So I guess this has probably been discussed before on other meta SE sites, sorry if I re-ignite an old and long-decided discussion here.

The thing is, I'm not a very active user on SU, more on SO. I had 2 questions here that I wanted to start a bounty for of 50 rep points each, thus totalling 100 rep points.

Since I didn't have much to start with (140), I have now lost the privilege "comment everywhere".

My case is simple, why are gained privileges not locked with an account? The system is there to prevent unexperienced users from doing harm to the site or guide them along the way, motivate them to learn how to behave on SE to keep up the excellent quality. When issuing bounties, one does not become less experienced with the system, quite the contrary instead. So, why are priveleges taken away from users when they lose reputation with bounties they start?

  • 6
    TBH, I understand the logic behind this for cases when a user loses his reputation for getting downvotes - but I agree that it doesn't really make sense to lose privileges due to issuing bounties.
    – amiregelz
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 19:48
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    @amiregelz downvotes alone could not drastically drop the user's reputation imo. When a post gets a lot of downvotes, it gets removed anyway before they get voted below, say -6 at most. That reputation can easily be regained. But as a passive user, losing a privelege for example with 80 rep, takes some time to regain. Not that it is a real problem, it's just the fact that it doesn't make sense.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 19:52
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    Discussed on MSO: Is losing privileges after placing bounty OK?
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 20:17
  • @slhck as I've said, this is a question that in my opinion has meaning for every single SE site. I don't know what you do with those...
    – MarioDS
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 20:31
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    While I understand it sucks to lose privileges, I don't expect the team to 'fix' this, because it would complicate the system. Currently, deciding what privileges you have is easy, its a direct function of how much rep you have. I can already imagine the Meta posts of users who miscalculated and taught they were supposed to have said privilege, even though they don't. Yeah, not gonna happen...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 20:36
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    What do you mean by "I don't know what you do with those"? Meta Stack Overflow currently is more or less the Meta for every site. So if a feature is requested there, it'll always be implemented for the entire network (except for when the feature request is about Stack Overflow specifically).
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 20:36
  • Thanks for clearing it up, and I understand the complications for the system it would bring.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 21:32
  • @IvoFlipse Miscalculated? That doesn't have to be a factor. It would make sense that placing a bounty slows your progress to the next privilege, but doesn't ever remove privileges.
    – rtf
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 3:08
  • Just saying, but often you'll earn rep from setting a bounty, as more people will se you're question, so more people will upvote it (assuming it's good).
    – ACarter
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 12:03
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    @ACarter unfortunately what I notice more and more these days (mainly on SO) is that upvotes do not come from people thinking that your question is well formatted or good, but from people to which it applies...
    – MarioDS
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 12:09
  • @Mario, yeah, I agree, you see a lot of what I call 'viral questions' that have, like, 150 votes, but are actually of poor quality
    – ACarter
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


Why do we lose our privileges?

I don't particularly like the top answer on the most famous question:

What's the point of putting your reputation on the line for a bounty if there is no consequence of losing it?

This does not apply to privileges, so I have cut out reputation altogether. Much better!

What's the point of a bounty?

Bounties are for users who really want to put their question in the spotlights to get it answered.

You don't get a lot for nothing here; so, as a consequence, it comes with a cost. Your hard earned reputation is the only thing you have to pay for the obligation, you literally lose your reputation. And because privileges are heavily associated with reputation, you lose them as well in the progress.

If we were to be really nice people, we could perhaps maintain them. But that introduces extra work and inconsistencies in the system. There is no longer a direct mapping between reputation and privileges (a low reputation user with mod tools?!) and they'd have to maintain a separate field / table just for the privileges; these may sound like trivial to implement, but brings along other problems.

What if they were to change the reputation level at which you gain a privilege; this happens to beta sites and has happened to Stack Overflow as well, who knows one day Super User will be so crowded (or inactive, let's hope not) that we'd have change the reputation levels as well?

Where this currently involves a simple comparison (reputation > editPrivilegeLevel) it would otherwise involve some more logic to get it working the way it currently works, even by just adding a separate field you'll need that field to be synchronised with the other field which adds extra logic and has the problem described in the previous paragraph.

It's eventually possible to rewrite a big part of the code to implement this, which some minor drawbacks; but it'll probably never happen since the current system works well enough and there are more important bugs to fix and features to implement.

It's like we use to say in Belgium...

Bezint eer u begint. Chill out before you start.

... or its Antwerp version

Denk aleer gij doet, en doende denkt dan nog. Think before you do; and while you're busy, keep thinking.

This counts for both parties, the person giving the bounty and the people implementing the system.

Why isn't this a problem?

If you just ask and answer just a few questions, you'll have that reputation back in no time. We're talking about 5 votes a bounty here, not to forget there are other ways to gain reputation as well (suggesting edits, earning a bounty, ...).

You're always either learning or educating, so not being able to gain reputation isn't an excuse.

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    Oh hey, you're from Belgium too. Nice answer and it's the best this question will probably ever have.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 22:16
  • 1
    Great answer! :) Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 22:21
  • 1
    Very nice answer, especially about the disparity that this would create between what rep a user has and what privileges they retained.
    – Xyon
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 13:28

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