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The use case for making an answer Community Wiki is to have a single large answer that everyone can maintain. This works, but it can conflict with the use case for bounties. In particular, if the answers on a question are out of date, it is usually useful to place a bounty on the question to get it more attention and reward people for providing more up to date answers.

However, if the main answer is Community Wiki, a bounty will not reward the person/people who update the answer but will reward the person who originally created it. So the original answerer will be rewarded for doing nothing more and any updaters will not be rewarded for their work. Is there any good way to change how bounties work in this case to make their effect consistent with the intent of the bounty system?

This was prompted by this question on Gaming.SE

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However, if the main answer is Community Wiki, a bounty will not reward the person/people who update the answer but the person who originally created it. Are you sure? I don't know, but if I'd had to guess, I'd say it gets awarded to the post owner. –  Dennis May 30 '12 at 15:28
I think what you are saying there is what I mean. I just phrased it a little strangely. –  murgatroid99 May 30 '12 at 15:32
@Dennis The post owner is the person who created it. They get all the bounties and badges –  Lorem Ipsum May 30 '12 at 15:37
No, I was thinking of something else. But @yoda corrected me. –  Dennis May 30 '12 at 15:41
thing worth keeping in mind is that current algorithm to determine majority contributor in CW posts is based solely on the number of line breaks inserted –  gnat May 30 '12 at 16:13
Right, but at least currently the bounty goes to the person who originally posted the question, not the majority contributor. –  murgatroid99 May 30 '12 at 16:17
Many thanks to all of you for addressing this problem ;3 –  euphoria overlord Jun 3 '12 at 18:45

3 Answers 3

While it would be more work than simply using owner or character count to determine who should get the bounty, another possibility would be for the person providing the bounty to choose, among all of the people who contributed to the community answer selected, which should get the bounty. It could be taken even further to allow several (or all) of the contributors to share the bounty (have it split equally among them) by allowing the bounty awarder to check off who contributed sufficiently significant content.

The problem that I see with a character count edit is that someone going in and just reformatting a post, making spelling/word choice/grammar edits can result in more characters touched than someone who simply adds two or three sentences that effectively summarizes the best solution.

While I think it would probably be best to have the bounty placer choose the contributor that gets the bounty, if that is deemed as being too much development effort, too complicated of a UI for the user, or whatever, I would think that the next best alternative would be to split up the bounty between all of the people that edited the answer (or all of the people who edited it after the bounty, one of the two). This would encourage people to add something to a community answer, rather than encouraging them to go all or nothing.

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I don't think the current functionality or Ben Brocka's solution is the right way to go. There's something unsatisfying and unresolved about allowing the system to award the bounty based on an algorithm: the whole point of the bounty—at least to me—is to reward a person, not a post, for coming to the rescue.

So I'm partial to Servy's solution, where you can choose a contributor instead of an answer. This, as mentioned in Servy's answer, is not without its faults, biggest of which is the fact that it would introduce a new UI just for awarding a bounty.

Instead, I like yoda's suggestion the most: allow the awarding of bounties to revisions, not just posts. I think doing so would capture the spirit of awarding a contributor while being able to work within the UI as it is today.

Here's how I could see it working:

  • You can continue to award bounties as you do today. If you do so, it gets awarded to the post owner as normal.

  • Additionally, if you view the revisions list on an answer, you can award a bounty to any revision available. The bounty would then be awarded to the person who made that revision, not the post owner.

This would preserve the current simplicity for most users (the so-called "80%") while allowing people to handle the edge cases—like community wiki—for power users.

Of course, there's still a problem of discoverability for both bounty awarders and people looking to collect a bounty. But, if you're not sure how bounties work now, the current UI doesn't help that much anyway:

This question has an open bounty worth +50 reputation from Retrosaur ending in 3 days.

The current answer(s) are out-of-date and require revision given recent changes.

Please detail a comprehensive list with all hats that can be obtained without any purchase required.

I wonder if the whole issue of discovering how bounties work could be solved by a "how do bounties work?" link or tooltip with a short blurb that explains:

Bounties are awarded to the post or revision the person placing the bounty feels best answers the question.

Or something to that effect.

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The simplest way I can think of would be to whomever made the most substantial edits to the post since the bounty was offered; the only practical way to measure this would seem to be the amount of your edit (in characters).

Basically whoever did the most work to contribute to that answer after the bounty was offered would get the reward, as measured by character count. So if I add 1000 characters explaining X more in depth I win the reward, even if someone edited the post after me but only changed 30 characters of markdown.

It's not perfect, since it rewards adding information rather than good information, but generally unnecessary information added to a CW as spam will be removed, so it doesn't seem like a terrible option.

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This seems like it would be a good way to do it as long as you disqualify reverted edits (as you imply) –  murgatroid99 May 30 '12 at 15:41
rather than complicating things (e.g., your 1000 word edit might be less useful than someone else's 200 word edit), there should be the ability to reward the editor for a particular revision. –  Lorem Ipsum May 30 '12 at 15:42
@yoda yeah, that'd be a way to do it as well, I was just thinking within the current workflow. With a separate way to select a revision to award that'd be good..but who gets auto-awarded bounties? –  Ben Brocka May 30 '12 at 15:44
Auto-awarded bounties don't go to existing answers, so that shouldn't matter –  murgatroid99 May 30 '12 at 15:45
Character count can be tricky, because if they remove x amount of characters and add y amount of characters, do they then only get credit for y - x amount of characters? How do you determine what to do with the deleted characters? –  animuson May 30 '12 at 18:14
@animuson I was thinking changed characters, deleted + added. It's a concern though, anything automated is going to be blunt. –  Ben Brocka May 30 '12 at 18:15
@yoda do you plan to make that suggestion as a separate answer? If you aren't I will :P –  Ben Brocka May 30 '12 at 18:16
@BenBrocka Feel free to add it to yours :) –  Lorem Ipsum May 30 '12 at 18:35

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