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.

  • 21
    Only works if you wouldn't otherwise hit the rep cap, of course.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 10:13
  • 12
    @Jon: badges are also a potential bonus from this "hack" ;-)
    – Andy E
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 10:58
  • @Andy: True, true.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 12:20
  • 15
    This sounds suspiciously like a technique for making bounties more generally useful. KILL IT!
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 15:25
  • 1
    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
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 15:26
  • 26
    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
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 3:20
  • 4
    A risky strategy. parenting.stackexchange.com/q/2638/1385
    – DanBeale
    Commented Aug 27, 2011 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
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 3:32
  • Dupe of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/105275/…, but I had a really hard time finding it
    – Belinda
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 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
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 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
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 15:45
  • 1
    @PopularDemand: how is it not 'dicussion'?
    – Gary Jones
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 11:29
  • 2
    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
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 20:55

4 Answers 4


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
  • 17
    At no point did I insinuate that it was bad. I just said clever. Hence, "hack".
    – tylerl
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 9:21
  • Ah! Thank you Sam! That was starting to annoy me. Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 3:49
  • 5
    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
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 17:03
  • 2
    I think I exclude deleted stuff @Arjan
    – waffles
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 11:22
  • 3
    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
    Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 22:35
  • 6
    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? Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 14:57

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.


Maybe said user just wanted to make sure their (possibly more correct?) answer got adequate awareness compared to other answers? It's their reputation after all, so maybe they want to challenge the community to find an even better answer?


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.

  • 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. Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 13:31
  • 2
    @psubsee2003 that is exactly what "refinement" means. I have never claimed it is a new hack.
    – abukaj
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 15:18
  • 2
    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? Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 19:44
  • +1 for that; did you try it? were you able to offer a +50 bounty? Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 19:45
  • @auspicious99 I did all the steps (but the "very good" part) for one of my questions: stackoverflow.com/questions/56934040/…
    – abukaj
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 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? Commented Jun 30, 2020 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
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 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. Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 14:22

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