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So I am in need of more rep as you can clearly see. But I do not want to answer questions just because there is a bounty on them because of the times my questions (bounty less) have been answered well. So is it wrong to just target bountified (sp) questions? Does it go against some rule aside from morality?

  • 4
    In "need" of reputation... – Bruno Pereira Sep 2 '13 at 6:56
  • I'll think twice before upvoting this question! ;-) – jobin Sep 15 '13 at 16:52
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If you can answer them, answer them!

Bountied questions are on the "featured" tab. This is mostly done to attract more attention, because the OP is looking for a (good) answer.

So, no, this is perfectly normal to answer the questions on which a bounty is set. However, it is common to see an extensive answer being posted, rather than a quick-n-dirty one.

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There's no obligatory minimum level of participation on a Stack Exchange site. It's neither immoral nor against prevailing community standards, even if you didn't participate at all. Of course, we appreciate it when someone contributes to this community; it's a good thing. But it is by no means obligatory.

Since there's no obligation to participate at all, there's certainly no obligation to answer any particular kind of question. Every time you post a valuable answer, you're helping the community. Even if you only or mostly answered bountied questions, you would be helping the community. (Assuming your answers are good, that is.) There's nothing wrong with this.

With that said, focusing on bountied questions to the total exclusion of non-bountied isn't necessarily the course of action that will achieve your goals best. Why?

  • If you want reputation, you can get it by posting good answers to lots of questions. Most bountied questions are especially difficult to answer well (though there are exceptions). You can get lots of reputation from answering bountied questions but you can get lots more by answering plenty of "easier" questions.

  • If you want to help people, and you see a question and know the answer, then you might as well post it, whether or not the question has a bounty. When a question has a bounty, you're not guaranteed to get it just by posting an answer. Whether or not a question has a bounty, you can gain reputation by having your answers upvoted.

    Of course, complications sometimes arise in that some answers take significant time and effort to compose. You might choose to focus more on bountied questions, while still also answering some non-bountied questions.

Most people are interested in reputation points and in helping people, to varying degrees. However much each one interests you, it makes sense to consider answering non-bountied questions as well as bountied ones.

Finally, please note that answers are not the only way to help. In particular, asking good questions is an important way to contribute. Sometimes people worry that they've asked too many questions and not posted enough answers. But a question is a positive contribution to the community, assuming it is asked well. (In this way, questions are like answers--good questions and answers help us all.)

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