The "Reputation and Privileges" section of the Help Center is pretty much right from the FAQ - it's a little stale and could use some updating.

Also it probably makes sense for "What is Reputation" to come first in this section.

My content suggestions are in my answer below.

2 Answers 2


Content suggestions
(I've marked links with []s but not connected them anywhere since I assume there's magic markdown to make them site-agnostic/)

What is Reputation and How do I earn it?

Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you. It is earned by convincing your peers that you know what you’re talking about, mainly through posting good questions and useful answers.

All users start with one reputation point, which allows you to use the basic features of the site (asking and answering questions), and as you earn reputation you receive access to [additional abilities and privileges] on the site.

You can earn up to 200 reputation points per day.

You gain reputation when:

  • A question you asked is voted up: +5
  • An answer you gave is voted up: +10
  • An answer you gave is marked “Accepted”: +15
    • You mark an answer to one of your questions as "Accepted": +2
  • An edit you suggested edit is accepted: +2 (a maximum of +1000 total per user)
  • A bounty is awarded to your answer ([Learn more about bounties])

You lose reputation when:

  • A question you asked is voted down: −2
  • An answer you posted is voted down: −2
  • You vote down an answer: −1
  • You place a bounty on a question
  • One of your posts receives 6 spam or offensive flags: −100

A few additional notes

  • Reputation can never drop below 1.
  • Accepting your own answer does not gain you any reputation.
  • If a user reverses a vote, the corresponding reputation loss or gain will be reversed as well.
    Vote reversal as a result of voting fraud will also return lost or gained reputation.

This section looked OK - it could probably use pictures of the bounty indicator & "Set bounty" link. Reordering the sections as below might help the flow.

What are Bounties and How do they work?

A bounty is a special reputation award given to answers. It is funded by the personal reputation of the user who offers it.
If you see a question that has not gotten a satisfactory answer a bounty may help attract more attention and more answers. You can slice off anywhere from 50 to 500 points of your own hard-earn reputation, and attach it to any question as a bounty.

How do I start a bounty?

Questions become eligible for bounties two days after they are posted.

To start a bounty on an eligible question click on the "start a bounty" link at the bottom of the question and allocate anywhere between 50 and 500 reputation, in 50-point increments.
You can also choose from a list of bounty reasons to help other users understand why you’re dissatisfied with any current answers to the question. If you need to describe something in more detail, there’s also optional, additional custom text that will be displayed with the bounty reason.

What happens when I start a bounty?

When you start a bounty the reputation you are offering is deducted from your account and attached to the question.
The bountied question will then appear with a special indicator in all question lists, and it will also be visible on the homepage Featured tab for 7 days. Part of what you’re “paying for” with the bounty is to get additional attention for the question, over and beyond what a normal question gets.

How is a bounty awarded?

The bounty period lasts 7 days, and bounties must have a minimum duration of at least 1 day.
After the bounty ends, there is a grace period of 24 hours to manually award the bounty. Simply click the bounty award icon next to each answer to permanently award your bounty to the answerer.

If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with at least 2 upvotes will be awarded half the bounty amount. If there's no answer meeting that criteria, the bounty is not awarded to anyone.

If the bounty was started by the question owner, and the question owner accepts an answer during the bounty period, and the bounty expires without an explicit award – we assume the bounty owner liked the answer they accepted and award it the full bounty amount at the time of bounty expiration.

As a special bonus, any reputation earned from being awarded a bounty is exempt from the daily reputation cap.

What else do I need to know?

  • All bounties are paid for up front and non-refundable under any circumstances.
  • You may not cancel a bounty once it has been started.
  • If your new reputation brings you below the requirement for any privileges, you will lose access to those privileges.
  • Users may only have three active bounties at any given time.
  • Questions may only have one active question bounty at any given time.
  • You may not award a bounty to your own answer.
  • If you are offering a bounty on a question that you have already posted an answer to, your minimum spend is 100 reputation.
  • Remember that a bounty does not guarantee a response - it just makes a question more visible.

The language could be plainer than it is currently. Here's my suggestion on part of the bounty question.

A bounty is an amount of reputation you give to an answer. If you see a question that doesn't have a good answer, you can start a bounty to help more people see it and maybe give it more answers.

You can give anywhere from 50 to 500 of your own reputation and put it on any question you want.

And especially the sentence "All bounties are paid for up front and non-refundable under any circumstances." can be changed to "Remember: Once you give reputation to a bounty, there's no way you can get it back."

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