The below is a draft proposal of a patronage concept for encouraging authorship of canonical Q&A posts. Comments on it are welcomed as non-RFCP answers.

We get a lot of questions on Chem.SE that are variations on common themes: simple acid-base equilibria, definition of rate constants, etc. There is already a Meta effort underway to curate a list of high-quality answers to questions on specific topics, but there are (and probably will be forever) recurring topics that would benefit from the creation of canonical Q&A posts to serve as dupe targets.

In order to incentivize the creation of these canonical Q&A's, I would like to propose a "patronage" system, in the form of an informal "hack" of the SE bounty feature. To my mind, the seven-day duration of the bounty period is too short for this purpose: there are several topics for which I'd pay decent rep to see a canonical Q&A written, but (a) there's no especially good question on which to put a bounty, and (b) there's no guarantee anyone would write anything up in the bounty period.

So, I propose the following: Anyone with a topic for which they'd like to see a canonical Q&A written can post a 'request-for-canonical-post' (RFCP) answer below, as follows:

  • Include a short, descriptive header.

  • Describe the topic of interest in reasonable detail.

  • Link to at least one, preferably at least two, existing questions which could be closed as duplicates of the desired canonical post.

  • Indicate a "patronage bonus" that would be paid via bounty to the author of the desired post.

  • Specify some minimal selection criterion in the event that multiple canonical Q&A posts are written in response to the RFCP.

    • For example: "If multiple Q&A's are posted based upon this request, the bonus will be awarded to the first answer to receive at least ten upvotes."
  • Note any other auxiliary conditions for award of the patronage bonus.

    • For example: "To be eligible, a canonical Q&A must describe how foo reacts with bar to form baz."
  • Include a link to the Table of Contents at the bottom of the RFCP, using this URL.

  • Once the RFCP answer is posted, edit the Table of Contents to include the RFCP title as a link to the RFCP answer.

In addition to the original patron, other community members are encouraged to post further offers of patronage rewards in the comments of the relevant RFCP, to increase the incentive for potential canonical Q&A authors.

Once a canonical Q&A has been written that meets the award condition for your RFCP:

  • Start a bounty of the promised amount on the new canonical Q&A.

  • Prepend "[AWARDED]" to the RFCP answer header and its TOC entry.

  • Add a link to the new canonical Q&A in the RFCP answer, and in the appropriate section of the Giant List of Duplicates (GLoD).

  • Add a link to the appropriate section of the GLoD in the RFCP answer.

  • Ping all additional patronage reward offerors in the comments of the RFCP post.

  • At the end of the seven-day bounty period, award the patronage bounty to the appropriate Q&A author.

Let's sponsor some quality content!!


Once you have created a canonical Q&A in response to an RFCP below, post a link to it as a comment to the relevant RFCP.

Thanks to Ben Norris for pointing out this logistical gap!


If the Table of Contents isn't the top answer in the list, changing the answer sorting to oldest should bring it to the top.

  • $\begingroup$ The "patronage bonus" seems redundant. If this proposal works anything like the reference questions on Computer Science SE, the authors of good answers will receive large amounts of rep from the extremely high visibility of the reference questions. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2017 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby Yes, but the patronage bonus represents a (near-)certain rep reward immediately after posting a responsive Q&A, in addition to the regular upvote rep. Heightens the incentive, I figure. <shrug> The idea may well fall flat, or be overkill; but, I'm curious to see how it'll play out. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Apr 12, 2017 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ Even though A-level biology was six years ago I still think of RFLP every time I see your acronym! $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2018 at 16:32

3 Answers 3


Nomenclature of binary (inorganic) compounds [AWARDED].

The following canonical question was created in response to this RFCP and the bounty was awarded:

How to name binary (inorganic) compounds given their chemical formula, and vice-versa?

A common question for chemistry learners is how to generate systematic names for binary inorganic compounds like $\ce{SO3}$ and $\ce{ICl}$, etc. Likewise, learners want to know how to generate formulas from names like phosphorus tribromide and sodium hydride.

