If I hit the reputation cap, and given out a bounty, any extra votes do not fill the gap created by the bounty, and are effectively limited by the difference between the bounty value and the regular daily 200 reputation limit.
I hit the reputation cap and accordingly got half a dozen upvotes that were gaining me no reputation.
So I thought – "Well, that's points going to waste, let me give a bounty to a good answer – I'll still get my 200 points, and a good answer will be rewarded." I found a very good answer - actually, I found five I really thought deserved recognition - and gave one a bonus, expecting that the drop in points would simply be made up from those 'wasted' votes.
But my expectation of what seems to me to be reasonable behavior was misplaced:
(You'll want to examine the image in a new window; sorry it's a bit small.)
I'm on 150 points for the day, but still not getting any points on those upvotes.
Is that really the intended behavior? It seems ... well, mean, to be honest. It's discouraging me from giving as many bonuses as I otherwise would.
Who is really missing out? Ultimately it's the site that's being hurt.
Edit for context:
The biggest problem I see facing stats.SE right now is unanswered questions. Our rate of answered questions is quite low); partly I think this is due to the particular nature of the discipline, but in any case I have a two-pronged strategy to try to help in solving that problem:
I answer lots of questions.
I give away bounties on other people's questions and answers, to make good questions that don't have good answers more visible and to reward people for taking the trouble to make really great answers. The more people who feel positive about answering, the better off the site will be.
The problem is, the rep cap regularly discourages me from doing 1. (but at least there's that Legendary badge to aim for, right? right?). Okay, fine, so when that happens, I can turn that around and do more of 2. -- help get other people excited about answering? Well, no, it seems I am stymied in both aims. I can be blocked from either receiving it or giving it away. I'd like to up the rate I do it to more than a bounty a week (I average less than that).
So much for trying to get more of those questions answered. I guess they just go begging and bad luck for the >30% of questions that go unanswered.
Stacked against this well-recognized problem I am trying like hell to reduce any way I can, we have ... a "problem" that I've never seen any evidence of at all, some kind of theoretical abuse that is pretty clearly a non-problem for stats.SE.
So why not let me give some of those otherwise-lost points away and encourage more and better answers?
(There seems to be some tendency to regard any use of excess over 200 as both 'unearned' and somehow undeserved, no matter who might benefit. That strikes me as a rather odd, even misanthropic way to view things. People voted my answers up, but right now nobody gets a benefit from it - I just want to let their votes for my answers be used for something that will help the site be better, instead of effectively going down the drain like now. Heck, I'd be more than happy if those points were made available for the mods to spend on bounties. At least someone would get some joy from the combined efforts of my answers and the people that took the trouble to use their votes to say they were good answers. I don't see how there's anything undeserved anywhere along the line.)
Ultimately it doesn't deprive me of gains (except for this once, since I won't be trying that again) – but instead deprives the people who would otherwise get well-deserved recognition for their questions and answers any time I hit the cap and then got a few more upvotes. [I see easily half a dozen highly deserving answers or questions every week. In a good week I might actually offer a bonus on one of them . Where's the abuse if once in a couple of months, a second one of the half dozen really deserving posts got a bonus in the same week - on the back of upvotes people already took the trouble to award?]
If that is the presently intended behavior, why can we not change it?
If there is even a potential abuse, how much of a danger is it really, compared to the benefit to the site, which clearly needs more encouragement of good answers?
Could the present behavior of the site be altered if some conditions are met that make whatever abuses there might be (however distant they are in reality) seem less of a threat?
I'd love to give people more bounties* and share the wealth around.
*(I already give more bounties on other people's questions than anyone else on stats.stackexchange - the top "investor", if you will. It seems to be counterproductive to discourage me and presumably others from doing more of that. There are people giving good answers out there and they deserve lots of encouragement to do it more. There are people asking good questions that are begging for decent answers. I want to help them more. Changing this would sure help me do my bit to improve the answer rate.)