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So I have noticed that there is a user (profile link) who has been posting a lot of large bounties recently. (See here, here and here). Upon further investigation, his profile description makes it clear that he is unhappy with the site and is leaving (note, contains swearing in his profile description).

The use of these bounties feels like a way to just screw with us on his way out. I realize that they are his rep points and he can do with them as he pleases, but this feels like a misuse of the bounty system. (For example, one of the linked questions already has an accepted answer, but states the bounty is because the question hasn't received enough attention. Another one states the bounty is because the question hasn't received enough attention and is also to award an existing outstanding answer.)

I'm not sure these bounties will really cause any harm, but it just feels wrong to let them stand. It feels like we are sending a message that we are ok with letting someone throw a fit and cause a mess on the way out the door.

So, what, if anything, should be done?

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  • It is technically possible for mods to end a bounty; I'll look into the mechanics of it a little more (e.g. does it need to be done before the bounty is awarded). I'll also note in passing that the profile has been like that for quite some time. – Acire Jan 23 '17 at 17:55
  • I wonder what difference it makes? If the bounty-creator never gets to award the bounty, all s/he has done is asked us to re-read and perhaps respond if we did not answer. Maybe I don't understand bounties. If we ignore it, what happens? If someone gets rep points unearned, it gives them tools; is this the root of the problem? – WRX Jan 25 '17 at 18:15
  • @WillowRex If the creator of a bounty doesn't award it, the system automatically gives half the bounty amount to the highest voted answer. The part I was originally worried about was that it would give people with low rep a whole bunch of rep at once, giving them tools when they may not have had much experience with how the site works. I also think that that could set a bad precedent. – Becuzz Jan 25 '17 at 18:20
  • Thanks, I had no idea how they worked. Now I understand why you asked. Tools are the root of the problem, then. Can mods remove people for misusing tools? – WRX Jan 25 '17 at 18:25
  • @WillowRex Not sure what they can do. I think at best they can roll back the changes on some things. Not sure if they can do that for all the tools. – Becuzz Jan 25 '17 at 18:48
  • I can see that would be a pita! – WRX Jan 25 '17 at 18:49
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    Are you worried about offering the bounties, or about awarding the bounties? The first couple I awarded the bounty. The rest I've left it to the software to award. Since the method the software uses to award bounties is known you have power to control where the bounties go: VOTE. Upvote good answers, downvote bad answers, create better answers where the answers are lacking. – user19912 Jan 26 '17 at 15:13
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    Also, I'm only offering bounties on questions that I am actually interested in. I'm not offering bounties on random questions. – user19912 Jan 26 '17 at 15:14
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    An accepted answer just means the answer is good enough for the person who asked the question. Bt this site is supposed to be useful to other people too -- it's specifically supposed to be useful to people coming from Google search. Asking for more evidence is good; awarding a bounty for more evidence is better and not harmful. – user19912 Jan 26 '17 at 15:16
  • There was absolutely nothing wrong with how those bounties were created, and it was actually quite nice of him to offer the rep as a bounty, instead of "taking it with him". Not having enough users with high rep privileges is part of what has kept this site in perpetual beta. – user420 Feb 11 '17 at 2:40
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This has been asked on Meta Stack Exchange, the meta site for the entire network, and . . . hasn't gotten an answer. This is probably just as well, since it should be judged on a site-by-site and even case-by-case basis. If a user is dumping bounties on answers that aren't really very good in order to transfer reputation to a specific person, that's less community-friendly than spreading reputation to more people and for solid answers.

In this particular case, I don't see anything to be concerned about. So far the bounties have gone to different people or in one case to nobody at all. The answers seem fine too. Sometimes the bounty goes to the top answer and sometimes not. That's not at all unusual. The total reputation bountied (~3000) is not astronomical and that currency would otherwise be lost from the site.

On a personal note, I offered about that much on another site because I felt it encouraged others to participate. In the long run, if a user can prompt other folks to become more active, even as they themselves leave, it's a net positive for the community.

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  • Thank you for the (correct) charitable interpretation. Me giving my karma away was aimed at getting more people to answer. It didn't seem to be doing much with small bounties, so I stepped up to large bounties. – user19912 Jan 26 '17 at 23:04
  • It got an answer now. Not official, just my own opinions, which I believe aren't site specific. (but yeah, this is indeed case-by-case thing.) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Feb 4 '17 at 20:13

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