Sample questions that would be marked as duplicate:

Patronage bonus = 250 bounty!

To be eligible, a canonical Q&A needs to describe how to systematically name any binary compound, whether ionic or covalent, including the sometimes different nomenclature of the hydrides and when and when not to use prefixes indicating number of atoms in the formula, but excluding the hydrocarbons. A canonical Q&A should also describe how to construct formulas from the systematic names.

For example, this post should explain how to name $\ce{P2O5}$, $\ce{HCl}$, $\ce{FeBr2}$, and $\ce{B2H6}$. It should explain how to interpret names like potassium oxide, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine trifluoride. It need not explain how to name $\ce{C3H8}$ nor how to interpret 2-methylbutane.

If multiple Q&A posts are made, the first post that meets the above criteria and reaches 10 votes will win!

Obligatory table of contents link: Canonical Q&A – Proposing A Patronage System

  • $\begingroup$ I add a 50 reputation bounty to this RFCP. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Entry posted: How to name binary (inorganic) compounds given their chemical formula, and vice-versa? $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2018 at 11:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ben, does @GaurangTandon's post sufficiently cover the aspects of "the sometimes different nomenclature of the hydrides" you were wanting included? $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Jun 11, 2018 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ Ben, I didn't separate out the hydrides on purpose, because their naming was already being covered under the covalent compounds section. However, now that I read it carefully, I am unable to understand what you actually wanted from "the sometimes different nomenclature". I'll be happy to expand my post if you clarify further. $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2018 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ @GaurangTandon By the phrase "the sometime different nomenclature of the hydrides," I mean that many hydrides have what appear to be nonsystematic names that survive: $\ce{H2O}$ water, $\ce{NH3}$ ammonia, $\ce{BH3}$ borane, $\ce{PH3}$ phosphine, and to the novice even $\ce{CH4}$ methane seems out of place. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Jun 12, 2018 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I would be happy to post the bounty once the question is old enough. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Jun 12, 2018 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ @BenNorris I see, that really isn't "nomenclature of the hydrides" though, because it isn't systematic :P I will expand my post to cover them within the next two days. $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 2:56
  • $\begingroup$ @BenNorris Expansions made, have a look if it is upto the mark :) How to name binary (inorganic) compounds given their chemical formula, and vice-versa? $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2018 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @GaurangTandon - Looks good. I have put up my bounty. I would wait to see if hBy2Py will add the 50 bounty. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Jun 15, 2018 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py - I have determined that GaurongTandon's answer meets my expectations. If you want to chip in your extra 50 to the bounty, now is the time. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Jun 15, 2018 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ @BenNorris Great! $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2018 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ Only one bounty can be active on a question at a time. I will post mine after you award yours. (@GaurangTandon) $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Jun 15, 2018 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ But definitely wait the full week to award it. Want to promote the post as long as possible! $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Jun 15, 2018 at 12:30

Relation of Nodes and Energy

Perhaps this doesn't quite fit the original intention of the patronage system, but I think this is an interesting question that could be have some potential to be used as a canonical post and I think a normal bounty would just reach the 7 days and go unclaimed because it seems like the answer could be fairly technical. In addition, I like the concept of the patronage system so it can't hurt to promote the concept or maybe expand its breadth.

I'm looking for an answer to this question: When is it true that more nodes equals higher energy?. There are a decent number of questions about nodes and their relation to energy/bonding, and this post could be used as a canonical post for them. Some of these include:

Patronage Bonus= 300 bounty

An answer to this question should address the points listed in the original question. In particular, it should address why calcium has a filled 4s orbital rather than a 3d orbital and what is meant in general by a comparable node.

If multiple posts are made, the one which reaches 12 upvotes first will receive the bounty.

Table of Contents: Canonical Q&A – Proposing A Patronage System

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Fine by me to riff on the concept this way! It's really all about sponsoring high-quality content by enabling rep incentives that aren't tied to the 7-day bounty timeframe. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Aug 23, 2017 at 0:24

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