72

I say "hack" in the most favorable light. It's a clever idea and theoretically beneficial.

I noticed that an old question of mine suddenly started getting a lot of renewed attention. The question had been answered, with an answer accepted. But another user added a well reasoned and insightful answer to the list. He also opened a +100 bounty on that question.

The resulting increased attention quickly got his answer quite a lot of up-votes. Well more than the 100 points he had spent on the bounty. Therefore, he gets a net rep profit out of the transaction.

So here's the hack:

  1. Find an interesting question
  2. Research and provide a very good answer
  3. Open up a bounty on that question to attract attention and votes to your new answer
  4. Profit!!!

2 and 3 may be out of order--I didn't see the timing of it. But either way, assuming he gets more than 10 votes, he still gets increased rep out of the deal.

I don't think this is necessarily bad for SO - it does generate some useful discussion and insightful answers. Plus you can increase your own rep very rapidly by making your answers highly visible, and therefore frequently voted upon.

However, it does slightly change the meaning and purpose of bounties away from starting a discussion and toward self-promotion. Still, interesting.

  • 18
    Only works if you wouldn't otherwise hit the rep cap, of course. – Jon Skeet Sep 17 '10 at 10:13
  • 10
    @Jon: badges are also a potential bonus from this "hack" ;-) – Andy E Sep 17 '10 at 10:58
  • @Andy: True, true. – Jon Skeet Sep 17 '10 at 12:20
  • 12
    This sounds suspiciously like a technique for making bounties more generally useful. KILL IT! – Shog9 Sep 17 '10 at 15:25
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    This is just a statement about a feature that has been released for several months, not a discussion, feature request, bug report or support question. I've voted to close. – Pops Sep 17 '10 at 15:26
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    I don't think you can include Profit!!! at the end if none of your steps are ??? ... pretty sure there's a rule about that somewhere on the series of t00bs... – Drew Sep 27 '10 at 3:20
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    A risky strategy. parenting.stackexchange.com/q/2638/1385 – DanBeale Aug 27 '11 at 14:53
  • @tylerl ... we may even add this as a bounty category ... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/103956/… ... increase question visibility category, or something – waffles Aug 30 '11 at 3:32
  • Dupe of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/105275/…, but I had a really hard time finding it – Belinda Sep 21 '11 at 8:54
  • Ah, nice, @Belinda! This is ineed one of those rare cases where I'm going to vote to close the older post (again, apparently, based on my earlier comment) because the newer one has superior answers and a mod tag. – Pops Sep 21 '11 at 18:19
  • @PopularDemand I actually hadn't noticed that this was in fact the older post. I just saw the newer one a while back so I knew that the issue had been brought up and as the newer one was the first one I saw I assumed that this was the dupe. – Belinda Sep 22 '11 at 15:45
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    @PopularDemand: how is it not 'dicussion'? – Gary Jones Dec 8 '11 at 11:29
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    Just tried this. So, after the bounty - 7 question upvotes and 14 answer upvotes = 175 rep for 75 profit. A bit less though because it was getting upvoted anyway. Most of the upvotes were long tail, so assuming they were evenly distributed, I was getting about 1.5 answer upvotes and 0.7 question per week, so adjusted profit is about 57. If I didn't get the reputation from both the question and answer, then I wouldn't have gained any significant amount of reputation – Casebash Jan 11 '12 at 20:55
76

So, you make an old question tons better with an awesome answer and pay 100 reputation for the privilege. I am not following where the Stack Overflow community are losing out.


Note: we added a few more checks and balances

  • If you are placing a bounty on a question you answered, your minimum spend is 100
  • If you are placing a repeat bounty on a question, your minimum spend doubles till it reaches 500
| improve this answer | |
  • 16
    At no point did I insinuate that it was bad. I just said clever. Hence, "hack". – tylerl Sep 17 '10 at 9:21
  • Ah! Thank you Sam! That was starting to annoy me. – NullUserException อ_อ Sep 21 '11 at 3:49
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    Just curious: does this also apply when one has deleted their answer? (I'm not worried about abuse—like delete, set bounty, undelete. But I can imagine that a question might be especially interesting for someone who tried to answer and realized things are more difficult, and then deletes their faulty answer and wants to know the solution.) – Arjan Sep 21 '11 at 17:03
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    I think I exclude deleted stuff @Arjan – waffles Sep 23 '11 at 11:22
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    The current implementation is fine with me, but just in case: a CW answer also makes the minimum amount to be 100. For that, one cannot really gain anything, I guess. (Again: not a problem to me; just wanted you to know.) – Arjan Dec 18 '11 at 22:35
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    Suppose they delete their answer, place a bounty, and then undelete their answer? Or write their answer out separately and post it after placing the bounty? – Justin Morgan Feb 1 '12 at 14:57
18

I do this on some questions where I put a lot of effort into them, it attracts attention and I'm not sure if it's considered ethical or not, but I like upvotes for an answer I spent a lot of time on.

At the end of the day nothing bad comes of it, and the SO community has another really good answer.

| improve this answer | |
10

Maybe said user just wanted to make sure his (possibly correcter?) answer got the awareness adequate compared to other answers? It's his/her rep after all, may (s)he wants to challenge the community into finding an even better answer?

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0

I have refined the hack:

  1. Find an interesting question
  2. Research
  3. Open up a bounty on that question to attract attention and votes to your new answer
  4. Provide a very good answer
  5. Profit!!!

That almost doubles the ROI. Almost - as +100 bounty draws more attention than +50 one.

| improve this answer | |
  • There isn't really anything said here that the OP didn't already stat. You just took the OP's 2nd step and split it into 2. – psubsee2003 Jul 11 '19 at 13:31
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    @psubsee2003 that is exactly what "refinement" means. I have never claimed it is a new hack. – abukaj Jul 11 '19 at 15:18
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    I guess the key difference here is that the answer is provided after the bounty is placed, whereas in the OP's way, the answer was written before the bounty was placed. This way, the bounty poster is able to get away with offering a +50 bounty, bypassing the check for "placing a bounty on a question you answered" that sets the minimum as 100. @waffles, what do you think? – auspicious99 Jun 20 at 19:44
  • +1 for that; did you try it? were you able to offer a +50 bounty? – auspicious99 Jun 20 at 19:45
  • @auspicious99 I did all the steps (but the "very good" part) for one of my questions: stackoverflow.com/questions/56934040/… – abukaj Jun 30 at 13:45
  • Haha, 'but the "very good" part"', you are too modest... I see the only bounty there was awarded to fifoforlifo, after your answer was written. Does that mean, somebody (fifoforlifo maybe?) offered another bounty a few days later? – auspicious99 Jun 30 at 13:57
  • @auspicious99 I hoped for a more formal answer than "test it". ;) AFAIR the bounty donator is not eligible to receive the bounty. As I decided not to grant the bounty due to Paul Panzer's comment, fifoforlifo received half of the bounty "from community" as the author of the most voted answer. – abukaj Jun 30 at 14:09
  • 1
    Ah, I see. Interesting! I got confused about the "profit" part. Ok, so the profit is only from the upvotes, not bounty. That makes sense; otherwise you can always get back whatever you posted as the bounty. – auspicious99 Jun 30 at 14:22

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