Let's say, hypothetically, that I have a friend X who might require reputation.

Could I award him a bounty of 500 for answering one of my seemingly legitimate questions? Even if he has 1 reputation?

Does that trigger some kind of script?

Is it against the rules?

  • 6
    You could probably get away with one or two before somebody will notice. And no, using bounties to "transfer" rep is not allowed.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


Reputation is meant to be earned, not given. So if you're knowingly posting a question, having a friend answer it, and giving him a bounty to give him a boost on his new account, I believe this to be against the rules. You might get away with a couple of times, but soon enough someone will notice.

By making a user earn reputation, Stack Exchange limits the speed with which they gain privileges, forcing them to learn about the Stack Exchange Q&A model and how it differs from traditional forums.

Giving a user a direct 500 rep boost will grant them more than half of all privileges almost instantly. Such a user will then be able to comment, retag questions, flag, vote up and down, create chat rooms, set bounties, edit Community Wiki posts, and close their own questions, without really having learnt what each of these means and what the consequences are.

  • I agree, but I just looked at the top reputation chart of this month and you can clearly see a user that only answered 1 question and gained 500 reputation for receiving a bounty with a 3 day old account. So it does happen. Although in this case it SEEMS a legitimate answer. Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 19:01
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    Correct: this is a suspendable offense assuming we find evidence that bounties are being abused for the transfer of reputation. If it's a new user who happens to know enough to be able to answer a question and win a bounty, but it is legitimate, it's OK. If it's a sock puppet receiving a bounty for the sole purpose of getting a large reputation/privilege boost, it's not OK. We have tools for determining each case. Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 19:01
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    @EdwardvanRaak If you believe the bounty was awarded to the user unfairly, you can flag the answer and inform a moderator of this via the Other option. They will look into it Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 19:04
  • @Edward, it could also be a user who created their own "spare" account, not willing to give the bounty to someone else, or after having found the answer to their question themselves...
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 19:36
  • 3
    Ah, @Edward, but the user who offered that bounty is now at 261 rep himself. If he gave his friend more rep than he has left himself, then surely it was not something that was planned.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 19:48

@RaghavSood mentioned that You can get away with it a couple of times. A couple of times seems more than enough to give an inexperienced user those privileges.

On a site like Stack Overflow, where there are sometimes over a hundred bounties placed on a single day, it seems inadequate to hope that users will manually figure this out. Especially if the user is smart, and keeps a 2-3 week time gap between bounties.

My suggestion is that there should be an automatic script that detects such bounties, and asks mods/trusted users to verify if they are true.

  • 2
    If you gain 500 rep a day you will shoot out in the reputation league. If you see a user that is that weeks top user with only 501 reputation, you know something can be wrong. Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 8:19
  • @PatrickHofman What if you use a series of bounties 200 rep bounties, 1 every week. Then you end up on the second page of that list, and I'm not sure if people will even check the entire first page. Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 8:39
  • (I do) Agreed, there is some room for fraud here if you take the time. I expect the serial voting script takes bounties in account too, but I am not sure it does (and no one is going to tell you since the script kept secret). Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 8:54
  • Maybe a smart query can indicate those cases. I tried this one thinking that if the given answer would only be used to be able to get the bounty in the first place it wouldn't be any good, so a low score.
    – rene
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 8:58
  • @rene Or you pick up a really good question and answer from some book (to deflect suspicion and earn up-votes). Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 17:24

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