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Only apply the rep cap to score from votes

Lately I've been frustrated that some questions (e.g. about unusual technologies) can take a long time to get answered. So I've been thinking of what SO can do to help, specifically what can be done to motivate answerers to answer even more questions.

Even though now I'm mostly an asker, in a lull at work last year I spent a few months answering a lot of SO questions, so I'm also familiar with the mindset of the frequent answerers who probably account for a big % of SO's answers.

Based on that experience, I've got a suggestion for SO: remove the impact of bounties on the daily rep cap, so top answerers will be more motivated to answer questions.

Today, if an answerer gets a bounty, they are locked out of upvote rep until the next UTC day. Some saintly answerers may ignore this, but I'm embarrassed to admit I'm not one of them. When I was doing a lot of answering I got really lazy the day I won a bounty. Also, simply having an outstanding bounty answer made me less excited to answer other questions for a few days, as I never knew when the bounty would appear and make the rest of my day rep-less.

None of this stopped me from answering easy questions. But for hard questions requring an hour to build a SQL query or code sample answer, knowing there was less/no rep involved sometimes made me put off the extra effort. I know this is a selfish and mercenary reaction, but I also suspect it's also not uncommon.

This change has been requested many times before. And I can understand SO's relunctance to make the change because it seems like the main beneficiaries are top answerers who are complaining about getting "only" 200 rep per day.

But I really think this change could also help folks like me who just want to get their questions answered more quickly. How about it?

  • 2
    Are you saying that if you win a bounty early in the day then you don't get any rep from other answers? If so then formulate your bounty answer, but hold off posting it until late in the day. I know it's not foolproof as it depends on when the OP accepts the answer, but it might be an interesting experiment.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 29, 2010 at 11:18
  • 2
    Just to point out I thought that rep from bounties doesn't count towards the rep cap.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 29, 2010 at 11:21
  • Do you have evidence that many people active in "unusual technologies" hit the rep cap very often? Most of he people I am aware hit the rep cap regularly do so in the big tags. When I look at the winners of the Legendary badge I see c, c++, java, php, jquery, c# .net, linq, python, and so on as their big subjects. Jan 29, 2010 at 17:14
  • @ChrisF - yep, it's the "early in the day" case. Holding off posting doesn't help because for most bounty questions, the OP waits until the last day to accept it. Plus, the whole idea of holding off on any answer is counter to the way that SO should work. Incentives should encourage people to answer faster, not slower! ;-) Jan 29, 2010 at 22:12
  • @dmckee - Good question. Personally (warning: sample size of one!), when I was answering alot, I did a lot of trolling through older questions and trying to answer them. So I tended to answer a lot of unusual questions. no idea how common this use-case is on SO. But now that I'm asking unusual questions, I definitely want to see more motivated answerers! Jan 29, 2010 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


I don't think you can get over the unusual technology effect by simply adding a bonus.

  • I've actually had great experiences with giving bounties-- even the hardest questions get at least a few answers. The problem I was referring to was different: the implementation of bounty awars may cause answerers to delay answering questions. That's bad. Feb 2, 2010 at 1:57

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