For those who recently acquired privileges through reputation, it would be nice to be notified when starting a bounty which privilege will be revoked if any.

Related: Is losing privileges after placing bounty OK?

  • Yeah, like the user should be notified if downvoting will revoke the downvote privilege, or if you lose the bounty privilege for placing a bounty.
    – clickbait
    Jun 21, 2015 at 1:00

6 Answers 6


As Pesto and TheTXI pointed out, the underlying problem is that people don't understand that if they fall below one of the reputation thresholds in the FAQ, they lose the privileges that come with that threshold. This should probably be stated clearly in the FAQ, just to raise general awareness.

I still think a warning when posting a bounty would go a long way toward raising awareness of the issue. It would definitely be helpful to put the information right in front of people who are about to willingly take a loss in rep by posting a bounty. There are very few ways to lose significant amounts of reputation on Stack Overflow. Posting a bounty is the most common, and the only way that is 100% voluntary (massive downvoting, flagged as offensive, and reputation recalculation are the others). Explicitly telling people they are about to lose a hard-won privilege along with the reputation points seems reasonable to me.

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    Being notified sounds good , but a good cover-up for the flaw in the privilege control, something which was not thought of earlier while designing the system. Also, I dont understand how you equate loss in reputation out of bounty to loss of privilege (which FAQ states that :___As you earn reputation from your peers, you earn the community's trust – and will be granted additional privileges on Stack Overflow___ ) , now loosing reputation for bounty is fine (it makes offering bounty a serious & thought of issue(what makes them important)but loosing earned trust for that doesnt sound that good)
    – Mukul Goel
    Nov 23, 2012 at 18:28
  • @MukulGoel The bounty system was added later than privileges for certain reputation levels, so there's no reason this should have been thought of when the system was originally designed. Also, I don't expect you to understand how I equate loss in reputation out of bounty to loss of privilege, since I don't equate the two. That's just the way the system currently works. I didn't make it that way. Nov 23, 2012 at 18:44
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    I have been using the stack exchange platform for some time now. I accidently posted a bounty on unix.stackexchange, not realizing that I only had the 101 points because I have other StackExchange accounts. Now I can't even upvote or reply to questions. This is a design flaw and should be addressed. The options being sufficiently warn the user they are losing privilege or just use the user's highest rep to calculate permissions. May 28, 2015 at 18:11

I don't think the key problem is a lack of notification that bounties cost rep. The problem is that people are still under the impression that reaching the rep required for an ability means that they will always have that ability. It's a fundamental misunderstanding of how rep works, which needs better education than a warning when setting a bounty.

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    I agree with you on this, but I think the warning would go a long way toward raising awareness of the issue. It would definitely be helpful to put the information right in front of people who are about to willingly take a loss in rep. Aug 3, 2009 at 17:06
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    Lord knows that usability study after usability study has shown that people ignore every warning we can throw at them. It strikes me as a stopgap measure, and one that will only reach a small segment of the population. Better to resolve the issue at the source. Of course, I don't know how you accomplish that. Aug 3, 2009 at 17:09
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    But a warning reaches exactly the right small segment of the population. The ones who are about to post a bounty and lose rep. Also, as far as I know, people only ignore warnings when they're performing common tasks, not when they're doing something relatively uncommon like setting a bounty. Aug 5, 2009 at 0:51
  • @Bill the Lizard, if you put your comments in the form of an answer I will accept it.
    – matpie
    Aug 5, 2009 at 22:37

I think it would be better just to have a note or something saying "If rep lost via a posted bounty drops down below a certain privilege level, you will lose privileges until rep is regained".

Or just make the user use basic subtraction and figure it out on their own and make it better known throughout the site that your rep can go up and down, and so can your privileges based on that rep.

  • I like the basic subtraction method. That's why I won't do a bounty until 7k or 12k. Aug 3, 2009 at 16:19
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    That would first involve memorizing the tiers at which you gain/lose privileges ;) Users who are new enough to fall in to this category will likely not have the tiers memorized yet.
    – matpie
    Aug 3, 2009 at 16:23
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    Users who are new enough to have not memorized all of the tiers likely aren't going to have much in the way of privileges they could possibly lose.
    – TheTXI
    Aug 3, 2009 at 16:29
  • BTW, I have the tiers memorized. Aug 3, 2009 at 16:34
  • Updating the FAQ should do - at least we'll have somewhere consistent to point people.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Aug 3, 2009 at 20:28

The new privileges page and notifications do a lot to raise awareness.

New users are now notified quite aggressively when they gain new privileges. We also show them clearly what reputation score is required for each privilege.

I am not against having a little javascript window that tells you what privileges you will lose when you start a bounty, but it would require a minor UI redesign.


Every time you set a bounty you lose a privilege.

It may only be the privilege to change the accepted answer, but you still lose that privilege.

It might be a good idea to make it a little more clear that going below the thresholds will take with them the abilities those thresholds gave you.


