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Fairly often when I look through the featured tabs on my favorite tags I find bounty questions that really should have been closed before they were ever eligible for a bounty.

These questions tend to take one of two forms:

  1. The usual poorly asked questions often asked by new users. There isn't really enough information to answer the question, there isn't any indication of research effort or attempts to solve the problem independently, asking for tool/plugin recommendations, and the like. Nothing really notable there, bad questions get posted all the time.

  2. The "Will you build this / Will you fix this for me?" questions. These questions tend to read more like specs from a client or manager. As in:
    I have this, I need it to do that, it must meet this long list of specs...
    Usually with these a larger bounty is attached and apparently users "Will work for rep."

The problem is that bounty questions can't be closed in the usual way. Rather than casting a close vote and moving on, the question needs to be flagged for moderator attention.

Here complications arise...

Some flags seem to get handled fairly quickly and all is well. While others languish in the flag queue until the bounty has run its course.

In the later case there are obvious problems, the bad question gets answered and the bad question sits in the spotlight getting an awful lot of attention. This gives the asker and new users that see it the impression that its OK to ask bad questions so long as you're willing to pony up some rep. as there is always someone out there who "Will work for rep."

TL;DR
You really should read the whole post, its not that long...

My questions:

Is there a difference in opinion amongst moderators about how flags on bounty questions should be handled?

Do some moderators intentionally let the bounty run its course, while others act on them as quickly as possible or is it just that the flag queue is long and sometimes it takes a few days to process?

Anyone have any good ideas about how we could solve this issue?

Related:
How can we close questions with bounties?
Allow users to vote to close bountied questions

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The flags queue normally sits at around 7 or 8 hundred. –  animuson Nov 17 '13 at 15:44
    
@animuson So its just that it takes time to process? I've noticed that flags I've made well after a flag on a bounty question get handled first, are they not handled chronologically? –  apaul34208 Nov 17 '13 at 15:51
    
Well flags get separated into groups. So depending on what group it is in (for example, not an answer flags), it can get handled faster. –  animuson Nov 17 '13 at 15:53
    
@animuson In your opinion would it be worth while to place a priority on bounty question flags, perhaps a separate grouping, seeing as how they're in the spotlight and are a bit more time sensitive? –  apaul34208 Nov 17 '13 at 15:56
4  
Some mods like letting the bounty run out, closing the question and deleting it for good measure. That's an all round win for everyone –  random Nov 17 '13 at 18:28
    
@random I see your point, but leaving the question visible for so long creates a bit of a problem. Any way to achieve the same effect a little faster? –  apaul34208 Nov 17 '13 at 18:32

1 Answer 1

I would say it all depends on the actual "offence" - i.e. a combination of what is exactly wrong with the question and who posted the bounty and why.

If it's a misguided new(ish) user then I, for one, am more likely to refund the bounty and close the question right away, maybe even adding a comment to try to help the user improve their question.

However, if the bounty has been added someone who should know better then I'm with @random on this one.

As has been pointed out in the comments these flags tend to come into the "other" category as people usually want to give more information about the why they are raising the flag and these flags do take longer to process as they usually require more investigation and research. This could mean that the bounty expires before we have a chance to process the flag.

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"with @random"? Meaning that you let the bounty run out then delete the question for questioners "who should know better"? This seems counterproductive as AFAIK bounties are refunded on deleted questions so essentially they get the answer for free. –  Martin Smith Nov 17 '13 at 19:39
    
@MartinSmith - I'm not 100% sure about bounties being refunded on deleted questions. If that's the case then I may have to modify my behaviour. –  ChrisF Nov 17 '13 at 19:40
    
I was the unwitting beneficiary of this here so unless things have changed since then? –  Martin Smith Nov 17 '13 at 19:42
    
@MartinSmith - I doubt whether it would have changed. In that case it's best to leave the question closed but undeleted :) As closed questions can get deleted automatically, the bounty will be returned at some point, but in the short term... –  ChrisF Nov 17 '13 at 19:45
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"I'm with @random on this one" - what, why? Shouldn't users who should know better be treated like they should know better, i.e. punished for undesired behaviour? I'm more inclined to think that the opposite would be preferred - let bounties by new users run out and then close + delete the question and close + delete questions by older users right away, with or without refunding the bounty (ignoring the apparent fact that deleting questions refunds bounties). (Well, I'm actually inclined to say close + delete right away always, perhaps refund bounty only sometimes). –  Dukeling Nov 17 '13 at 20:11

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