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Just curious if this is a wanted feature or not.

Sometimes on some sites I'll see questions that have high traffic, but no answers whatsoever, and the users will post high award bounties in the hope of attracting answers to the questions.

Now I'm not saying that they stay unanswered forever. I'm just saying that sometimes, some questions don't get any answers within that 1 week span, and the bounty goes to waste.

Can we allow larger bounties to last longer? For example, the standard seems to be set at a flat 7 days; Can we increase it by 1 day for each extra 50 rep added? So a 300 rep bounty would last 12 days? Something like this:

Rep____Time (days)
50 ---- 4
100---- 5
200---- 7
300---- 9 etc etc

At the very least, can we allow for longer bounties given higher bounties?

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13  
I like this because it allows users to set bounties based on how long they think it will take to get a good answer. However, if we do this, we should probably drop 50 rep bounties to 4 or 5 days. –  Emrakul May 3 '13 at 15:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I posted this in the comments however I was asked to make them an answer as well:

Sometimes you don't need the answer faster, you just need an answer to a very difficult question. I could see how this would be useful on those low traffic obscurer tabs, where users post well thought out, thorough and hard questions.

They would like an answer and increasing how long the question is on the featured tab and with a big reward, it would expose it to a bigger audience thus increasing it's chance of being seen by the right person.

However it's not about just exposure time. It's about exposure time with the high reward. Which could incentivize a user who knows more about the issue to figure out what's going on. Yes I could get it up for 3 weeks with only 350 rep but that's only at an average 115 rep per week.

If I'm looking at those featured questions and I see a hard question I know I could answer but it would take time and effort I would be more willing to answer it if I knew I had the time without the large bounty expiring.

Finally you know that not every specialized person out there who uses the site is going to have a chance to see the featured tab in a week. Life > SO (I know that's hard to admit for some of us). So if I'm one of those busy people and I haven't logged in for 8 days I think I would be much more motivated to answer those hard questions if the reward is 500 points, not the 100 or 150 it would be if the asker was just going for exposure time.

I guess the essence of what I'm getting at is that it is (exposure time * bounty amount) which makes this a useful suggestion. You can achieve one or the other right now but not both, and I think both would, for some questions, be multiplicative to the chance of getting an answer.

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I don't really feel this is necessary. From a simple point, this mechanism already exists. You can post a new bounty if the first one doesn't bite, and in comparison to your proposed system, I can get 3 weeks of exposure for only 350 reputation with this compared to only 13 days of exposure in 500 reputation.

Also take into account how exposure is done. The featured tab is organized by "urgency", which works well when everything has the same time table. If we had longer time periods on higher payouts, then we judge by the time remaining in which lower-rep, shorter-life bounties have dominance. Alternatively, we judge by how much time has passed, in which high-rep bounties get exponential presence and can easily dwarf lower rep amounts for the entire period in which the lower rep bounty is placed.

In both cases, the long-runner bounties end up stale - they're sitting there for well over a week, apparently unable to attract a satisfactory answer. I don't think that a week is some magic number, we haven't actually done any studies that I know of with regards to optimum bounty length. But my thought pattern is that, if a whoppin' 500 points sits unclaimed for an entire week, that apparently wasn't enough motivation to get anyone to help. Sitting around for longer isn't really going to improve motivation - at that point it's about having the right person who knows the answer you need show up, and there's no inclination that's going to happen in the second week of a bounty.

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3  
This is also shirking aside the point where, from a general perspective, the whole reason you dump a whole 500 is to get an answer faster because it's a more attractive payout. If a 500 reputation bounty is supposed to earn an answer faster than a 50 reputation bounty, then having a longer life time doesn't really do it proper benefit. –  Grace Note May 3 '13 at 17:09
5  
However sometimes you don't need the answer faster, you just need an answer to a very difficult question. I could see how this would be useful on those low traffic obscurer tabs, where users post well thought out, thorough and hard questions. They would like an answer and increasing how long the question is on the featured tab and with how big of a reward, it would expose it to a bigger audience thus increasing it's chance of being seen by the right person. –  ryan May 3 '13 at 17:16
2  
@ryan If all you need is exposure time, then once again, the existing mechanisms will give you a lot more exposure time. –  Grace Note May 3 '13 at 17:18
2  
It's not about just exposer time though. I should of made that clearer, it's about exposure with the high reward. Which could incentevize a user who knows more about the issue to figure out what's going on. Yes I could get it up for 3 weeks with only 350 rep but that's only at an average 115 rep per week. If I'm looking at those featured questions and I see a hard question I know I could answer but it would take time and effort I would be more willing to answer it if I knew I had the time without the large bounty expiring. –  ryan May 3 '13 at 17:23
    
@ryan Let me address this in the answer body here. Comments would... be cumbersome. –  Grace Note May 3 '13 at 18:11
    
Then why not order the exposure list based on bounty, not on time left? That gets the big point questions higher on the list, which is usually the general aim of the bounty-er –  meme scientist May 7 '13 at 18:53
    
@Retrosaur If that was done at the same time as your suggestion, then low bounties pretty much get absolutely no visibility amidst the sea of larger bounty values, since they expire sooner and get lower priority. Which basically makes lower-tier bounties not worth the payment, since you're not going to get the visibility which is the point of casting a bounty. The advantage of a big bounty is to have the appeal on the weight of its number, not priority in being shown to people, which balances out the system. –  Grace Note May 7 '13 at 18:56
    
Bigger rewards attract more people. If a user only invests 50 rep into a bounty, they should get less than a user who invests 100+. Think about this. Consider having 300 rep to use on a single question. You can do 6 weeks at 50bounty each, or 1 week for 300 reputation. If it's only 1 week for 300, it should have higher priority. At least, that's how I see it. –  meme scientist May 7 '13 at 18:57
    
@Retrosaur Right, bigger rewards do attract more people, by weight of their number. So there isn't a big need to force them above the lower counts because they already have the advantage - you get a sea of varying numbers and can pick out the high ones at a glance. In your proposed system, people have to take extra effort to navigate to lower payouts. –  Grace Note May 7 '13 at 19:00
    
@ryan If you could post your comment as an answer, I'd love to award the bounty for you. I don't like the current solution SE has in place; it's clunky and feels awkward. –  meme scientist Jun 5 '13 at 1:19
    
@Retrosaur I took my comments and made them an answer I also expanded on them. Sorry I was asleep when you posted your comment. –  ryan Jun 5 '13 at 14:07

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