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I've offered a few bounties on SO. My expectation has been that exposure will increase and more people will attempt to answer the question. My (limited) experience has been that the number of answers does not increase. Admittedly, these are questions requiring specialized knowledge, but still...

Has anyone had an exceptionally good experience offering a bounty? If so, what was the amount you offered?

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In your case I'd say it worked perfectly: apparently no non-helpful answers were posted just to get the bounty (I've seen different examples — causing the bounty to attract bad answers), and you probably did get some more attention. – Arjan Jan 30 '11 at 10:46
up vote 12 down vote accepted

While there are corner cases like yours (and some of my own) where the knowledge required to answer the question is not common enough for a bounty to make a difference, I think that many people effectively use the bounty system to lure people into providing answers.

It is my personal belief that any bounty amount is enough to entice someone to answer your question if they have any inkling of an answer. However, no amount of bounty will cause the appropriate knowledge to manifest itself if it doesn't already exist.

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+1 and accepted for that great ending quote! – TrueWill Jan 30 '11 at 22:24

Bounties are a "push" to your question, increase the visibility and the motivation to answer.

By doing so you increase your chance:

  • People seeing your question
    • People answering your question
      • Getting the right answer

Not more not less, not less.

It is not a magical solution: amount of bounty will cause the appropriate knowledge to manifest itself if it doesn't already exist. Jeff Yates

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Not more not less, not less. ... regards :D – Dr. belisarius Jan 30 '11 at 9:10

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