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Integrate Bitcoin into Stack Overflow?

I would like to offer one bitcoin to whoever solves this question, and I put this in the question body. This was edited out.

Why shouldn't I be allowed to do so? I really really want the question answered, and would prefer to give 1 bitcoin (today's equivalent of ~ 15 USD) than give away a large amount of reputation (I already gave 50 as bounty, but wanted to add the 1 Bitcoin instead of say giving 500 reputation).

Note - this is definitely not a duplicate. I'm not looking for SE/SO to integrate bitcoin, but rather allow me, as the poster of a question, to offer whatever external incentive I want. Just don't edit me out, that's all.

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    So rep to you is more valuable than money? – squillman Jul 6 '11 at 21:39
  • @squillman - well, some things money can't buy... – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 21:47
  • @squillman, @Robert, this is not a dup (see note inline) – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 21:52
  • @squillman: After doing some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, 15 USD is probably worth much less than 500 rep, in the sense that even with a very conservative assumption of hourly income and ignoring the daily rep cap, it'd take longer to earn the rep. – McCannot Jul 6 '11 at 21:54
  • @squillman - the thing is $15 might be enough motivation for someone who already knows the answer to reply (because it takes 30 seconds of his time), but is cheap enough for me to afford (because it saves me days of searching so it's worth it). rep and money aren't directly comparable, so I'm not sure what would "an equivalent reputation bounty" be, and it might be that even the minimum of 50 reputation is too much for me to offer as bounty. Plus, I hate censorship. – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 21:59
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    @ripper, it's a topic flogged to death on MSO already - 1 2 3 4 5 from a quick search, there's probably more - the answer is that people don't want "real world" rewards or money near their Q&A (and I agree with them). – DMA57361 Jul 6 '11 at 22:15
  • @DMA57361 fair enough. – ripper234 Jul 7 '11 at 7:22
  • @DMA57361 -- reddit.com (another popular online community), uses a feature called "bitcointip" -- a bot which shuttles bitcoin donations among forum users. Generally, tips are often given for answers to open questions or insightful comments/tales of samaritanship. The focus of that site is definitely different than that of SO, however it does not seem to have thrown their site into chaos. Food for thought. – Brian Cain Jun 3 '13 at 18:15

It changes the motivation of people answering the question.

With the current situation of virtual points and badges people have a largely intrinsic motivations for answering for the sake of answering and wanting to help people. Offering a real incentive changes that to an extrinsic motivation where you are after the money (or bitcoin in this case).

This will affect how people answer, they might be tempted to vote down competing answers even if they are largely correct, they may even be tempted to create sock puppet accounts to vote up their own answer. People might even stop answering questions that don't offer a real world bounty.

There will be a change in the dynamic of the site for the worse.

Also what happens if you follow someone's advice and it goes horribly wrong? Do you ask for your money back? Sue? With the current system the onus is on you to verify the answer is correct and it's your responsibility if it doesn't work. There's no comeback (other than a down-vote) to the answerer.

  • I wonder about the definition of intrinsic vs. extrinsic in your distinction, though; after all, money is only valuable because we all agree that it is. Aren't reputation and badges the same? My rep is just a number; but in comparison with others, it gains some meaning. That comparison, I would contend, already makes badges and reputation an extrinsic motivation. – Paul Sonier Jul 6 '11 at 21:45
  • @Paul - true to a certain extent, but (except in certain cases) rep on Stack Overflow doesn't tend to lead to rewards in real life. – ChrisF Jul 6 '11 at 21:47
  • I would disagree about the rewards in real life thing; I know employers who are impressed with a hefty SO score. – Paul Sonier Jul 6 '11 at 21:52
  • I'm not asking for anyone to support bitcoin in SE/SO, just not to edit me out and allow me to do it myself. Whether I sue anyone or not that's my own business (and suing SE would be silly and costly on my part as they are obviously under no obligation to verify someone's answer is correct). I don't like censorship. – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 21:55
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    @ripper - my answer doesn't assume that you want Stack Exchange to support it either. – ChrisF Jul 6 '11 at 21:57
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    Yes, rep is already an extrinsic motivation. So is community approval (do you feel happy when an answer is upvoted, even when you've hit the rep cap already that day?). But some extrinsic motivations are more damaging than others, and money is one of the most toxic motivations out there. – McCannot Jul 6 '11 at 21:59
  • @ChrisF - I'm referring to your last paragraph. If it's a personal declaration on my part - "I will pay 1 bitcoin", then whether or not I actually pay is between me and the poster. I can ask for my money back, he can agree or decline as he see fits, and I can sue him, but it's certainly no business of SE. – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 22:01
  • @ripper - that paragraph doesn't require that Stack Exchange get involved at all. – ChrisF Jul 6 '11 at 22:10

I like where this is going!

I propose we allow anything to be put up as a bounty. In fact, I have a 1971 Chevy Nova (you could say it's a fixer-upper, but it has potential) I would love to use to entice someone to answer a question I have about Random Topic Here.

1971 Chevy Nova Bounty

A++++++++!+++!+!+1 WOULD BOUNTY AGAIN

Potential mockup:

This question has an open bounty worth A NEW CAR!

</sarcasm> If you'd like to pay someone to codesuperuser for you, please do so elsewhere. Maybe you're looking for rent-a-coderLenovo Tech Support?

  • I was debating whether or not to close this question, and then I saw your answer. :P – user102937 Jul 6 '11 at 21:47
  • @Robert: I was surprised the question stayed open as long as it did. – user7116 Jul 6 '11 at 21:48
  • I'm looking for someone to answer my question, not to code for me. The intrinsic motivation obviously hasn't worked for this particular question as it's open for almost four months now without a good answer. – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 21:51
  • @ripper: I see a decent number of answers you've not commented on, so I'm not sure if they don't help you out. But your question isn't "not getting answered" due to a lack of incentive...My hunch, having had a Lenovo before, is you won't get agreeable levels with the internal speakers. – user7116 Jul 6 '11 at 21:55
  • It's true I haven't investigated all options ... this laptop belongs to a family member, and I don't have access to it right now (although at first glance the answers don't seem to be helpful to what I wanted, just peripheral). – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 22:03
  • @ripper: I've added an answer from the Lenovo Community Forums to your question that likely will help. I recommend posting Lenovo specific questions there, I've used it in the past when my company IT failed me. – user7116 Jul 6 '11 at 22:04
  • @sixlettervariables - thanks, I'll give it a try (both the advice and meta advice ... although I wasn't sure my question was lenovo specific at the time). – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 22:07

To answer your question, no; you shouldn't be allowed to offer external incentives.

It changes the dynamic of the site from free exchange of expert advice into for-pay. There are other sites that are dedicated to having answers for "real" currency.

Furthermore, it now creates a responsibility on SE/SO to monitor the actual transaction of the real currency and verify / validate it.

  • I wasn't suggesting integration of bitcoin into SE/SO, just allowing a user to offer bitcoins. I don't need SE/SO to authenticate it, it's just a personal message relying on trust in me, not in the system. – ripper234 Jul 6 '11 at 21:49

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