I'd suggest that the user be able to keep the functionality/privilege unless the hitpoint were gained in frowned-upon ways. From what I understand, hitpoints are indicators of "how much the site trusts" a user. If a user has reached a threshold, and then decides to give it all away in bounty, I'd argue that the person is still entitled to be trusted.

I understand though that the implementation is probably set up to check the current hit points, not a flag that indicates if they ever reached some threshold.


from here :

Remember, Stack Overflow is run by you! If you want to help us run the site, you'll need reputation first. Reputation is a (very) rough measurement of how much the Stack Overflow community trusts you. Reputation is never given, it is earned by convincing other Stack Overflow users that you know what you're talking about.

The current implementation makes it clear that this is NOT the case that - that even if you earn the privilege they are transient. As if a person's trustworthiness was transient. I don't see how giving away points via bounty makes a person less "trustworthy" to the "community".

In real life, I would give people privileges once they earned them. I would only revoke them once they did something negative. In this scenario that means that giving bounty, voting down answers or getting down voted is equivalent to doing something negative. That is not how I interpret SO. It is very inconsistent.

Again, I realize that the status quo is to make the code simple to maintain - all one has to do is check the current hitpoint level. That's the only real defense of the policy.

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    You could make the argument that if the user isn't smart enough to keep enough rep "in the bank" to keep his privileges, he might not be smart enough to be trusted with said privileges and therefore deserves to lose them when he sets the bounty and drops below the threshold.
    – TheTXI
    Aug 3, 2009 at 20:31
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    They aren't hit points, they're experience points. Jeez, get your metaphors right. Aug 3, 2009 at 20:32
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    @TheTXI: I know right? If you didn't have to maintain enough rep to stay above the 100 mark, I would have answered a grand total of 3 questions, enough to get me above 100, then downvoted everyone until I was -9003. Aug 3, 2009 at 20:34
  • @TheTXI - What you are talking about is just an implementation of how the hitpoints work - I am describing Jeff's statements. I don't see how making a bounty makes one less palatable/less entitled to exercise some privileges other than it being easier for them to implement that way. It is inconsistent with the statement here: stackoverflow.com/faq about "what is reputation"
    – tim
    Aug 3, 2009 at 20:56
  • @belgarion That says a lot about you and your behavior. What you are saying is that you keep enough hitpoints to be able to downvote others. That's not exactly the goal of this site.
    – tim
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:01
  • @pesto please don't take everything so seriously. hitpoints, gold stars, badges, flair, reputation, whatever. It's all the same thing. Useless numbers.
    – tim
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:04
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    Down-voting is allowed / was explicitly implemented. Therefore, people downvoting stuff is a goal of the site. People showing up and doing nothing but downvoting 30 posts a day probably isn't. belgariontheking may or may not be exaggerating, but the potential (if losing rep didn't revoke privileges) is real.
    – Shog9
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:06
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    @Shog, Surely offering a bounty doesn't mean one is less worthy of some privileges that are set at some arbitrary number? In real life once someone has shown me they are "trustworthy" enough for certain privileges those would only get revoked by doing something negative. What you are all saying is that getting voted down or offering bounties or voting down are all actions equivalent to being "untrustworthy". That is the opposite (I assumed) of what the behavior is supposed to be.
    – tim
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:13
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    Why do you continue to refer to rep points as hitpoints? Aug 3, 2009 at 21:21
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    @tim: i don't really have much of an opinion on it one way or the other; rep is a lousy stand-in for trust in any case, but it's what this site uses, so i work with it. Just sayin', it's silly to dismiss BTK's scenario outright with, "but that's just you" - because chances are, it's not.
    – Shog9
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:25
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    Oh, and by the way, tim: why do you care? You'd have to offer an awful lot of bounties to get to where you'd lose anything; i guess that's probably true for most people. I'm sure the system acts as it does because it was easy to implement this way, and won't change unless there's a compelling reason for it to change: so what's that reason?
    – Shog9
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:28
  • @brad - why does it matter what they are called? I think the "hit points" moniker is more accurate than "reputation". It is a virtual world and Jeff has repeatedly said he modeled some of the behavior of SO on games. It is fitting IMO. I guess I could also call them carrots.
    – tim
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:28
  • @shog I agree. The points are a lousy stand-in for trust - but it works on the whole. As for why I care. Tt just seems inconsistent and dishonest to defend the current way it works with the arguments I read. The answer is more likely "because it is easier" and, as I agreed - in all likely hood it will never matter. I was just pointing out inconsistencies. Developers have an interest in edge cases. This one that caught my eye. As for BTK - he's the one that brought up the scenario - I never thought people would keep points just so that they could downvote others... well, maybe one person.
    – tim
    Aug 3, 2009 at 21:34
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    tim, you miss the peril that the system can be easliy abused, if you keep the privileges. With your bounties you could easily "upvote" someone who does not contribute a lot to a postion where he gains these privs also. Afterwards, he can do the same with another person. Aug 4, 2009 at 17:04
  • @John - You can do that already. That sounds like abuse of the system - and is altogether different than what I am suggesting. I don't see how this has anything to do with losing or keeping privileges.
    – tim
    Aug 4, 2009 at 21:14

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