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I was looking at the userpage for [insert-here-the-user-who-shall-not-be-named] who recently offered a bounty of 150 on a question and seemed to have a reputation of just 16. I was curious what made somebody quite so generous / desperate for a good answer to a question.

In recent reputation changes I noticed a -150 for awarding a bounty and a +99 "rep change". Looking at the reputation history since then, it appears that the award of a 150 rep bounty caused the account to go overdrawn, and it got "rebalanced" to 1.

That leads to my question: under what circumstances can one offer a bounty that exceeds ones reputation? Is there a limit?

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    $\begingroup$ It may have had something to do with this, but I can't tell for sure. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 23 '14 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ @davidZ interesting link. I had not seen this, not heard of the exploit. It is possible that you are right. I can't look at a user's delete/undelete history (maybe I can and don't know it) to confirm your hunch. $\endgroup$ – Floris Jun 23 '14 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ Not that I condone hacking the SE system of course, but I take my hat off to whoever spotted that loophole :-) $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Jun 24 '14 at 15:28
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Moderators are not allowed to comment on specific cases due to privacy concerns, but let me say in general that missing reputation is often associated with:

  1. deleted user accounts.

  2. deleted posts.

  3. invalidated reputation due to voting irregularities (read: sock puppetry).

Note that gaming the reputation system may in general lead to suspension (if that wasn't obvious).

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