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Hi,

Some opinions:

I) For a newbie, coming up with significant (or even modest) bounty is difficult.

II) A newbie is more likely to feel more "stuck"/"helpless" in some situations than a "pro", but it is the pros who can comfortably use bounties.

III) A newbie need not be a newbie in all fields. For example's sake, someone may be an algorithm expert, but can do with some help as a webmaster.

Keeping in mind the above, here are few suggestions that can make the bounty system more useful (all suggestions can be improved, but just conveying the points):

1) Cross-site bounties: Example: allow users to use their reputation on SO as bounty on superuser, etc.

2) Allow 'special' reputation points: A newbie is given say 200 reputation points which can only be used as bounties. No powers associated, and not counted/displayed as actual reputation.

3) (I don't particularly find this elegant): Allow a 'credit'/'debit' system. Allow people with low reputation to effectively go negative for some time, should they need to throw a bounty for something important to them.

All said, maybe bounties are rarely used, and maybe, the SO team wants to encourage only experts to raise bounties (for a valid reason). But from one point of view, the newbies can do with ability to throw more bounties.

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Very Bad Idea. Monetizing rep destroys its intent and value. –  Uphill Luge Dec 12 '10 at 15:09
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By credit/debit, I didn't mean "real" monetization. (Maybe you mean you didn't like the idea of going 'negative' rep). –  JP19 Dec 12 '10 at 15:17
    
I'm not entirely against either of the three ideas, they all have merit. However, 1) has been discussed repeatedly already and rejected due to risk of misuse (although with the option of revisiting the idea later); 3) is too easy to game (opening a throwaway "bad bank" account for credit is too easy). 2) might be a good idea –  Pëkka Dec 12 '10 at 15:38
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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

A newbie is more likely to feel more "stuck"/"helpless" in some situations than a "pro", but it is the pros who can comfortably use bounties.

IMHO the people who are "pro"s at a topic are more likley to get a question that doesn't get an answer on SO.

Most new programmers ask the same questions with the same easy answers. I know most of my "newbie" questions had very easy answers. The ones that didn't were not very good questions.

However, if a "pro" asks a question, it is far less likely to get an answer. Lets say if Eric Lippert had a question on C#, I am fairly sure it would take a lot of work for someone to post an answer.

Cross-site bounties: Example: allow users to use their reputation on SO as bounty on superuser, etc.

The issue I can see with this is it opens up the door for a lot of exploits. Reputation is a measure of how much I am trusted on SO/SU/Whatever. If I could transfer 10k reputation from my SO account to my SU account, do I really deserve to have that level of abilities on SU?

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I had this point in mind (as a valid reason to encourage only experts to throw open bounties). However, what if a newbie did happen to ask a question with no answers? (I am not saying we need to or can make SO perfect for all the people all the time :). –  JP19 Dec 12 '10 at 14:36
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