What is considered Proper usage of a bounty?

I am interested in offering a bounty to user X as I am interested in seeing one of his ideas come to fruition. It is not a bounty for a specific answer as it is just a bounty to incentivize some hard work. Is this essential bribery considered against our rules? On a similar note could a user bribe people with reputation to do some work for them?

Also, is it considered against the rules for two people to cross offer bounties in an attempt to gain publicity (and rep) while not losing any rep on the bounty? I think this is abuse of the bounty feature, but do we have a specific rule against it? Should we? (I'm keeping this part of the question here for reference) here is the answer on mother meta


1 Answer 1


Bounties are about two things

  • Rewarding excellent answers, and

  • incentivizing users to answer a specific challenge, or even a sub challenge, e.g, the shortest bf answer gets a bounty, outgolf this particular answer, etc.

In both of these situations, the point of the bounty is the answer, not the answerer. A lot of this comes down to how you phrase it/think of it. So to answer your first question, yes it would be inappropriate to give a bounty to a user to incentivize some hard work unless you're putting a bounty on the result of that work. For example, this is inappropriate:

Hey user X, it would be really impressive if you could implement this language. I'll give you a hundred points (on some other answer) if you do.

But it would not be inappropriate to post a challenge saying:

Write an interpreter for language Y. I'll put a bounty on the shortest/fastest/etc. answer.

But then you must be willing to put a bounty on an answer by a different user if it's better.

In short, it's perfectly fine to put a bounty on hard-work, but you must put the bounty on the work, not the user that did that work.

For completeness sake, even though you answered your own question, cross-bountying is definitely abusing the system, and you may be suspended for doing so. If you suspect a user is doing this, flag it for moderator attention.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for answering my question clearly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 17:54

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