting idea and the way you described it as a way for people who are invested in one site to get a potentially quick answer on another site without having to go through the effort of building up rep there sounds logical. I just don't have a very good feeling that it would ever even get seriously considered.

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Bounties always have had potential for abuse. Effectively having to have your accounts permanent disassociated would seem a reasonable deterrent given the threat. –  Tom Hawtin - tackline Jul 20 '09 at 1:52
    
@TomHawtin-tackline What would you say about setting individual "divide factor" for each site - e.g. "1:5 for TCS.SE might mean - giving 100 bounty on TCS.SE costs 500 from other site" ? –  Grzegorz Wierzowiecki Aug 14 '12 at 18:41

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