I'm thinking of a assigning a bounty to some question (not the one I recently wrote about here on meta). It hasn't been answered for a month. But - I'm afraid to do it. I don't want to risk so much of my hard-earned reputation for it. If I had, say, 2k-3k reputation, then what the hell, it's less than 4% of my rep; or if I could offer a smaller bounty, I would do it. But 11%? That's a lot. Plus, I'm worried it'll just be a dead bounty since it looks like a tough problem.

I'll mention that the issue is not super-critical, as otherwise of course I would have risked it. I used a super-ugly-time-consuming workaround and got my thesis done.

So, what do you suggest I do? Or how would you see this situation?

  • 5
    And the question is?
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:37
  • 8
    If it makes for a good question, you will probably receive most of it back by the votes you will receive. Offer 100, 12 upvotes will give you 60 back:)
    – yannisl
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:48
  • @EyalRozenberg I meant that your 'question' here does not seem to contain a question!
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:56

5 Answers 5


I don't see a question in the question, so how about an answer without an answer. ;-)

Seriously, I suggest be bold and go ahead, offer the bounty. Reputation is just some score, but this way you could directly benefit from it.

Even if you invest those 11%, 50 points, it's easy to get it back! While I know, earning reputation by answering can be hard, you could post just one nice question, which gets 10 upvotes, so you got the investment back. And there are many possible interesting and fundamental questions, which were not yet posted to the site.

Even if you know the answer to a question you posted, you prepared the ground for one or more solutions, which can be found and read by many users, who might use a search engine because of the same question.

  • 1
    Almost all of my questions are niche questions, about right-to-left and Hebrew, with very few readers and upvotes. And I certainly won't reputation-whore by artificially posing questions... but, ok, I'll take a leap of faith.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:51
  • Or you could encourage one of the high rep users to help out, of course!
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 19:57
  • @EyalRozenberg I mean contributing good questions, which are the foundation of a Q&A site. Good questions require brains and effort, they help to build a knowledge base and other LaTeX users may benefit from it. For sure there are topics still missing on our site, so somebody cannot find the answer to his problem here.
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 20:05
  • @StefanKottwitz: You mean like why do hotdogs come in packages of 6 but hot dog buns come in packages of 8? :-)
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 20:07
  • @EyalRozenberg You know, that's a very interesting question, you should ask it ... on cooking.se Commented Nov 27, 2011 at 19:32
  • @einpoklum The two are for us vegans.
    – cfr
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 3:30

If you care about reputation, chances are high you also care about badges. So take comfort in the fact that by assigning the first bounty to one of your own questions you'll earn the Promoter badge and possibly also the Benefactor badge. ;-)


If I were in your shoes I would probably also invest. :) Maybe the answers you receive will be marginally helpful in solving the actual problem, but you can also have a pleasant surprise of getting exactly what you wanted. Now, beside the fact that this is a real gamble and that you get your investment back in a way or another (rep points/badges), I would like to underline the fact that this is a community page. Even if the answers are not really what you are looking for, there might be information that is invaluable for another user... So in fact you might be a benefactor without getting the 'Benefactor' badge for it. Kind of anonymous helper. I believe that even if you cannot put that on display, it is worth at least as much as a gold badge! ;)


Eyal, really, just go for it! Be generous, invest at least 100! For what else reputation is good for? Not spending it does not make your life any better :-)

I happily invested 2/3 of my reputation for my first bounty of 100 points and it was just worth it, as it solved the problem I had and I ended up with a solution better than I could imagine before. I also got back much of this reputation within a week or so. Especially if you consider your questions as "niche question", a generous bounty will get them the attention they deserve and also increase the number upvotes.

If you are concerned about reputation in general: Believe me, the first 500 are the hardest. From then on it will more or less automatically increase: by getting upvotes for older questions and answers, but especially by providing answers for other questions. As you learn with every question you post and every answer you get, you will quickly find yourself in a situation that you can actually answer some others' question. And then just go for it!

  • Well, I went for a 50 bounty a while ago, but on second thought I could have made it a 100. Pity I can't increase it to 100 and reset the bounty period.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 13:44

I disagree to the most answers here: if a question is hard to answer, you probably get nothing. Look at this question here: mix marginnotes with marginpars without overlap : I started a bounty, but got no answer.

There are matters which need more work than people here at tex.stackexchange will invest. At that point you better look for a tex-guru in you local TeX-User-Group and ask him/her.

  • Ah, well, there is no local TUG in Palestine/Israel - at least not that I know of. There's a mailing list called ivritex (Ivrit means Hebrew in Hebrew), but it's mostly inactive.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 19:58
  • So far it seems you're half-right in your prediction: Nobody has tried to actually solve this. But I did get a direction for a pleasently-tolerable workaround from Stefan Kottwitz, and most of my 50 reputation back in some upvotes.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 20:01
  • @EyalRozenberg If you don't get your problem solved here, you may try elsewhere, eg. on comp.text.tex , which is a group. I like tex.stackexchange, but the software here is not ment for discussions, in opposite to group-discussions, which may consist of hundreds of postings.
    – Keks Dose
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 20:46
  • Already posted there, and in fact some answer-givers have contacted Heiko Oberdiek, the author of hyperref, who's probably the person who can/should resolve the issue. Nobody answered my post, I believe.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 20:48

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