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I just noticed new activity on a post, and it turns out to be a bounty.

Which tools and technologies are used to build the Stack Exchange Network?

The specific user offering the bounty has accounts on multiple sites and all appear to be requesting deletion given the account name and the account's "about me".

The account on Mathematics.SE also has offered 3 500 rep bounties, so it appear as if the user is trying to dump all of his rep before leaving the site.

Does the community think this is acceptable behavior? On the surface, I am a bit conflicted. It feels wrong as if the user wasn't trying to delete his/her account, he wouldn't be offering the bounties. But at the same time, it is his rep that he earned, and if he thinks the answers he awards the bounties too are worth it, then it is his decision to with it what he wants.

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    If the bounty goes to legit answerers and not new sock puppets of the user, I don't think there is a problem – Pekka Feb 8 '14 at 14:13
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    On the other hand, @Pëkka, it seems on Meta the bounty is just the value of the association award. Now, if only the Meta account was marked for deletion, then this could go on forever... ;-) – Arjan Feb 8 '14 at 14:19
  • @Arjan lool, I'm sure that could be automated into a rep-making machine! – Pekka Feb 8 '14 at 14:20
  • And, @Pëkka, you've still not succeeded in deleting your accounts? ;-) – Arjan Feb 8 '14 at 14:22
  • @Årjan only 120 more bounties to go. Any day now.... – Pekka Feb 8 '14 at 14:23
  • the account is now suspended? I assume no bounties can be awarded in that case? – rene Feb 8 '14 at 14:27
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    Ah, that's new to me: "temporarily suspended network-wide". Didn't know that exists. (Might be a compromised account; suspending might limit any damage then.) – Arjan Feb 8 '14 at 14:41
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    I have done this in my Travel.SE account, I have spent a large part of my rep on bounties before I deleted my previous account. I chose some of the best answers on the site and gave them bounties. It felt good :) – Nean Der Thal Feb 8 '14 at 14:58
  • @MIH that's a good point, but there's a difference between leaving a single site and donating your rep to other members with good quality posts, and rage-quitting all sites and giving the rep away. At least when you are still part of SE, you would have more incentive to maintain the quality of the sites even if you are leaving one specific one. – psubsee2003 Feb 8 '14 at 16:52
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    It's possibly a partial workaround to your votes being deleted when your account is; why should your past exercise of judgement suddenly count for nothing? – jscs Feb 8 '14 at 19:46
  • @Josh very interesting. I had not considered that aspect. Certainly a valid reason to not worry about it – psubsee2003 Feb 8 '14 at 20:29
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    @JoshCaswell This particular case does not look like it: the user did not ever vote or participate in any way on most of the sites. He used association bonus to set 37 bounties on different sites in quick succession. The bounties were set to high-profile well-answered questions, usually old, with lots of upvotes already existing, and no obvious need for additional reward. This looks borderline abusive use of the system to me, to go around the network bumping questions like that. – How About a Nice Big Cup of Feb 8 '14 at 21:35
  • That's interesting, @user127096, and does seem to indicate trouble. I had assumed for some reason that this was a more established user. – jscs Feb 9 '14 at 3:48
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    If somebody decides to quite a or all SE site (s) and to use all of his reputation to help questions get (better) answers by setting bounties, this is explusively his personal business and no reason for others to interfer. – Dilaton Feb 9 '14 at 5:33
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    @user127096 there is nothing wrong with awarding good content even further by additional bounties, it is his own personal call. Sometimes I am really buffled how fast MSO rather highly reputed people are with thinking the worst about other people they dont know; talking about abuse, Sock puppets as Pekka claims, etc ... – Dilaton Feb 9 '14 at 5:42
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It depends. I see two main possibilities here, one is acceptable and the other is not, in my opinion.

Acceptable - giving some thought and awarding only good answers.

If the user gives some thought to where to start bounties, and award it to good answers, I believe this is acceptable, and shouldn't be flagged or stopped.

Unacceptable - starting a bounty on random questions, awarding to bad answers.

This is not different from voting random posts (either up or down), regardless of their actual content. Votes should indicate the quality of a post and how useful it is - random votes hinder this, and send false signals. While bounty does not affect the post score, many people still see this is indication for good answer, not to mention the reputation award that if given to bad answers is just wrong. Such behavior should be flagged and stopped, moderator can cancel active bounties, and suspend such a user, until their account is deleted, to prevent further abuse.


Bottom line - generally speaking, it can be appropriate as long as it's not just random awarding of reputation.

  • Given the context of the original question, i 'd suggest adding one more exception..... someone who is abusing the association bonus to get free rep to farm out. But otherwise, you are correct – psubsee2003 Feb 4 '17 at 21:56
  • @psubsee2003 I think this specific thing was reported after you posted this and addressed not long ago, will try to find the relevant question and link to it. (Assuming you mean giving +100 bounty, deleting the account, then creating the account again, getting +100 again, starting another bounty etc.) – Shadow The Burning Wizard Feb 4 '17 at 22:08
  • as memory serves, the individual in question was creating accounts on random sites just to give a 100 rep bounty, so this wasn't about deleting and recreating accounts on the same site, but rather speaking out and on multiple sites – psubsee2003 Feb 5 '17 at 0:09
  • @psubsee2003 oh, that falls under the first case, assuming the chosen questions/answers were good to begin with. Many people use the association bonus to bump questions they have personal interest in, and it's totally fine in my opinion. :) – Shadow The Burning Wizard Feb 5 '17 at 7:06

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