I figured I'd confront this question directly, because it's been on my mind since I started answering questions on SO again as a recreation.

I've been trying to increase my reputation on SO by providing the most help I can professionally. Because I'm admittedly a slower typist than many users on the site, and because I wanted to leave most of the common questions to people whom enjoy answering them and are better answerers than I, I started answering bounties at a clip of about two a day.

What I discovered, to my surprise, is this kicked me up to #1 reputation on the site for the current week so far and #42 for last week. While I'm absolutely flattered, I don't see myself as especially worthy of this position. After all, I'm simply answering a smaller set of highly refined questions to the best of my abilities, through experience and the aid of Google, and working with the original posters to solve their problems concisely and correctly.

So, I am simply curious if I'm doing it right or if I've found some loophole that is, competitively, frowned upon. I admit that I quite enjoy answering questions here, and I'd still answer bounties consistently because I find them to provide more interesting puzzles for me to solve. But at the same time, I believe the other contributors to the site in the 100k+ range should be ranking higher than some goof that answered a set of 200, 300, and 500 rep bounties back to back.

I suppose it's just a thing.

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    Wow - you've got Mr Skeet almost doubled in rep for the week. Nice. – Adam Rackis Mar 27 '12 at 3:56
  • @AdamRackis I admit, I'm more than a little afraid that I'll receive the banhammer in short order. At the threat of admitting extreme hubris: this has to be throwing red flags at HQ. – MrGomez Mar 27 '12 at 4:03
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    This has to be throwing red flags at HQ --- NOPE - sharp rep gains are easily recognized as bounties earned. Keep it up! – Adam Rackis Mar 27 '12 at 4:05
  • @AdamRackis Will do. :) – MrGomez Mar 27 '12 at 4:06
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    Not only are you doing it right, you actually win the internet today. Keep it up! Stack Overflow needs more good bounty hunters. – Ben Lee Mar 27 '12 at 4:59
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    Go MrGomez! You are doing it exactly right. – David Heffernan Mar 30 '12 at 20:27
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    Phew, that was hard. I, somehow, successfully defended my lead for the week. Thanks for cheering me on, everyone! It made helping users this week so much more fun. :) – MrGomez Apr 1 '12 at 0:06
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    @MrGomez Yeah, the pressure is on now. You've made a good solid start to this week and we'll see if you can back it up! ;-) – David Heffernan Apr 1 '12 at 15:04
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    You're half way there ;): data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/49794/… – TCPMAN.EXE Apr 2 '12 at 19:26
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    This is exactly what the bounty system was designed for; to attract people who could put the time and effort into answering questions that are, shall we say, a little more obscure. – user102937 Apr 2 '12 at 22:27
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    Wow! Today is Tuesday only in my timezone , but you have already get 2,550 points in this week which leads the 2nd one(Darin Dimitrov) and 3rd one (Jon Skeet) by about 240% . I think you will break the record of most points get in one week in the stackoverflow history. – user157774 Apr 3 '12 at 14:47
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    Kudos for finding a completely new angle, it hasn't been done before. You are very good at it, companies will fall over each other to offer you a new job. Whatever place you left must have been a massive bore to not give you the same opportunities. Good move. – Uphill Luge Apr 5 '12 at 21:08
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    Nice job - been dropping by the users page from time to time - you're killing those bounties. Keep it up! – Adam Rackis Apr 7 '12 at 17:08
  • I've gone ahead and rolled my <s>sour grapes</s> thoughts into a new Meta question. – MrGomez Apr 10 '12 at 22:49

After all, I'm simply answering a smaller set of highly refined questions to the best of my abilities, through experience and the aid of Google, and working with the original posters to solve their problems concisely and correctly.

It can't get much more "right" than that, buddy! That's what the site is for, and you're using it exactly as it was designed to be used—perhaps even a little bit better than that.

Those users who are awarding you those bounty amounts are obviously satisfied with your answer, or they wouldn't be awarding you the bounty. And they were obviously desperate for an answer, or they wouldn't have set the bounty in the first place. Bounties are supposed to attract the attention of potential answerers.

I'm not sure why or how you've gotten the feeling that you don't deserve the extra reputation that the bounty entails, but you obviously do.

As far as you ranking higher than other well-known contributors with well over 100k reputation, well that's kind of by design. The whole point of the daily or weekly reputation leagues is that they can fluctuate more drastically and more frequently. It gives new users like you a chance to shine.

