So the other day when I came close to hitting the 200 point maximum for the day, I noticed that I actually had reached it but then the bounty I put on a question dropped me 50 (as it should) and thus I ended up at 195 at the end of the day.

So the questions come down to:

  1. Does the bounty go against the 200 point limit such that you can actually *earn* more but then apply it to a bounty (essentially it'd let you get free bounty points that otherwise you would have lost anyway).
  2. And if you do earn more than 200, but spend bounty points so that your total is less than 200, does this prevent you from earning things like the Mortarboard badge ("Earned at least 200 reputation in a single day")? [I had already earned it, but I suspect I wouldn't have].

And, of course, the real end question is: Is the current situation correct or should it be changed? Personally, I'm fine with either math option.

  • option 1: daysTotal = min(200, earnedTotal) - bounty
  • option 2: daysTotal = min(200, earnedTotal - bounty)
  • option 3: daysTotal = min(200, earnedTotal) ; completeTotal = daysTotal - bounty

I believe that #2 is what's happening today (and the badge would only be given when daysTotal == 200). The difference between #2 and #3 is really whether the badge is awarded.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of How does the bounty system work? Feb 7, 2012 at 14:31
  • 2
    surely you mean min not max? Otherwise everything would be at least 200, not up to 200.
    – Flexo
    Feb 7, 2012 at 14:37
  • It used to be option 1. I don't know if that's changed. (when I say "used to" I'm referring to 2 years ago when I last tested how bounties and rep cap interacted) I suspect if you poke around you'll find this question is already answered here, but it might take a fair bit of poking.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 7, 2012 at 14:49
  • @awoodland: yes, you're absolutely right. Edited and thanks! Feb 7, 2012 at 15:30
  • 1
    fyi, you can see the actual SQL thats run to grant the badges from Jeffs answer here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57232/…
    – chown
    Feb 7, 2012 at 17:46

3 Answers 3


Reputation that is lost due to posting a bounty is not tied to daily reputation caps.

When you post a bounty you lose the reputation. That's as simple as it gets.

That counts as negative reputation for that, as you can imagine. The reputation cap is still at 200 rep on upvotes.

Hitting the rep cap from upvoted only is what counts towards the different badges, not the actual value (the reputation audit page says so at the bottom).

  • 1
    Hitting the rep cap from upvoted only is what counts towards the different badges, not the actual value. Are you sure? Both vales are displayed on the audit page, and Badges says Mortarboard Earned at least 200 reputation in a single day, Epic Earned 200 daily reputation 50 times and Legendary Earned 200 daily reputation 150 times.
    – Dennis
    Feb 7, 2012 at 15:14
  • If that's true, then the summary page is misleading because when I actually earn more than 200 but spend a bounty it shows me as less than 200. I realize, however, there is no easy way to fix this. But functionally a user can't easily tell if they hit the 200 cap or not when they mix in bounties. Feb 7, 2012 at 15:29

As per the FAQ, a user can normally earn 200 reputation daily. Please note that votes for posts marked “community wiki” do not generate any reputation, while accepted answers and bounty awards are not subject to the daily reputation limit.

So when you earn any bounty it does not count as regular repuration.

  • 4
    He isn't asking about earning bounties, but what happens when offering one.
    – Oded
    Feb 7, 2012 at 15:18

The Mortarboard badge is awarded for earning at least 200 reputation in a single day. This is different from reaching the reputation cap -- for the latter, you have to earn 200 reputation in a day from upvotes alone.* In practice, users often earn more than 200 reputation in a day without reaching the cap, e.g., by scoring 15 answer upvotes (+150) plus getting four answers accepted (+60).

To answer your questions:

  1. There are no "free bounty points that otherwise you would have lost anyway". If you spend X reputation points on bounties in a day, you'll end with X less reputation than you would have otherwise.

  2. If you would have earned at least 200 reputation in a single day, but bring your reputation increase down to less than 200 by spending some on bounties, this day isn't allowable against the Mortarboard/Epic/Legendary badges.

And yes, I think the current situation is "correct", i.e., as it should be.

*Example for earning the Mortarboard badge without reaching the reputation cap: I earned Mortarboard at tex.sx on October 28th, 2010. On that day, I scored 7 answer upvotes (+70) plus a bounty (+250).

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