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.
  • I was actually just thinking about doing this to one of the questions I answered. – Josh Crozier Sep 18 '13 at 19:10
  • I've written some nice (in my opinion) answers to some crummy questions, too, and it seems like it'd be an effective way to aim for the reversal badge. You'd get those upvotes for the answer, and the downvotes for the question. :) – Joshua Taylor Sep 18 '13 at 19:13
  • I think I've had it happen where I've put a bounty on a question, and gained the reputation back via up votes on a linked/related post. Not directly related, but, well; what Affable Geek said below :) – Andrew Barber Sep 18 '13 at 19:14
  • 1
    I just voted to close. That's the duplicate I couldn't find. – Joshua Taylor Sep 18 '13 at 19:15
  • There's also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/105275/… – ale Sep 18 '13 at 19:18
  • How is that different than starting a bounty on my own question in the hopes I'll get ten upvotes from it and earn the bounty back? We don't require a question to have no answers, or no accepted answer, or no upvoted answer etc etc to start a bounty on it. Sure, most askers put a bounty in the hope of attracting an answer, but it's not a requirement. And some answerers bounty because it's a topic they care about and they hope to attract an even better answer! – Kate Gregory Sep 18 '13 at 19:59

Totally legitimate. There's a reason the badge you get for your first bounty is called "Investor".

In the end, only quality answers will be rewarded for this. If the goal is to reward quality, then "Mission Accomplished. "

  • I tend to answer questions in some tags that don't get a lot of attention, and don't have a lot of users. That means there isn't a whole lot of competition on the answers, so it seems like an easy way to profit (if someone is going to upvote an answer, there are only so many answer to upvote). – Joshua Taylor Sep 18 '13 at 19:17
  • @JoshuaTaylor Well, bounties tend to attract people to write up new answers to post, not just more views and voters. It's not unlikely that a new, better, answer will be posted to try to get that bounty. – Servy Sep 18 '13 at 19:19
  • @Servy That'd be a nice result, or even if people simply learned more about the technology. In some of the much smaller tags, though, I don't know whether many, or any, new answers would appear. – Joshua Taylor Sep 18 '13 at 19:24

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .