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Is it possible to cheat the rep cap by...

  1. Create bounty for 200 rep on a question you know the answer to
  2. Create second dummy account, and answer bounty question
  3. After collecting 200 rep, award bounty to dummy account
  4. Continue to collect rep
  5. Create bounty question with dummy account, and answer with main account, awarding bounty
  • 5
    The actual name for this kind of thing (or more specifically the other dummy account) is a sockpuppet. – Lix Mar 4 '13 at 11:55
  • "It is possible to cheat." will always be true. As long as it's hard enough, and there aren't too many people doing it, it's not a problem. – Joachim Sauer Mar 4 '13 at 11:55
  • Why is the question down-voted? Is it not a valid question? If it is not, then close it, and comment on why. If it is valid, I don't see the reason for the down-voting. – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 11:57
  • See the faq; votes on MSO are different from the regular Stack Exchange websites. – Martijn Pieters Mar 4 '13 at 11:58
  • To make it short: it is possible. There is nothing technically stopping people from doing it and I have seen it happening more than once. That said, those things are reported and usually the user get a suspension as result. Bottom line: don't do it, don't try it. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 4 '13 at 12:02
  • Alternative way to cheat the rep cap: be Jon Skeet and get people to accept your answers en-mass. – Joachim Sauer Mar 4 '13 at 12:09
  • @MartijnPieters So, I can assume people are down-voting, because they think this issue does not need to be addressed? – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 12:09
  • @BillyMoon: It'll be a mixture of reasons, but at a guess some reasons would be that it's something that people feel doesn't need addressing, they feel the question isn't worded very well, or they suspect you of wanting to cheat yourself. – Martijn Pieters Mar 4 '13 at 12:14
  • @ShaWizDowArd you say it is possible, and people have been caught, but the answer from Martijn suggests that the scam would not work, as it would not affect the rep-cap... so how is it possible? – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 13:25
  • True, sorry was referring just to steps 1 to 3. :/ – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 4 '13 at 13:39
  • It would be polite if people down-voting would explicitly explain why... otherwise I am left guessing the reason... don't want other people to waste their time with this question/suspect me of cheating/encourages other people to try to cheat/not clearly written/on the wrong forum/time of the month/etc... – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 15:24
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Yes, and you will be caught. Don't do that.

Although creating a second account is of itself not against the rules, creating one to transfer bounty is seen in a rather dim light and will lead to a suspension for voting fraud.

The moderators have tools that help them detect this sort of mis-behaviour.

Besides, creating the bounty costs you reputation, so the whole thing is rather pointless. You loose 200 points only to gain them from your 'dummy' account later on. Paying for a bounty does not influence the rep cap; the cap only applies to upvotes you receive on questions and answers, acceptance votes and bounties (both paying and receiving) have no influence on the cap. Thus, paying for a 200 point bounty won't let you suddenly gain 400 points from upvotes in a day.

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  • I am not planning to do that. I am raising it here, firstly to understand how SO monitors this kind of thing - do they analyse unusual relationships between users etc... and secondly, so that there could be some preventative measure (no reciprocal bounty awards or something like that) in the system. – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 11:56
  • @BillyMoon: Without going into any detail (I am not a mod myself, so I certainly don't know all the details), yes, such behaviour is monitored for. – Martijn Pieters Mar 4 '13 at 11:58
  • The point of it, would be to temporarily transfer reputation to a dummy account, allowing the cheater to then exceed the daily rep cap, and then send the bounty back in much the same way. This would be a way to harvest unclaimed rep over the daily rep cap. – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 11:59
  • 1
    Sure, but to pay for that rep cap 'buster' you need to loose rep first. It's a zero-sum game. Paying for a bounty does not let you earn more rep that day either. – Martijn Pieters Mar 4 '13 at 12:00
  • 4
    "to understand how SO monitors this kind of thing", that is something that no-one will tell you, of course. It's kept secret to make it harder for users to circumvent. What matters is that users know what behaviors must be avoided. – Alenanno Mar 4 '13 at 12:00
  • @Alenanno keeping it secret does not seem like as string security as the open source approach to me, and adjustments to the system to ensure cheating is not possible, but if that is how it's done, it seems to be working pretty well at the moment – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 12:02
  • @MartijnPieters so giving a bounty away, does not free up space to get more rep... If that is true, it is the answer I was looking for, as it makes it impossible to gain from this scheme. Are you sure that rep lost as bounty does not free up space to gain more rep? – Billy Moon Mar 4 '13 at 12:05
  • 1
    @BillyMoon: absolutely. The cap only applies to upvotes on answers and questions. Bounties fall outside that system altogether. – Martijn Pieters Mar 4 '13 at 12:15

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