This question applies to StackExchange sites like cooking.stackexchange.com and other area51 sites. SOFU has a different UI.
Currently, underneath a question which has been [closed] you see:
- Squiggly gray line. Striking orange text. Bold blue links. (cooking.stackexchange example 1)
Currently, underneath a question which has a Bounty you see:
- Squiggly gray line. Striking orange text. Bold blue links. Small red square. (cooking.stackexchange example 2)
I'm all for that thing which helps distinguish meaning in text--you know, reading--but graphic cues send a potent signal, especially when they are prominent and used rarely. These two graphic changes only occur when something is either very bad, or very good, and yet they look almost identical.
I'm proposing a redesign of the bounty message. It's just important that it looks different from the closed message. The primary change could be color. Bounty is good, so maybe it shouldn't be red, which in many places says 'stop'. The squiggly gray line suggests messiness/do-not-cross/general mayhem, which is good for closed questions but not for bounties. Bright orange text looks like a haz-mat warning/road-cone, so maybe that could be toned on the bounty questions.
I think these small changes will enhance the SE UI, keeping user effort and confusion at a minimum and site effectiveness and intuitiveness as a maximum.