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I opened a bounty on stackoverflow hoping that my question would get more visibility, but sadly I noticed that it only got three views since I started the bounty yesterday.

Eventually, in 7 days, it will reach the top of the featured tab (right now it's on page 2, and no one will look that far).. But I don't want to wait for 7 days before the visibility bonus of the bounty will come into effect - and eventually it will. It just doesn't seem right to me having to sit for days before my answer goes up the list.

So, in my opinion the ordering should be changed. I have the following proposal: The reverse of what it is now.

Pros

  • People are more likely to receive an answer immediately (which is good, people want things now not later), that maybe the OP will mark as accepted in advance, therefore reducing the number of featured questions (which is good because the others get more visibility).
  • The asker will have time to accept the answer. For example, now the first question on the list on SO is this, it ends in 2 hours and it currently has a very high number of views and thus high potential for answers. However, if I decide to answer now, what are the chances the asker sees it and has time to accept it before the bounty expires?

Cons

  • There is none I can see. Same potential for visibility and answers, but simply reversed (you get a lot of visibility and answers right away, and little later on, instead of the inverse).

What do you think?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is handled the same way eBay handles auctions -- the ones ending first are shown at the top.

I do not feel any of your proposals would make things better, in fact, I think a few of them would make things worse.

The short answer to your question is, the ordering favors answerers -- they can come in, provide an answer, and see results (accept or auto-accept, if it meets the criteria in the /faq) quickly.

The answerers are doing all the work, so why is it reasonable to change the ordering to inordinately benefit you, the asker?

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I edited my post, #2 and #3 were kinda stupid and not even I completely agreed with them.. I shouldn't have proposed them in the first place. But still, I believe #1 (the only one left) would be better than the current system. Can I ask why you think it's not? Thanks –  Andreas Bonini Jan 24 '10 at 21:31
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Jeff, why favour the answerer? The answerer has no programming problem that they're desperate to solve. The question asker, on the other hand, really needs an answer to their question. They're even sacrificing some of their own rep, which they earned answering other people's questions, in the hope for a quick answer. People offering bounties contribute more to the community in the process of earning all the rep they're giving away, and are also in greater need of an answer than others. The hard earned rep they're giving away shows it's indeed they who have done all the work. –  thomasrutter Nov 19 '10 at 14:40
    
@thomas see blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/03/… -- we unapologetically favor answerers. You want an answer, right? –  Jeff Atwood Nov 20 '10 at 0:04
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I understand that post talks about rewarding answers to questions being more important than rewarding questions. But I don't think this case is as simple. Here, with a bounty, the just-under-seven day delay before answers start appearing is a delay preventing a question receiving good answers fast, and good answers fast is better than good answers slow. The points rewarded to the answerer is the same either way. As for who is more deserving of getting what they want faster, consider that any person offering a bounty does so with points they themselves earned answering many questions well. –  thomasrutter Nov 28 '10 at 16:21

People are more likely to receive an answer immediately

Or not. By the time a bounty can be offered, the question has already sat around for two days - if it hasn't been answered, then there's a decent chance that the answer is either obscure, or the question was poorly asked. Letting it sit around for the duration of the bounty gives the author time to improve it... or failing that, more users time to run across it.

therefore reducing the number of featured questions

Not offering a bounty would accomplish the same thing, quicker... if the system doesn't do what you want, then don't use it and thereby reduce the noise for those who do use it.

However, if I decide to answer now, what are the chances the asker sees it and has time to accept it before the bounty expires?

That really depends on how often the asker checks SO. You'd think that since it was worth offering a bounty, he'd stick around and watch it... But, who knows? The top question right now is exceedingly general, and I gotta wonder if the author's time wouldn't have been better spent just posting his query and asking for advice in making it execute faster rather than soliciting clairvoyants on SO...

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If you want more attention, choose a higher bounty.

Questions to which I've attached a 550 bounty have received plenty of attention.

There are many, many questions which are worth only 100, 150, or 200 bounty, and I can get more rep answering regular questions than spending that time on the chance that I might capture a small bounty.

So if you want more attention than the current system gives you, give more of your rep.

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+1 same here. If you want high visibility, you need to invest. :) –  Pëkka Jan 25 '10 at 8:40
    
The OP's issue is that for the first few days of bounty, barely anybody even sees the question because it is so hidden away, and people only start noticing it in the last few days, whereas the OP (and I) would prefer it the other way around - the problem gets solved quicker. Choosing a higher bounty does not affect this behaviour in any way. Your question still goes to the end of the list, which is three pages deep, moving its way gradually upward as other bountied questions expire. –  thomasrutter Nov 19 '10 at 14:28

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