My rep went over 2,000 today which meant I could edit other people's posts. Great! Then I added a bounty to a previous question, which brought me back down to 1,984...and I can no longer edit other posts. Should this changed? Or is this ideal?

  • Duplicate? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/11930/… – ChrisF Mod Aug 3 '09 at 20:27
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    @ChrisF, I asked mine in mid-july, the other was asked 8 hours ago. Mine isn't the dup ;) – Sampson Aug 4 '09 at 0:48
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    Up to 85K now, with a diamond. Good to see you got those edit privileges back :-P – Adam Rackis Feb 13 '13 at 17:21
  • Yep @AdamRackis :P do you even remember asking this question, Jonathan? :P – Doorknob Feb 14 '13 at 0:43
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    @nic you know it's pointless, right? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Jun 9 '14 at 16:30
  • @ShadowWizard Nope. I would have much more privileges now )). As 4,4k user. And you up voted, so you like (this) idea. – nicael Jun 9 '14 at 17:10
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    @nicael but this isn't even a feature request. Chance this idea will come true is very close to 0. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Jun 9 '14 at 19:51
  • @ShadowWizard "Chance this idea will come true is very close to 0" doesn't mean that it is not a feature request. – nicael Jun 9 '14 at 20:01
  • @nicael no, I was referring to the fact this question is not tagged with feature-request. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Jun 9 '14 at 20:02
  • @ShadowWizard So what we are waiting for?? Lets tag it!!! – nicael Jun 9 '14 at 20:04
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    @nicael sorry, just adding the tag isn't enough. And I don't feel comfortable to change the whole question - feel free to start a new feature request asking to implement the idea discussed here. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Jun 9 '14 at 20:09
  • we may just have found the way to bring Skeet closer to us normal users: make him give away some bounties: he should suddenly become less trustworthy. Jokes aside, seems far from ideal. – SPArcheon Nov 23 '16 at 19:12

11 Answers 11


Based on Jeff's explanation of the community and hit points and privileges it sounds like SO does not work correctly.

The way it works now a user is to be trusted LESS for giving away bounty points - even though he is participating even more in the community. Jeff has repeatedly stated that hitpoints and privileges are an indicator of how much the site "Trusts" a user.

I'd argue that once you reach a threshold it is more consistent with Jeff's statements that the privileges be left intact even if the hitpoints go below that threshold.

For example - if a user has 12000 hitpoints and then decides to give away 10000 in bounty for a bunch of questions, how does this affect their level of commitment to the site and the community's level of trust? It shouldn't.

I think the functionality is broken.

In reality this is probably not a big deal. No one is spending that much on bounties and most people will continue to gain hitpoints and will not likely lose so much that they can't get back to where they were in short order.

Again, fundamentally, the current policy is inconsistent with Jeff's comments on hitpoints and privileges .

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    +1 for illuminating the issue as a concept, but also for tempering the content by noting that, for the most part, it's probably not a big deal. I agree with both sides. – beska Aug 7 '09 at 18:11
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    Why should asking a question, and awarding points, make the system trust you more? SO has got to have a system, and the more transparent and simple it is, the better. The more semi-opaque if-then-else rules magically confuse people. E.g.: Confusion of how The Populist badge works – Stu Thompson Nov 3 '09 at 21:35
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    Um, Jeff has made the statement that the system trusts you more the more effort (posts, votes, etc) you put into it. Those are not my words. – tim Nov 3 '09 at 23:08
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    Yes, I think the same - the concept is broken. See my answer. – Tomas Aug 10 '11 at 14:51
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    I strongly agree. How about creating a badge for people who lose their priledges after giving bounties? – raphink Apr 2 '12 at 12:08
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    @ℝaphink, Yes we need a badge for everything. Including a badge for having no badges. – Pacerier Jun 9 '14 at 17:47
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    "No one is spending that much on bounties" tex.stackexchange.com/q/134638/9517 – T. Verron Nov 21 '14 at 9:05

What's the point of putting your reputation on the line for a bounty if there is no consequence of losing it?

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    I think he is upset that he lost his privileges and not his rep. – TheTXI Jul 13 '09 at 15:43
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    Good point. I was making a distinction between points/abilities, but they are interdependent. – Sampson Jul 13 '09 at 15:43
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    Not upset - I'll have it again tomorrow. Just curious. – Sampson Jul 13 '09 at 15:44
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    @answer: there are many other consequences losing rep. But privileges should be based not on the current rep level, but on how much we TRUST the user. See tim's answer or mine. – Tomas Aug 10 '11 at 15:01
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    @Tomas: And rep is our current (crude) way to measure that trust. You want to add another rep-mechanic which diverges in some significant but subtle points from the public one we have? That looks ... complicated and rather pointless. – Deduplicator Mar 11 '16 at 13:48
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    I just say that max reputation ever reached is much much better way to measure that trust than current reputation. Does anyone lose our trust by spending rep on bounties? It is much less complicated to keep privileges once reached than removing them. – Tomas Mar 15 '16 at 17:52

From the description of privileges, it says that reputation is a measure of:

  • How much the community trusts you
  • Your communication skills
  • The quality and relevancy of your questions and answers

Placing a bounty on a question doesn't change any of these above characteristics. Therefore, retracting any privilege in this case doesn't make sense to me.

