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Looking at the high number of "featured" bounty questions, many are small bounties (50), and have received no up votes and have no answer. In some cases, that is because the questions are obscure, ill-posed or have unclear titles.

Requiring the question to have gained at least 2 (could me more) up votes would help ensure that questions which get featured are actually well posed and answerable, and would help attract more attention to them.

Point-in-case: this featured question has no votes, no answers, no comments and very low views, a +50 bounty, and ends in less than 24h. Does it distract from other featured questions?

Has this been discussed before? What do you think?

EDIT: My point is that most questions on SO get at least 15 views, and at least one comment when they are originally asked, plus an upvote or two if they are good. That original upvote (or maybe a favorite) could be used as a token of worthiness for "featuring" a question. This is a not a chicken-and-egg problem if you only require one or two original upvotes. I would like to see stats on the amount of questions that start a bounty with no votes, no comments and no answers actually award the bounty, compared to those that come in with a few votes and comments.

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Cool, a downvote. I guess someone thinks this is a bad idea. No comment to go with that? –  Benjamin Mar 23 '11 at 14:38
It seems that the voting system on meta is broken. People are mistaking "unclear and not useful" with "I don't like this idea". –  Benjamin Mar 23 '11 at 15:10
On a Meta site, opinion of features is expressed through votes, as the score of a feature-request impacts the likelihood it gets looked at for implementation. As such, voting corresponds to whether or not people agree that an idea is a good thing to implement. –  Grace Note Mar 23 '11 at 15:15
@Grace Note: This is not tagged feature-request, but discussion. –  Benjamin Mar 23 '11 at 15:18
I recall a very long discussion on that subject, so we'll just skip to the conclusion - when you pose a discussion that seems to very strongly take one stance, it ends up interpretted by some users as basically a feature-request to implement that stance. In this case, you're asking for a discussion of whether a feature that requires upvotes for a bounty should be implemented. Users disagree with this feature being implemented, whether or not you're explicitly requesting this via tag. –  Grace Note Mar 23 '11 at 15:21
@Grace Note: lesson learned - meta is not a good place for discussion. –  Benjamin Mar 23 '11 at 15:32
@Benjamin meta is a great place for discussion: it sorts the wheat from the chaff when it comes to ideas people like or want to implement. Meta is just not the place to take any stock in your reputation. Think of it as UserVoice ported to Stack Exchange. –  user149432 Mar 23 '11 at 15:36

2 Answers 2

Questions have to be open for two days before a user can offer a bounty, and the user has to have a certain amount of reputation to offer one. If there are a lot of terrible questions getting to the point where someone is offering a bounty on them, the breakdown isn't with the offering of the bounty.

And the whole point of the bounty system is to allow users some method to attract more attention to their question.

If you require some amount of interest in the question, it becomes a "chicken-or-the-egg"-type problem: I want to attract more attention to my question because I didn't get a useful answer, so I want to add a bounty. But in order to add a bounty to my question, I need to attract more attention to the question.

So no, questions shouldn't need a certain amount of upvotes so they can offer a bounty: bad questions need to die the death of a thousand deaths via community moderation: either by editing the question to make it better, or by closing it.

To that end, what I'd rather see is the ability to vote to close a question with a bounty: currently you can't. This would help to handle the edge questions that slip through the cracks and evade community moderation.

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I disagree. I think that good candidates for bounties are question that people are interested in enough to upvote/favorite, but can't provide an answer to, or the answers to which are deemed not satisfactory by the OP. When a bounty is attached, people will go a bit further to find a better answer, and because the question has already been deemed of interest and well posed (by at least two people), it will not sit there until the bounty expires. –  Benjamin Mar 23 '11 at 14:50

A bounty is for me to drum up interest in a question that I want an answer for.

If I have a question which I really want an answer for, it shouldn't matter whether other people think it's an interesting question or not; all that matters is that I want an answer. If someone is prepared to sacrifice reputation to get an answer, then they deserve to get a place in the featured questions list.

In the case of the example you pointed out, he has only offered a 50 point bounty, which is low enough to perhaps not get as much interest as he may have wanted. Perhaps if he'd offered a higher bounty? But he's fairly low rep, so that may not have been an option.

Since you pointed out that specific question, it does raise an interesting point: I would be interested to know what happens in cases like that where a bounty expires with no answers having been given. Clearly the person offering the bounty can't give it to anyone, and it can't be auto-allocated, so is it fair for him to lose the points?

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Bounty is an investment for the period of advertisement. The reward only exists if someone bites. If no one bites, no one wins the reputation, but at the same time you still had the 7 days of exposure as a featured question. –  Grace Note Mar 23 '11 at 15:01
Bounty questions that eventually expire without an answer (and sometimes even without comments) are just camouflaging other interesting and answerable questions in the featured list. You want to make sure people visit that tab, and the best way to do that is to make sure that they will be interested by what they find there. A good gauge of that is whether people (at least a few) have been interested by the question when it was originally asked (with the amount of people on SO, most questions get at least 15 views and a few comments when originally asked, plus an upvote if the question is good. –  Benjamin Mar 23 '11 at 15:09
@Benjamin If I put up a bounty on my own question, I don't really care about all the other questions on the site. Their visibility is not my problem. I want my question to be visible and (ideally) answered. Besides, it's also possible for a question to just get lost in a flood of other questions (SO is a popular site), so lack of votes isn't necessarily an indication of a bad question. –  Anna Lear Mar 23 '11 at 15:34

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