I would like to offer a bounty (incentive) and would like to purchase it instead of offering my own reputation as the bounty.

I see that Careers.SO already has a system to accept transactions for posting a job listing so it shouldn't be far fetched to hook bounties up to the transaction system.

I'll think of some responses and provide my own:

  • This can/will be gamed. - Probably. But unfortunately I make money faster than I make reputation.
  • If you really want to pay for help, hire someone. - I would like to make the question & answer available while also involving the community; not just a company who I'd have to spend time searching for anyways.
  • Setting a price for bounty-rep will disrupt the economy. - I suppose. But $350 for a job posting was decided on. I assume something can be done for a bounty too.
  • You'll utterly destroy the community by involving money. It'll become greed and mayhem. For the love of man, it'll turn into 4chan! - Although very possible, I do have my doubts this will actually happen.
  • 20
    If making money faster than reputation makes you feel unfortunate, quit your job and spend all your time on SO. Both problems fixed!
    – ЯegDwight
    Nov 5, 2010 at 21:22
  • 6
    Welbog whines about being out of downvotes in 3... 2... 1...
    – user27414
    Nov 5, 2010 at 21:28
  • 5
    +1, here's 10 rep for free, go wild. Nov 5, 2010 at 22:38
  • 2
    I've added a bounty free of charge, just this once. I'll be expecting cold hard cash next time! Nov 8, 2010 at 5:11
  • 2
    Buy Land, they are not making it anymore ~ Mark Twain Dec 19, 2011 at 6:28
  • @ApprenticeHacker, the amount of inhabitable land will continue to exponentially increase to infinity.
    – ma11hew28
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:58

7 Answers 7


How dare you make such an immoral suggestion!

Meet me in half an hour in the chat. Bring cash.

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    I made an account just to upvote this Oct 8, 2019 at 12:06

I think this is a dangerous, slippery slope.

If you buy rep to use as a bounty, and the winner of the bounty gets worthless points, the system falls apart. Why should I give you my time in exchange for useless points when you're willing to pay actual money?

The way it works now, you earn rep by contributing your time to SO. You can exchange that rep for my time. It's nice and fair.

If we turn rep into money, the whole site will fall to pieces.


Think about how money for Q&A would work. How much would it cost to ask a question? How much would get you for answering one? Rates would have to be so low for questions that it would never be worth answering.

And instead of a happy, helpful community, we'd have people bickering over who should get paid for their answer on a question. Right now, if I think my answer is better than yours but yours is accepted, I'll get over it. Add money to the mix and that changes.

As others have mentioned, this idea has been up and down the flagpole. The consensus is overwhelmingly that money+SO=bad.

  • I see. So: Rep is time, time is money, money is rep. It seems it is already that way so it's just simply exchanging money in place of time. Can you explain why the system falls apart please? (Pref. edit your answer please. Comments are horribly "walls of text")
    – Rob Olmos
    Nov 5, 2010 at 22:17
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    @Rob I respect people offering to pay money, because it shows an appreciation for people's time and knowledge few users have. However, this discussion has been had many times, with the majority opinion (i.e. many people's and Jeff Atwood's :) that money changing hands, however small amounts, would poison the system. After participating in the system for a year, I must say I agree. The community as it is working today is too precious to be put at risk by introducing payment for answers, however indirect. I realize this means lost opportunities for both sides, but it's better this way overall.
    – Pekka
    Nov 5, 2010 at 22:34
  • @Pekka Thanks for the input. I tried searching for the keywords surrounding this issue but was unable to find anything close at all. Are there any sources for these discussions that I missed?
    – Rob Olmos
    Nov 5, 2010 at 22:50
  • @Rob However, I can't find the "big discussions" either with Jeff's official verdicts, but I think there were some.
    – Pekka
    Nov 5, 2010 at 22:59

Why not just offer the money as the bounty?

  • Yeah, you can literally just write PM ME FOR CASH PRIZE OF $100.
    – NoName
    Jul 22, 2020 at 18:56

I think this idea has more merit than the knee-jerk reaction of money=bad.

It is different to other suggestions about payment because no-one answering the question knows that the bounty has been paid for in cash. It is indistinguishable from any other question with bounty on it.

The problem of what monetary value to place on bounty is a valid one, and I understand why people object to it on that basis alone, but please take a moment to weigh it up against the alternative.

The alternative is that people who do not get an answer to their question, and do not have enough reputation to offer a bounty, are forced to take their question to an alternative site. SO not only misses out on the initial payment but also the exposure and advertising revenue from people who have the same problem and land on the other site's page instead of SO.

I asked my first ever SO question a few days ago and have received no response at all. If I now take it to a site where I can offer a cash incentive, is it fair on that other site if I answer my own question on SO once I have the solution? I think not.


How about just shorting it? You borrow the bounty from someone, and then when it is distributed, you pay them back, either at a loss if you haven't made up reputation in time (a sort of IOU, perhaps?), or with a profit if you have made it up in time (the profit would come from the system, not the person you borrowed from). Idea on why to make a profit: you've been useful enough in the meantime, so you are obviously a boon to the site and should be rewarded.

Just a silly idea, but no less silly than the original


I'm surprised that no one has started "farming" SO accounts and put them on eBay, in order to sell reputation.

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    lol. That could be a nice way to earn some cash. Dec 19, 2011 at 6:29

I can understand this from an enterprise standpoint: It might be faster and more solution oriented to pay a blocker question in SO rather than getting a consultant.

On the other side one could create two accounts and but reputation - which would simply destroy any trust in the voting system.

How about donating money bounties to a welfare organisation? That would do the trick and could also motivate people to answer that question. An official curated list from SO would do the job to avoid making this too complex.

  • 3
    Adding money to the mix adds all kinds of problems. What would be the process when a bounty is created with $$, but then disputed? or if the bounty was placed on a poor question that is then unbountied and closed/deleted by a mod? It'd certainly feel bad to spend money on a bounty and receive no answer after 7 days of it being promoted. We aren't a consulting service.
    – Kevin B
    Nov 6, 2020 at 17:41

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