Most privileges are offered to empower the person to make even larger contributions to the community, and the hope is that (s)he has gained the trust to do so appropriately. Just because (s)he has placed a bounty on a question doesn't make him/her any "less trustworthy".

On the other hand, if your reputation decreases because of poor questions/answers (or similar), then it is true that your trust within the community and the quality of your answers has decreased, and so should your reputation points and privileges.

Perhaps there should be a finer distinction made between the two cases?

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    -1 Nope The whole point of a bounty is that you are making a sacrifice to draw attention to a question. If you can post unlimited bounties but still keep all your privileges, what's the point? – JNK May 7 '12 at 15:51
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    @JNK, It's the rep we are sacrificing, not the privileges gained. The currency is the rep and the rep alone. – Pacerier Jun 9 '14 at 17:43
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    @Pacerier the rep only has demonstrable utility in that it grants privileges. If giving up rep doesn't cost you anything beyond make-believe internet points then a bounty is not a sacrifice at all. – JNK Jun 9 '14 at 17:46
  • @JNK, Your claim that "the rep only has demonstrable utility in that it grants privileges" is demonstrably false. It doesn't even pass the laughing test so I'm not going to explain why. Tldr people gain rep for the sake of gaining reputation (among other things). msmvps.com/blogs/jon_skeet/archive/2009/01/15/… – Pacerier Jun 9 '14 at 18:12
  • As much fun as it is to argue with people who can't read on 2 year old posts, I'll pass! FYI "for the sake of gaining reputation" is not a demonstrable utility since it can't be, you know, demonstrated. Have fun tilting at windmills though. – JNK Jun 9 '14 at 18:15
  • @JNK, As much fun as it is to respond to ab absurdo comments with ab absurdo replies, I'll pass and provide logical reasoning in its stead: It can be demonstrated that rep is used to gain reputation. Is Jon Skeet's rep not a factor to his reputation (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9134/jon-skeet-facts )? Is Nick Craver's rep not a factor to his employment at SE (blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/… )? – Pacerier Jun 9 '14 at 20:07
  • If there's no reason to gain rep other than to get privileges, why does anybody bother past 25k? Clearly for at least some people the number is itself satisfying, and giving some of it up in a bounty is meaningful. – Monica Cellio Apr 2 '18 at 22:25

I think that it's ideal. That way, if somebody's gotten up to 2,000 rep, and then all of the sudden gets downvoted to oblivion (or Bolivian, depending on your preference), then they should lose that editing privilege.

However, you did do this to yourself, which remains slightly amusing. I'll give you a +1 to get back to that point, though, since distinguishing between voting and bounty rep may be a good idea, as has been brought up by folks who hit the rep cap quickly after garnering a bounty in the morning.

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    for downvoting yes, but for bounties there's absolutely no reason we should stop to trust the user and withdraw his privileges. See tim's answer or mine. – Tomas Aug 10 '11 at 14:58
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    For us readers in the future: bounties do not effect the rep cap in any way – Ben Brocka Jun 19 '12 at 10:47

I don't think this should be changed. If you drop below a specific threshold I do not believe that you should continue to have those abilities. If it was just a fluke occurrence, it should not be difficult to get yourself boosted back up above the mark again.

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    At least this property should have been documented. – akarnokd Jul 13 '09 at 18:29
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    It shouldn't necessarily have to be documented. When it says that certain privileges are allowed for users over X amount of rep, it would be easy to assume that once you drop below X rep, you no longer have those privileges. – TheTXI Jul 13 '09 at 18:33
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    Common sense should not have to be documented. – GEOCHET Jul 13 '09 at 18:33
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    The problem stems from the fact that what seems like common sense to one person is not common sense to another. Yes, I know, Rich B., everything is completely obvious to you, and everyone who has another point of view is a moron who lacks your "common sense". Nevertheless, I could easily imagine making a convincing argument that the privs should stay after the reputation goes down because of a bounty. I'm not saying it's the ideal or better solution, but one could certainly make a case for it. Get off your high horse. (no offense to TheTXI) – beska Aug 7 '09 at 18:08
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    Ponies are designed to be fairly short. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 18:31
  • Good point. I stand corrected. (And, btw, I agree with you...while it might be a nice feature to have, I don't realistically see it as a significant problem for people that earn their rep.) – beska Aug 7 '09 at 18:41
  • @GEOCHET, It's actually more common sense that once a person has achieved the ability to edit, that ability should not be removed after he offers a rep bounty. – Pacerier Jun 9 '14 at 17:14
  • @Pacerier: Nonsense. All privileges are based on rep. Lose the rep, lose the privilege. – GEOCHET Jun 12 '14 at 15:07
  • @GEOCHET, I'm aware that's the current situation. I'm saying it's more aligned with POLA that gained privileges are not removed just because of a bounty offer. – Pacerier Jun 12 '14 at 22:32
  • @Pacerier: Nonsense. That doesn't even make sense. You have to ignore the entire way that these sites work to even think that. – GEOCHET Jun 16 '14 at 13:40
  • @GEOCHET, Why do we have to ignore the entire way that these sites work to have it aligned with POLA? – Pacerier Jun 16 '14 at 20:11
  • @Pacerier: TDEMSYR. – GEOCHET Jun 30 '14 at 20:20
  • @GEOCHET, It's been 3 comments yet you haven't made a single point besides ab absurdo remarks. – Pacerier Jun 30 '14 at 23:11
  • @Pacerier: Likely because you are arguing on a thread that is 5 years old where everything has already been argued and you have brought nothing to the conversation. – GEOCHET Jul 1 '14 at 15:07
  • @GEOCHET, It's easy to prove that your claim "everything has already been argued" is not true. I'm aware that the thread is 5 years old. That fact doesn't invalidate my point. – Pacerier Jul 2 '14 at 9:08

