From the very beginning (see here), the idea to have to "pay" with your reputation points to set up a bounty makes me cringe.

But "featured question" is obviously a very good idea, and I welcome it.

However, rather than to see one's public reputation points slashed by a bounty (for instance, going from 3000 to 2500), why not have a separate private "bounty points" in one's profile, by default equals to your reputation? (and visible only by the SO user).

If you set up a 500 points bounty, that private account diminishes, not your current rep points.
If your public reputation grows again (by, for instance, 200), your private bounty points grows also (by 200 points).

That way, your public reputation, which should represent the value of your participation to the site, is never affected by your bounties.
However, bounties would continue to be limited by the total points of your reputation, just like today.

Any other rules currently in place for bounties would still apply, unchanged.

Before submitting this to UV, I wanted to test this brand new metaSO ;)
Plus I can edit my question on meta, which I can not do on UV!

  • The question also then becomes whether the bounty goes to the winner's "reputation" or "bounty stash"... – Margaret Jun 28 '09 at 22:28
  • @Margaret: both of course, since the private bounty stash is a reflection of your public reputation and gives you rights to set up new bounties of your own. – VonC Jun 29 '09 at 6:05
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    what problem does this solve? and is it worth the additional complexity? not seeing any merit here. – Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 9:18

I disagree. I happen to have a high (but not ungodly high) amount of Rep - over 10K. And I ask very few questions (I google a lot first).

If my public rep wasn't affected by putting a bounty on questions, I would put a bounty on every question I ask - to get more interest in it. My "bounty rep stash" would go down, but not drastically decrease, and would probably stay somewhat even with the rate I ask questions.

This is just an example using myself as an example, but I bet it applies to others as well. Letting me do this defeats the point of bounties - I need to really feel the sacrifice to give bounties meaning. Otherwise you'll see a huge upswing in bounties and questions without them won't get as much attention.

  • +1 for saying what I meant in a more eloquent manner. – Paolo Bergantino Jun 28 '09 at 22:33
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    Interesting point, which has always baffled me: why on earth should you "sacrifice" anything to post a bounty? Limit, yes (by tour rep, which, for the vast majority of SO user, is a big limiting factor). But if you have contributed as much as you did, why should you have to limit yourself when it comes to your interesting but hard questions? Don't they deserve a second chance? – VonC Jun 29 '09 at 5:52
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    "you'll see a huge upswing in bounties": same question than for Paolo: and that would be bad because? "questions without them won't get as much attention" Seriously? Questions with bounties are hard to answer, so the main reputation revenue would still be the common questions. – VonC Jun 29 '09 at 5:55

I highly disagree with this. Part of the hook of a bounty question is that you are slicing off your hard-earned reputation because the answer means something to you. Having another pool completely defeats that purpose.

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    "another pool completely defeats that purpose."... care to tell us why??? That "other pool" is entirely based on your "hard earned" reputation. Just curious to see if you have any argument behind your answer. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 13:28
  • It's not a problem to slice off hard earned reputation when it's not reputation you're slicing but a mythical second pool that no one cares about... – Paolo Bergantino Jun 28 '09 at 19:20
  • "no one cares about"? You care about. If your public rep does not grow enough, you will not be able to set up new bounties from your second pool which is anything but mythical (only private, and closely related to your public rep). -1 to the all answer. Still no valid argument whatsoever. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 20:51
  • No, I don't care about it, and many people wouldn't. All your idea would do is cause a huge increase in the amount of bounty questions because it's way easier to part with rep if it's separated from your actual rep. You're getting awfully defensive about this awful idea, to be honest. – Paolo Bergantino Jun 28 '09 at 21:03
  • "a huge increase in the amount of bounty questions": and that would be bad because...? (knowing the amount of bounties you could set up would still be limited by your rep just like today, even though it would not be reflected by your public rep, since it is not its role. For an example to what rep is about, see for instance meta.stackexchange.com/questions/345/…) – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 21:13
  • I am pretty sure the way bounty works right now is the way that was envisioned and intended. It is supposed to be for particularly difficult questions that require some leg work and no one steps up to immediately. I really don't see why anyone would be throwing these kind of questions out at a rate where it becomes a problem to throw in your own reputation for it. Making it easier to create these questions would just turn the featured section into a mechanical turk where people wind up having others do their work for them for reputation payments. – Paolo Bergantino Jun 28 '09 at 21:19
  • "Making it easier to create these questions"; did you even bothered to read Dennis's comment on his answer? setting up a bounty would be no easier than it is today. But at least, your public rep which has never been intended to serve as a currency, would not be affected. Again, to set up a bounty, you still have to gain rep, just like today. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 21:41
  • I understand that. I am saying it would be easier because someone is MORE LIKELY to part with their reputation if it's not being taken away from their actual reputation, thus making it easier to go ahead and put up a bounty. – Paolo Bergantino Jun 28 '09 at 21:43
  • And for the record, should bounty became easier to set up (which they would not with my proposition), the yes, I would completely agree with you: this would be a very bad idea, and I understand and respect your position. My point is: your reaction is not based on what I actually propose, but on the perception you had after a quick read. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 21:44
  • "MORE LIKELY to part with their reputation if it's not being taken away from their actual reputation": agreed. My all rant from the beginning is that rep should have never been affected in the first place. If you think that, on the contrary, it was a good idea, then fine, and again, that would explain your position. Which I do respect. But disagree with ;) – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 21:48
  • Well, glad that's settled. – Paolo Bergantino Jun 28 '09 at 22:34

I agree. reputation should be separate.

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    Separate, but still based on the reputation: you still have to gain some rep before being able to set up a bounty. And you still have to regain enough rep to set up another one, unless your bounty points (initially based on the reputation, and following its evolution) is high enough. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 13:30
  • Yes, I completely agree. Just to point out in case some people miss it: This idea still allows people to spend only what they earn and at the same rate as now. But this leaves your reputation in place. @VonC: What would you think about a small transaction fee, so to speak. Maybe 5 points of reputation for every 100 points of bounty? – Dennis Williamson Jun 28 '09 at 13:49
  • @Denny: all I think is that all my previous suggestions (stackoverflow.uservoice.com/pages/general/suggestions/…) were certainly seen as "too complicated" to implement. My proposition is: everything works the same, except for that private bounty account. Let's start from there. Your proposition would be an interesting compromise (you still have to "pay"), but I am not - from the beginning of bounties - in favor of paying anything in term of rep. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 14:23
  • I see no "Denny" here. – Dennis Williamson Jun 28 '09 at 14:41
  • Doh! Sorry Dennis. I should not read SO questions and answer comments on meta-SO at the same time. – VonC Jun 28 '09 at 15:17

The question also then becomes whether the bounty goes to the winner's "reputation" or "bounty stash"...

  • @Margaret: both of course, since the private bounty stash is a reflection of your public reputation and gives you rights to set up new bounties of your own. – VonC Jun 29 '09 at 6:05

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