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Let's say a user has 2 accounts. The main account has asked a question which is unanswered. Now, is it allowed for the user to start a bounty on that question using the 2nd account given the following points:

  1. Both main account and alt have enough rep to start a bounty
  2. No voting fraud has happened in getting the rep on alt account
  3. In the end the alt account loses rep, technically losing the rep you have earned
  4. Main account doesn't get the bounty points anyway. Only the attraction for the question.

4 Answers 4

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No, this should not be allowed.

You and your sock-puppet would be able to keep the question bountied for way longer than you would with a single account. The default rule is:

if the second account allows you to do something on the site that your normal account would be prevented from doing, it is abuse.

(emphasis original)

Your main and your alt account would be able to start new bounties without the immediate higher 'cost' to start the next bounty. Regular users looking for answers to questions don't have that benefit.

There is no issue with having two or more accounts. Just don't come near posts that belong to your alternate accounts. That prevents mishaps, accidents, interference and rules for every cornercase for possible abuse.

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  • 1
    Also, as I commented on Glorfindel's answer, an alternate account can have more ways than your main account to legitimately earn rep - such as by suggesting edits where the main account already has the privilege to make binding edits that don't earn rep. This would therefore allow someone to "shield" their main account from losing privileges they'd otherwise lose if they only used their main account. Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:48
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog as long as we agree you should not be allowed to start a bounty with your alt on your own question I can only welcome more arguments.
    – rene
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:54
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I'd say it isn't in the spirit of the rules - and generally you'd want to avoid interacting with the same post with two different accounts.

In situations where you're doing something like using the association reputation for bounties - you're also essentially 'misusing' reputation from an account you care less about .

You're also getting the benefits of the bounty (attention) without the drawbacks (especially if the reputation drop makes you lose some privileges) on one of your own questions.

Its just messy.

As someone who does have an alternate account (for untrusted PCs) and occasionally offers bounties from it - if you're maintaining two accounts, you absolutely need to be careful and above board on things. Offering a bounty on your own question with another account dosen't feel that way.

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Both main account and alt has enough rep to start a bounty

Yes, but posting a bounty causes a reputation decrease and possibly loss of privileges. There's also the implied message that two users (the author and the bounty giver) find the question important - similar to the case where somebody posts an answer using an alternate account to avoid self-answering. I'm not sure if it's outright forbidden by the canonical list, but I wouldn't risk it.

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  • "posting a bounty causes a reputation+privilege decrease and possibly loss of privileges" if the bounty giver doesn't mind the reputation loss. I also went through a couple of meta posts but couldn't find how this works as sockpuppet
    – binga58
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:14
  • If you don't mind the reputation loss, why don't you post the bounty with your main account?]
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:15
  • Sorry i meant the reputation loss on the alt account
    – binga58
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:15
  • Yeah, nobody minds reputation loss on their alt accounts - that's why they're alt accounts. I meant the possible consequences for the main account, of course ...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:17
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    It could be abused to shield the main account owner from losing reputation. Even if a user earns the reputation legitimately on the alternate account, it could be using means the main account can no longer use. As an example, one can suggest edits through the alternate account and offer a bounty with that reputation, while the main account already has the privilege to edit posts without needing approval and won't earn rep. That's most definitely falls into the definition of illegitimate use of multiple accounts, which is to do something you wouldn't be able to do with just your main account. Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:17
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog that makes more sense
    – binga58
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 13:20
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  1. Main account doesn't get the bounty points anyway.

Except on the worst case, when you suddenly find the answer by yourself, you might "accidentally" post an answer using your main account and get the automatic bounty reward (note that you cannot prevent the automatic rewarding). Of course you can delete the answer and nullify the rep from the bounty afterward, but the suspicious history cannot be removed from your accounts anymore.

This can only be prevented by answering using the alt account (because bounty giver cannot get back the bounty), or otherwise have to wait until the bounty period is finished.

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