I would very much appreciate any help. And to first person that gives me the solution, I'll send two $50 iTunes Store gift cards for US store. If this offends anyone, I am truly sorry and I apologize.

This guy offered $100 of iTunes US gift vouchers to whoever can answer his question. I feel that this kind of goes against the grain of the good nature of SOFU. Now I certainly wasn't offended about his offer, but I felt my 'edit' finger begin itching, begging to remove the statement, knowing full well that he would get an answer with or without the incentive.

I left it in, because it's really none of my business (I don't live in the US so the additional bounty is useless to me anyway), but let's pretend that I DID remove it. Would you be outraged, or feel that this was acceptable?


5 Answers 5


I think it should be edited out.

There's always the possibility that the offer isn't even genuine. But assuming it's legit, it's essentially hiring someone to solve a problem. The place for hiring someone isn't within a question, it's elsewhere.

That being said, I don't have a problem if the question asker wants to offer something extra for an excellent answer, but it should be done outside the construct of the site, as a reward for a good answer, not a motivation to give a good answer. We already have bounties for that (although in this case the user is new/low-rep, this situation could potentially apply to anyone).

  • What's wrong about offering money for someone's answer? Commented Nov 14, 2021 at 18:13

It's spam! Die die die!

Well, not so much. But I'd be worried about the legal aspects of bartering for services on SOFU, so I'd remove it.

Edit (Chacha): I believe this picture explains what should happen to it quite nicely:

rock, paper, scissors

  • 7
    I will kill you, Chacha.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 2:21
  • wtf? Did someones brawl just end up in this question? Then again, it IS friday... Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 2:24
  • I broke the rules of comments twice. First, I posted so it broke the layout. Second, I broke the minimum character limit. Yay! Ooops .. I guess my comments won't wrap anymore. Oh wells. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 2:24
  • I think you found a CSS bug in the comment system. I think max-width is missing! Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 2:24
  • 2
    @Farseeker: it's thursday here. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 2:25
  • @George it is a known bug. Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 2:25
  • 5
    rock paper scissors lizard spock
    – juan
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 14:32

I think that you should edit it out. There is a bounty system in place, extending it into real things is a decision for the site owners.

Leaving in external bounties would encourage people to offer further inducements to answer questions - which if they were not then actually produced then the site offering them would be blamed as much as the person offering the bogus bounty.

Also would people eventually start offering those 'free' computers and other spam like hooks?


I must disagree here. Let me go through what appear to be the objections and rebut them:

  • It's "illegal" (against rules/TOS).
  • SO is not a place to hire someone
  • Such behavior provides incentives for behavior detrimental to SO
  • It's against the "spirit of SO"

With the possible caveat of "assuming this does not pose legal issues for SO parent company", this is:

  • Not against any of the stated rules.

    I will delete this post and STFU if someone will point me to proof that this is against the written rules.

  • SO is not a place to hire someone

    SO is a place to have people answer questions other people ask. The answerers are already compensated - the rep has some utility value, even though it's not directly monetized. (personally, a large incentive for me to asnwer questions is the fact that getting rep for them might provide me with bonus points on future job searches).

    The only difference between offering a rep bonus and a monetary bonus is the fact that the former is enforced by the system, but the latter is not. (this is really the ONLY way in which "not a place to hire" is true - AFAIK such offers would not constitute a legally binding contract and can't be legally enforced).

  • Such behavior provides incentives for behavior detrimental to SO

    How so?

    Would prohibiting such an offer prevent someone from posting their question on SO? No.

    Would prohibiting such an offer cause someone to change their asking or answering behavior on other questions? No.

    The only difference in behavior that such an offer would elicit would be a potential effort by someone to try and answer the question which is so difficult that nobody would otherwise bother wasting their time on it - with the only net effect being a complicated question getting an answer, thus adding to useful content of SO

  • It's against the "spirit of SO"

    This one is kind of subjective, but I feel it's objectively supported by bullet points above.

  • 1
    A well thought-out answer Commented Mar 21, 2010 at 21:17
  • blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/05/…
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Mar 21, 2010 at 21:52
  • @Jon Seigel - I'm sorry, I'm not quite sure which parts of CC license are at odds with offering monetary bounty. The only possible issue would be with the use of the answer-code-snippets (I'm not certain if it's legal or not), and that is 100% independent of whether there was a monetary bounty or not.
    – DVK
    Commented Mar 22, 2010 at 0:00
  • @JonSeigel That blog post is about the way the official Stack Exchange podcasts are licensed. It has nothing to do with the way user-contributed content on Stack Exchange is licensed, which is different. Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 7:41

My advice would be to let it be.

The 2 questions that I've posted so far on SO were so difficult that on one, we spent a week on the phone with Microsoft. The other one appears to be related to the group policy enforced lock down of the internal clients when combined with https.

For either of those questions, offering $100 might have got an answer faster, and sure would have been cheaper than the efforts needed to get an answer.

  • 4
    The proper way to encourage answers for really difficult questions is to offer a bounty.
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 19, 2010 at 18:29

You must log in to answer this question.

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