When I look at how much effort some users are putting into helping both me and myself, and giving quality answers time and time again, I can't help but wish there was a donate button or some greater way of rewarding these people then simply upvoting their answers.

I'm sure there are many more, but a great example of this is Arturo Magidin on math exchange. Time and time again I see incredibly detailed answers from him that answer the question very well.

Thoughts? Do these powerusers even want this option?

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    $\begingroup$ Isn't voting up the answer the way to show appreciation? You can always sweeten the pot by adding a compliment in the comments. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ I feel this is less of a Math.SE question and more a general SE question, but am not sure. You probably should ask this question on meta.stackoverflow instead. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Have you heard of the bounty feature on the SE sites? Assuming you are talking about rep, that is. $\endgroup$
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ In any case, if you really really wanted to thank a particular user with more then just up voting, and more then just commenting, you could send them an email mentioning how in particular they helped you. The frequent users tend to put up their email, and I can't imagine anyone not liking an appreciative "Thank-You" email. But giving money (if that is what you meant) doesn't seem to be the right way of doing things. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 0:17
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    $\begingroup$ Why the downvote? I didn't say "WE SHOULD DO THIS?" I just brough it up for discussion.. I had not thought of these things, I think this question has brought up some good answers and new insights for myself at least. $\endgroup$
    – Justin
    Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Fdart17: When a feature is proposed on meta, no matter how adamant or not the OP is that the feature is a good idea, upvotes/downvotes often are based on agreement/disagreement that the proposal is a good idea. It is perfectly reasonable to raise the question, but for example I downvoted because I think that this proposal is a bad idea for reasons given by others that I've already upvoted. I can't speak for the other 9 downvoters, but it is likely something similar. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Jonas Meyer: Ok that makes sense. Thanks. This does seem to however give negative incentives. I would like to delete this question because of all the downvotes, but there has been some great answers that I definitely don't want to erase and think other people could benefit from seeing. $\endgroup$
    – Justin
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ I asked something similar here. $\endgroup$
    – draks ...
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ Some answers are so good that there should be a shut up and take my money button. $\endgroup$
    – Red Banana
    Commented May 7, 2013 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


Adding monetary incentives would cheapen the whole thing. The underlying psychological process that makes sites like the SE sites and Wikipedia work has no need for external incentives, and adding external incentives might actually make the whole process work less well. These ideas are thoroughly discussed in, for example, Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus.

If you want to reward good answers, think socially, not economically. As Arturo says, leaving a comment is a great idea. If you're into that kind of thing, share the question / answer on Facebook or Twitter.

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't even interpret the question as "monetary"; for some reason, I thought it was "donate reputation points"... If we're talking money, then I would mightily object to such a scheme. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ Also sometimes known as intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. Apparently it's been shown that the presense of extrinsic motivators (like money) can dull intrinsic motivation to such an extent that the overall motivation suffers significantly. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 21:48

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