By my opinion, it would be more natural if the privileges are persistent once gained. The user is given privileges once he was "tested" by the community, for being trustworthy. He has to spend some time at the site to gain reputation and see how it works.

Once we consider person trustworthy, what makes him untrustworthy when he spends his reputation on bounties? Does he become a beginner then? Will he suddenly forget everything he learned at SO?

P.S.: I would understand it for negative points from downvotes (or penalties, if there are any). But when placing bounties.... or when your answers are migrated (I don't know if you lose points in this situation) I don't really see any reason to lose privileges.


I'd think it fair -- after all, if you'd lost the reputation through a string of downvoting, where the community is showing they're losing faith, it would seem silly to retain "superpowers" (read: extra features entrusted to the more widely respected members of the community)

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    You need a lot of downvotes to lose significant rep – Casebash Oct 26 '09 at 9:19
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    for downvoting yes, but for bounties there's absolutely no reason we should stop trusting the user. See tim's answer or mine. – Tomas Aug 10 '11 at 14:54

It should be like Phase-locked loop.

Say you cross reputation score of 2000 and you got edit privileges. These privileges should remain unless you go below 1800. And those will be granted again at 2000.

  • What has this got to do with phase-locked loop? O.o – Pacerier Jun 9 '14 at 17:17
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    The engineering term being sought is hysteresis. – Ben Voigt Jun 9 '14 at 19:14

From my point of view I prefer KISS at it is.
If I lose/give away reputation, it can cost me some privileges. That's why I think twice and bounties are special for hard questions instead if overwhelming.

I gain rep for constructive and well fitting answers.
Something I don't loose while starting a bounty. So just be patient and work to get it again. Every bounty is result of hard work. So privileges are same. I got mine (atm) from editing question's code to look more readable. Different work than given good answers, but work.

Referring to first statement "simple": It needs much more tracking and a more complex database on any different way like now. What for? Some rare moments I had also myself, when I got privilege to comment everywhere, gave a stupid answer, lost some rep and had to write next comment as answer. Well, don't lost anything I care. Later got new rep.


I think there's a key point here that everyone is missing, which is the purpose of a bounty. It is to give one answer otherwise-undue attention – to override the system by which questions are normally sorted, by votes.

Every time you place a bounty on a question, you are giving it an advantage over other questions of the same quality or thoughtfulness, and you are attracting attention that could be spent on other questions instead.

In short, it's a selfish thing to do – a bounty makes the site more useful for the person who placed it and probably no-one else. So I'm quite happy to penalise them for prioritising their own interests over others'.

If everyone placed more bounties, the bounty system would become less useful, so we need some way of limiting its use.

Look at it like this: you get to choose whether for 2000 rep you get the privilege of editing questions, or you get the privilege of making a question of your choice more visible.

  • Is it still a "selfish thing to do" if you add a bounty to someone else's question? – JakeD Nov 24 '16 at 3:23
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    Less so, but it still serves your goals somehow, so I don't think you should be able to do it "for free". – Ben Millwood Nov 25 '16 at 9:46

Feature-request: make privileges remain after placing bounties. Reputation and total offered reputation should be summarized and then privileges calculated.

For example, it is important for me because I would have as many privileges as 4,440 rep user. The rep I offer is my rep, I don't lose it because of downvotes, for example. I give it.

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    When placing a bounty, you make a sacrifice. Not just a sacrifice of a lamb or a limb, and not just of your reputation. You sacrifice your ability to see (deleted questions). Your ability to write (in other's posts). Your ability to speak (by commenting). Eventually, you sacrifice your ability to make further sacrifices (set bounties). This is where it ends.... It's up to you to decide if the cause is worth the sacrifice. source of quotation – user259867 Jun 9 '14 at 18:01
  • @user259867 Even using the proposed system is a sacrifice. If your rep drops to 0, you can't keep doing bounties with nothing. Furthermore, it seems that many are missing the point that loss of rep will make you lose future privileges, but not ones you already have. If I have 1000 rep and give away 100 points in a bounty, I have 100 points to make up to get my next privilege...I didn't lose the privilege that I got when I achieved 1000 because I didn't do anything to lose trust. – JakeD Nov 24 '16 at 3:22

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