Sure, focusing exclusively on bounty questions all the time may not be the best thing... Users shouldn't have to set a bounty in order to get attention from knowledgeable people like you who can and are willing answer their questions. So I would say that you shouldn't neglect all the other interesting questions, but there's nothing wrong with dedicating some quality time to researching and composing an answer in order to reap the rewards of a bounty!

And don't worry too much about being a slow typist. You might not be able to answer the low-hanging fruit of questions (like "What does the ~ operator do?"), but you can definitely find questions that are begging for a carefully reasoned and researched answer, even if an answer has already been posted. I've earned a lot of my Stack Overflow reputation by answering questions that have already had at least one answer posted—I just posted a better one.

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    +1. Thank you for your coherent answer! That does make me feel a bit better, at least. – MrGomez Mar 27 '12 at 3:51

Well done, sir. Bounty questions tend to be the harder questions to find useful answers to. If you're effortlessly providing good answers, then by all means keep it up; it's not frowned upon in the least.

The OPs will be very, very grateful.

In fact, Bounty Hunter badges were proposed some time ago to encourage people to tackle the bounty questions. The post is marked , but Jeff seems to have interpreted the question a bit...differently.

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I must admit I found your question in an interesting way: I saw your SO profile, saw your 7K+ reputation, almost no points on tags and almost no question. "Where did the guy got his rep from", I thought for the moment. Switched to your bounty tab and then I was just stunned with astonishment. "That guy must be crazy" I thought for a moment :-) Then I anticipated that you mentioned it at meta... and found this post.

As for the moral, I don't see any flaws. Be happy, you found your niche! Remember, if you are not stealing rep (money, whatever, ...) then even if you crave for it hard and are successful you are useful to the community and can only harm yourself :-)

I wouldn't be scared about any morals in this case. Be happy!

You are now leading the quarter league!!! :-)

enter image description here

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    Don't I know it. I'm honestly terrified. I expect Darin or Mr. Skeet to wrest it from me as the bounties thin out (and I want to help other SO users do that more effectively). But, for now, this makes me smile. :) – MrGomez Apr 2 '12 at 22:31
  • :-)) BTW... when speaking about your smile @MrGomez, that profile picture is your own? Really sympatic! :-) – Tomas Apr 2 '12 at 22:46
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    Hee! I'm not especially photogenic, so it is actually a common, canned photograph of John Astin in his role as Gomez Addams from The Addams Family. This is keeping in character for my profile; I operate on an eventually-consistent, madcap style of documentation traversal and technical debugging that just seems to work with these forms of questions. (Sadly, I am nowhere near being a multi-billionaire.) – MrGomez Apr 2 '12 at 22:52
  • Aaah, Adams family! I see, @MrGomez - sympatic character :-) And it's actually a madness - after 24 hrs you increased the score much more than Darin & Jon! You are unstoppable! – Tomas Apr 3 '12 at 21:21
  • I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't terrified by how well it's going. It's mostly momentum (bounties have a lag time directly proportional to the interest level of the provider), so I freely admit I didn't actually answer much today in lieu of other work that needed to get done. Still, I think we've conclusively shown that the bounty system needs more love from skilled computer scientists armed with lateral thinking and the power of Google. – MrGomez Apr 4 '12 at 8:29

Sir, you are a gem! Bounties are usually hard to answer, sometimes I browse the bounty-list and I feel my knees instantly weaken and my heart-rate increases thrice-fold. Alas, you will now surely have competition in the bounty-hunting league. Thank You Very Much!

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    Alas, you will now surely have competition in the bounty-hunting league. I look forward to it! After all, I need some excuse to get back to my day job, once I finish my job hop from my current employer. ;) – MrGomez Apr 2 '12 at 23:00

The other answers have discussed how it is a great thing that you're focusing on answering bounties, rather than something rude or in some other way violating etiquette.

I haven't seen anyone address why, because you are answering bounties, you have been gaining rep so much quicker than other users, even though who are answering a lot of questions. It is because of the rep cap. The majority of the reputation gained from answering a given question is from it being upvoted (at 10 points per upvote), but those gains are capped at 200 total points per day. Having an answer marked as the answer for a question provides 15 points not covered in that cap.

Bounties, however, are also entirely separate from that cap, so with your 2 or so questions you are likely getting at least a few upvotes (which will still be maybe 25% of the rep cap), 2 or so answer marks, plus several hundred rep for bounties. You're losing out on (maybe) 100 rep for not being at the rep cap, but still netting quite a bit more than the other users maxing out the rep cap every day.

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