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In this post: Do offered bounties affect the reputation gain needed for the Yearling badge? one of the comments said:

Bounties don't help improve the overall quality; they help getting an answer in the cases nobody has provided the answer the OP was expecting.

I see a few reason for bounties to improve the quality of the post:

  1. More views.
  2. More answers.
  3. More probable edits.

But then my experience is limited, so I need to ask someone with more experience and maybe some access to statistics.

So, do bounties improve overall quality of posts?

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Bounties are not supposed to be about question quality, if a bounty happens to improve the question's quality, well, that's a happy accident. Furthermore more answers is not necessarily a good thing, and it might prove detrimental to the value of the whole thread. –  Yannis Sep 11 '12 at 15:01
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Most bounties can simply be seen as advertisement for a question. They are usually placed to get extra attention for a question. The result of increased attention is not necessarily increased quality. –  Bart Sep 11 '12 at 15:06
    
@YannisRizos In my case it gave me very good answers thou I agree with your arguments. –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 11 '12 at 15:09
    
@Bart But then do they offer any advantage to SO community or just the one that offers them profit from them. –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 11 '12 at 15:11
    
Perhaps in the sense that an answered question is often better than an unanswered question. (Depending on the quality of the answers received). And you could start particular bounties to award answers which are authoritative references, canonical answers or replace out of date answers. In that sense the result can be advantageous. But this is of course not guaranteed. –  Bart Sep 11 '12 at 15:14
    
@Bart Then do you think because they are productive to the site should be deducted from yearling calculation? –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 11 '12 at 15:17
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I personally don't care about the yearling badge enough to have an opinion on that one way or another. –  Bart Sep 11 '12 at 15:18
    
@Bart I would have asked for a feature request, and I didnt't wanted to be too far-fetched ? –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 11 '12 at 15:20
    
@AvadaKedavra No problem with me, for me the answer is somehow still valid, since that bounty goes to someone who gives a good answer, helps the reputation system. Is the equivalent of social mobility but for this reputation system. –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 11 '12 at 15:27

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Bounties are just to give more visibility to a question, and get an answer when you don't get any answer that explain what you want to know. As you are giving to the users an incentive to answer, it is more probable you get an answer, or a comment; editing the question to improve its quality doesn't happen more often on questions with an open bounty.

There are two categories of users: who sees the question in the "featured" tab, and who sees the question in the front page, all times it is bumped by a new answer, or an edit for an old answer. The first group looks for questions with an open bounty to answer them, and they are more interested in giving an answer; the other group could edit the question, if there is something to edit, but that is not done because the question has an open bounty.

There could be somebody who gives a quick answer just for the matter of trying to answer a question with a bounty. Considering some answers I have seen, I would say the overall quality of the question (answers and question) could get lower. Those users are surely a minority, but for some questions the number of guesses increases when the OP offers a bounty.

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At least do they have more visits from outside of SO, don't web-crawlers see them more often? –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 11 '12 at 15:56
    
I was talking more of the visibility to users with an account on the SE site. Web crawlers don't give priority to questions with an open bounty, for the simple fact they see them as normal posts. –  kiamlaluno Sep 11 '12 at 16:15
    
"...but for some questions the number of guesses increases when the OP offers a bounty." This is why I, personally, don't like to post a bounty even if a question isn't getting any good answers. (At least they don't have that stupid auto-accept feature anymore. If I think an answer is good enough to accept, I'd like to do it myself. If I don't think any of the answers are good enough, I'd rather not accept any of them than have some faceless piece of code accept one for me.) –  RobH Sep 11 '12 at 16:18
    
It would seem that there is at least a correlation between bounties and edits. Posts receive almost as many edits during a bounty as they do before the bounty as opposed to less than 1/3 after a bounty ends. See the query Edits During a before during and after bounty –  Some Helpful Commenter Sep 11 '12 at 16:18

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