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Problem:

Now that subsequent bounties on a given question have to be greater than the previous bounty, there is no way to reward multiple good answers that weren't chosen as the accepted answer, but may still deserve an additional reward above and beyond the upvote.

Whenever we field a question on Meta about how to reward other good answers we point to the bounty system as the best method to do so. That is no longer available for this use case.

Process to duplicate:

  1. Post question
  2. Receive several very good, helpful answers, upvote them
  3. Select one as "accepted"
  4. Feel bad you can't also "accept" other great answers with the additional accept reward
  5. Set 50 point bounty to reward one answer
  6. Find out you can't set another 50 point bounty - it has to be 100 or greater

Root cause:

In order to avoid abuse of the bounty system by allowing people to repeatedly post 50 point bounties, each subsequent bounty must be at least twice the value of the most recent bounty:

Clever bounty reputation hack

Solution:

Allow the OP to award 15 of their rep instantly to any answer on their question that hasn't already been given this award. This is the same amount as an accepted answer, and doesn't fully involve the bounty system - no delay, no bump, no featured tab, etc.

Implementation:

While there are a number of ways to implement this in the UI, the one that makes the most sense is to add a button in the start a bounty box, "Reward other good answers" that enables a +15 link that looks like a bounty reward next to each post. Click the ones you want to give your 15 rep awards to. They would look like rewarded bounties to others viewing the page so others can see you valued the additional insight they provided.

The reward would be stored in the system as a bounty, but if the OP went back to the page they would have to click "Reward other good answers" again to reward other answers - the +15 reward links wouldn't re-appear, so the DB doesn't need to store state.

Since other bounties can't be awarded in 15 point increments, then the check to see if a +15 has already been awarded can be done on the fly without storing any additional flags in the DB. Just see if there's a +15 bounty already awarded, and disallow the OP from adding another +15 if they select "Reward other good answers" again.

We would have to allow them to award this to the accepted answer as well, otherwise it entangles the bounty system with the accept system again, which would simply be annoying to deal with. If people want to double award the accepted answer, I don't see a reason to stop them, and it would avoid the issue of awarding them, then accepting the answer giving a different result than accepting the answer, then being unable to reward them.

We might want to consider disabling this link until they have accepted an answer. If none of the answers are acceptable, they shouldn't be giving the same "accept" bonus to any answer. A little more complex, but seems to be in keeping with the intent of this particular feature.

Abuse:

It doesn't really provide any new path for abuse that isn't already provided by bounties. The only main difference is that it doesn't have a two day delay before it can be awarded, but since the purpose is not to attract new answers, but to reward existing ones, then I don't think that's an issue, especially given the low point value.

I don't think people will annoy OP for this additional bounty any more than they already do to accept an answer or place a bounty. So far users/mods do a pretty good job of discouraging that kind of badgering through comments and flags.

share|improve this question
    
A downvote? With no comment or dissenting answer? I'm crushed! –  Adam Davis Dec 29 '11 at 17:25
1  
Is all this complexity really needed? –  NullUserException อ_อ Dec 29 '11 at 17:32
    
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ The community will upvote or downvote this and we'll find out if it's an important feature - My main point is that the change to the bounty system has a side effect we should explicitly consider. –  Adam Davis Dec 29 '11 at 17:45
    
How much times is there the need to offer multiple bounties for the same question? I would think that in most of the cases a single user needs to reward a single answer per question. –  kiamlaluno Dec 29 '11 at 18:14
    
Interesting idea. I think it comes too close to the idea of just throwing around rep like candy, though, and cheapens the whole process. –  Andrew Barber Dec 29 '11 at 18:42
    
    
Also relevant: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/36567/… –  Adam Davis Dec 29 '11 at 18:50
    
This is simply long-accepted usage of the bounty system that has been completely nerfed. Either we need to accept that this is a feature we need to include in some way (if not this, then some other way) or we need to conclude that this was never important, and while we allowed it with bounties it was never meant to be the answer to the above questions. –  Adam Davis Dec 29 '11 at 18:51
    
Or when having answered the question oneself: 5. Set 100 point bounty to reward someone else's answer. –  Arjan Dec 29 '11 at 18:55
    
There's one thing that makes me hesitate: wouldn't this at some time reach the point where answerers kind of expect the OP to give some extra? (Maybe 15 is actually too low.) –  Arjan Dec 29 '11 at 18:56
    
I think this is a great feature. –  Kalamane Dec 29 '11 at 18:59
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/107282/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/99457/… - These are requests that show users want this, but they apply to bounties, whereas this request wants to implement a new tip similar to a bounty, but distinctly different in timeframe, magnitude, and intention. –  Adam Davis Jan 10 '12 at 1:34

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