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I've read that bounties on questions move the question to the featured questions. I think this is a complete waste, bounties and featured questions should be made separate. If a bounty is not awarded the system should ask the person who made the bounty if they would like to keep the bounty available indefinitely (or until they run out of the reputation to keep the bounty in place) or not. Paying reputation for the featured questions tab which is not refunded is fine, that truly is taking up a spotlight. I don't care if an important question I have is featured, otherwise I would create a much higher bounty.

The problem is bounty periods do not account for more obscure subjects/topics/languages/etc and even if the s/t/l is not obscure people have a tendency to post generic answers to questions, not testing code if code is involved, etc. In example if I place a bounty on an Apache related question I wouldn't mind having it awarded six months later, it truly takes someone with striking design and development skills to understand very complex questions sometimes. By having the bounty die-off the important question is no longer appears important and the more difficult question has a greatly reduced chance of being answered. A useful answer half a year from now is better than a slim chance of an answer that is even half on-topic.

Bounties should be fully refunded if they should expire.

Featured questions should expire without being refunded to prevent questions from perpetually reappearing in the featured questions list.

Bounties and featured questions should be allowed to coexist though after the featured question period expires the bounty should remain though the question removed from the featured questions list.

Featured questions essentially work better for more popular topics which more people are likely to answer.

Long lasting bounties essentially work better for more obscure topics which will much longer before the right person with the capability to correctly answer the question.

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This isn't completely crazy, but how would users find bountied questions if they're not on the featured list? –  Michael Mrozek Apr 6 '12 at 2:39
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What is ````````````? –  Cody Gray Apr 6 '12 at 2:59
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Bounties should be fully refunded if they should expire. I think that this would make it a little to easy to game the system. –  Dennis Apr 6 '12 at 3:00
    
I might be able to see the point if a bounty is offered by someone other than the person that asked the question, but I find it hard to see an accommodating circumstance otherwise. It makes sense that the bounty expires, otherwise it would be too simple to game as previously noted. Perhaps it might make more sense to allow an "extension" (at the cost of additional rep, of course) to allow the user to decide whether their bounty is worth extending. Then again, this is already pretty close to how the system exists already... may as well open another bounty. –  M.Babcock Apr 6 '12 at 3:23
    
The point is to give equal footing to less trafficked topics/languages. CSS bounties are much more likely to be rewarded than Apache bounties. The current setup is broken and apparently so is the understanding of what I'm saying by a lot of people. >__> –  John Apr 6 '12 at 5:09
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"...apparently so is the understanding of what I'm saying by a lot of people." Yes, for example, I don't understand what `````````` means. –  Cody Gray Apr 6 '12 at 5:10
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3 Answers

Your whole argument is based on an axiom that a question with a bounty on it that is not featured is more likely to be answered than a question without a bounty (and also not featured). But this is not really true.

By the time a question has run through a bounty, it's been around at least 9 days (2 before placement is allowed, 7 days of bounty). Consider now the case if the bounty remained, but the question was no longer featured. After 9 days, it's unlikely that people will casually run into your post by random browsing (making it less likely someone will just see a bounty and have that be a primary compelling reason to answer the question). Instead, most of the people that find your question will have gotten there via some search. So most of the viewers will be viewers who were already interested in the question before they were even aware it had a bounty. If they answer, it's probably because they already know the answer, or are already interested enough in the topic to seek out an answer; your bounty did't even really factor in -- the reward here was not very important.

Sure, you'll get occasional situations here and there where someone answers a question they wouldn't otherwise have, but these would be rare occurrences. Does this really justify complicating the existing system that is both easy to understand and hard to game? I don't think so.

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Wrong, the point is that the system is broken and only favors high traffic easier questions. –  John Apr 6 '12 at 5:07
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@John: Yeah, don't bother explaining how his reasoning is wrong or anything. Just declare his argument wrong and ignore anything he's trying to tell you. –  Nicol Bolas Apr 6 '12 at 6:15
    
@John - I believe the broken part is having bounties in the first place. I answer all the questions I can, and don't care a bit about bounties. Adding a large bounty doesn't suddenly make me know the answer anyway. So how does it help? –  Bo Persson Apr 6 '12 at 10:13
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@john: but how does your suggestion help to fix that problem in the system? –  sth Apr 6 '12 at 18:13
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@John, I agree with what sth said, if that's the problem, you'r proposal isn't the solution. I don't even really agree that that's a problem, but for the sake of argument I'll assume it is. A potential solution to that problem would be to make bounties (along with being featured) last a certain number of page views or days, whichever comes last. So, if the bounty still hasn't reached X page views after Y days, then it goes on. Don't know if this is a good solution, but at least it addresses that problem. –  Ben Lee Apr 6 '12 at 19:46
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apparently so is the understanding of what I'm saying by a lot of people.

Or maybe, you're terrible at explaining what exactly it is that you're asking for. Just look at your post. You have bits of your suggestion scattered everywhere, to the point that it's hard to understand the scope of what you're even asking for.

It took multiple readings of your post to get the following impression of what you're suggesting (and I'm not even sure this is accurate):

  1. The "featured questions" list becomes something you pay to put questions into. You pay some quantity of rep, and your question becomes featured. This status expires after some (unstated) time period.

  2. Bountied questions are not featured by default. If you want them featured, you pay the featured cost, on top of the price of the bounty.

  3. Bounties can be refunded after the initial bounty period, or have the bounty period extended indefinitely.

  4. It may be that you're also saying that getting on the featured list requires paying a bounty on top of the featuring surcharge. That is, you can't feature a question unless you're putting a bounty on it. But again, it's not very clear.

Personally? I'd say that having full refunds of bounties is a no-go. At best, I'd allow for partials. Further, refunds seem silly in the face of bounties with an indefinite period.

I'd also only be willing to allow the split between bountied questions and featured ones if #4 is part of the deal (so that featured questions always have bounties. Let's not waste anyone's time).

That being said, I think you're misunderstanding how the bounty system works. For example:

In example if I place a bounty on an Apache related question I wouldn't mind having it awarded six months later, it truly takes someone with striking design and development skills to understand very complex questions sometimes. By having the bounty die-off the important question is no longer appears important and the more difficult question has a greatly reduced chance of being answered.

You're assuming that such a person "with striking design and development skills" would even find your question if it wasn't listed under the "featured questions" tab. If your question has lain fallow for 6 months, odds are good that it's not easily visible. Even fairly obscure topics like have more churn than that. That's why the "featured questions" tab exists at all: to highlight questions that have bounties, so people looking to get rep from such questions can find them.

Your way is only useful in the unlikely event of such a person stumbling across your ancient question virtually at random. And you assume that such a person would not have answered it without the bounty (remember: you can always offer and award a bounty after someone gives you a good answer).

Is that a circumstance common enough that we need to make such significant changes to the bounty system to handle?

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Then what is the profit of placing bounty if its fully refunded to the user. If its possible then every user will not select an answer for bounty and wait for being it expired and he will get his bounty back. This is not fair at all, so things are good as it is, don't expect unnesserly changes. Because it will produce more harm.

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Currently your response doesn't make sense as the highest voted answer of 2 up votes or more is automatically assigned the bounty. –  virtualxtc Dec 17 '13 at 0:31
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