I know this has been attempted many times before:
Here Transfer points between sites, here Should SO rep be considered in SU and SF?, here too Why not merge reputation across Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User?, here Can I use my rep from one site to give a bounty on another, here Allow bounty to be set with reputation from another site?, and here Sharing the reputation among all the Stack Exchange sites, here as well How about a shared reputation? and there are many many more posts about this....
The fact that there are so many posts about it shows that there is a true desire for a transferring reputation from site to site.
The main initiative is that everybody is specializes in something, but might have a difficult questions in a subject that (s)hes not so good in and therefore cannot get sufficient reputation to offer bounty to get his/her question answered.
Well I am in that kind of situation. I've some reputation on SO, but am struggling to have enough reputation on SF and Ask Ubuntu to get some of my tough questions answered.
Many concerns have been posted about the idea of transferring reputation from on site to another:
- Reputation is a measure of trust and experience: Somebody with a high reputation on SO should be able to have the same in Mathematics (without earning it there).
- Reputation on one site doesn't have the same value as reputation on another site. This is the issue Shog9 has posted in his comment:
Imagine a site where getting to 10K reputation points requires a near-herculean effort - it's easy if you try - and now imagine that some schmuck like me, with 50K on SO, wanders in, accumulates 200 points, and then starts handing out 500 point bounties left and right. Within a disturbingly short time, I could eclipse the influence of users who've labored to shape that site from day one, with minimal effort. That ain't right.
- Giving out bounties requires the op to be able to judge who is most worthy of receiving bounty if more than one answer is given.
I think I have come up with an easy solution that fulfills the goal without affecting any of the concerns:
My idea is to setup another "token" lets call it "bounty credit" or just "credit" that has the following rules applied:
- Reputation can be converted into credit at a 1:1 ratio.
- Credit cannot be converted back into reputation.
- Credit cannot be directly transferred from one site to another.
- Users can exchange credit with another user from another site at any ratio that both users agree to.
- Trading bounties is a privilege that only comes after 200 reputation.
- The amount of credit that user has on each site is not made public.
- Credit can only be used to post bounties or for exchanging credit with other sites.
- Users cannot trade credit with themselves.
A simple trading system can be set up on which users can easily exchange credit with other users, just like on a stock market. The community will thus define how much the credit is worth on each site, simply depending on demand and availability.
Credit on SO will be least valuable, because reputation there is most abundant (means that it probably requires less effort). People exchanging SO credits will be more willing to trade more for less than on other sites. This will make sure that nobody will be able to spend more bounty on another site than (s)he really deserves to. After all the bounty that (s)he spends must have been earned by somebody in the normal way on that same site and somebody will not give it out for nothing.
The extra benefit that comes here is that people harvest their reputation is on the subject that they are best at and not where they have the most pressing question and therefore the time will be best spent.
The fact that nobody can exchange credit without having more than 200 reputation ensures that everybody using this system has at least got some idea on the topic and is thus well able to decide which answer most worthy of a bounty.
Perhaps the exchange should also be taxed at say 10% to prevent some people gaining a lot of credit, just by trading it around.
I think this idea would become very useful to many users, without affecting the ecosystem in any negative way.
What do you think?