Suppose A answers question Q with a clever answer. Then, to gain more reputation, A starts a bounty for 50 points on Q with the expectation (it's a gamble) that the extra attention will collect at least 5 upvotes for A's answer. A can't award the bounty to his or her own answer, of course, but still comes out with more reputation (assuming that the extra attention was effective in collecting at least 5 votes).
On one hand, if the answer is good, then it's nice that the answer (and other answers that may get provided) and the question get more attention.
On the other hand, this seems like reputation gaming, and a bit sketchy. More importantly, it means that starting a bounty can cause a net gain in reputation for the bounty starter, meaning that there's incentive for every answerer (with confidence in the quality of their answer) to do this, thus lowering the value of the bounty system (since so many questions would receive bounties).
Has this been addressed somehow? Should it be?
- I haven't actually observed this anywhere, but I haven't looked for it either.