A well(?)-known problem for new users is placing bounties to get better answers. While it is justifiable to prevent just anyone off the interwebz to come in and start offering bounties, it is also the case that a, say, < 1000 reputation user (which is the vast majority IIANM), will be hesitant to sacrifice 5% or 10% of his virtual worldly possessions on a bounty. This is doubly true since new(ish) users are often incapable of estimating whether a bounty will 'pay off' reputation wise.

I know this point has been discussed elsewhere already, but here's a somewhat different suggestion: group bounty sponsoring.

Why should only a single user be allowed to offer a bounty? Each user could contribute an arbitrary number of reputation points to a bounty pool (but not more than the maximum bounty value of course); and the OP can choose to start a bounty with the pool of contributions plus something of his own (what this "something" is needs further development).


  • A benefit of this mechanism is that, say, 10 newbies can easily sponsor a bounty with 5 rep each.
  • Reputation is not actually subtracted from the contributors until a bounty is actually offered.
  • This mechanism is not really specific to new users, but since veteran users usually have reputation to spare they can just pay for the bounty themselves. So it's bounty reform to "aid the suffering masses", to use populist rhetoric.
  • Haven't given enough though to the case of users others than the OP wanting to utilize the pool to offer a bounty. Maybe the contributors can choose to offer the bounty without the OP's decision?
  • Another benefit is maintaining new users' sense of self-respect. Some suggestions regarding this issue sound almost like begging for alms.
  • What/who decides who gets to pick from the rep-pool? – Mat Mar 20 '13 at 20:42
  • Who would award the bounty? How would users notify others of the partially sponsored bounty to attract additional contributions? – Martin Smith Mar 20 '13 at 20:42
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    Nice effort but honestly it's just too complicated in my opinion. Those 10 newbiews who think the question is good enough to deserve a bounty can upvote (for free) giving the OP 50 reputation he can then spend on bounty. Problem solved! – ShaWiz Mar 20 '13 at 20:47
  • It sounds too complicated. It will be hard to explain to newbies what's going on. – Victor Ronin Mar 20 '13 at 21:26
  • @VictorRonin: Bounties are not so simple as they are now. If newbies don't get it, they'll just not get themselves involved. – einpoklum Mar 20 '13 at 23:36
  • @ShaWizDowArd: That's a good point. However, the user does not have an indication that s/he is being encouraged to place a bounty by the upvotes. Also, why should he lose his +50 on a bounty? He barely has anything to begin with. – einpoklum Mar 20 '13 at 23:38
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    @einpoklum He should spend his 50 rep on a bounty if he values an answer to the question more than the privileges that 50 rep would give him. If he's just mildly curious, that may not be the case. If it's a problem that's been causing him to lose sleep over, he'll give up the mere 50 rep in a second to get his answer. – Servy Mar 20 '13 at 23:44

It's already possible for users to place bounties on another person's question. If someone wants a question you posted to have more attention though a bounty then can just post their own bounty, there's no need for the complexity of them putting rep in a pool for you to post your own bounty.

Beyond that, the extent of the suggestion seems to be pretty much that the minimum bounty amount be lowered from 50 to 5. If that happened you'd just see a flood of very tiny bounties and bounties in general would get a lot less attention (or people would just sort by the amount awarded and the small bounties wouldn't get the added attention).

  • It's not possible for users to place bounties other people's questions, because users don't have enough reputation to do that. Only about 5% of users can do this, and even among users with significant reputation, under 50% can do this without sacrificing a huge chunk of their reputation. Also, you're straw-manning me by saying what my suggestion "seems to be pretty much". The minimum bounty will not be lowered to to 5. Anyway I would not be averse to raising the minimum over 50 (maybe 75?) to balance the effect somewhat. – einpoklum Mar 20 '13 at 23:35
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    @einpoklum The vast majority of users of the site have 1 rep. In the eyes of the site they have made no valuable contribution whatsoever. Do you think that they should have a means of ensuring that their questions are more visible than others? If so, no questions will be more visible than any others. You need to remove those users from your stats for them to mean anything. – Servy Mar 20 '13 at 23:40
  • @einpoklum If your concern is about simply getting your questions answered then what do you need your rep for anyway? What's more important to you, having your question answered or being able to edit posts? (Neither is wrong. We're letting you choose.) Apparently for you having moderation privileges, such as being able to edit posts, means more to you than getting your question answered. That's fine, but that's the choice you've made. If all you're really concerned with is getting your questions answered spend your rep on bounties instead. If you want both, contribute more to the site. – Servy Mar 20 '13 at 23:42
  • I feel we're just getting into a personal argument, so, I respect your position, but disagree, and would also like to hear other opinions. – einpoklum Mar 21 '13 at 8:12

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