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If I give an answer to a question with a bounty too close to the end of the deadline, there's a good chance that the person offering the bounty won't have a chance to award it to me before the bounty expires. If I'm lucky enough to get a couple upvotes in that time, I'll get half the bounty, but otherwise I'll get nothing. It seems like there is little incentive to pay attention to the first few screens of the "Featured" tab because I know it's quite likely that I'll get nothing even if I give the right answer.

Is there a good reason why bounties are not awardable after the bounty expires?

Here are some possible changes:

  • Make the bounty awardable any time after the question leaves the Featured tab.
  • Make the bounty awardable for a period of days (7?) after the last answer given within the bounty period.
  • Make the bounty "upgradable" by letting the offerer choose to award the rest of the bounty to the person who won half the bounty.
  • Make the bounty "upgradable" by giving the rest of the bounty to the first answer that gets chosen as correct after the bounty expires.
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If you're in it only for the rep, you're in it for the wrong reason. We're all here to learn and share, right? .. right?? –  RichardTheKiwi Mar 30 '11 at 18:37
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@Richard: Most definitely! I dare say that the amount of rep and badges that users have accumulated should only be visible to mods, lest people perform actions on the site merely to get rep. :) –  Gabe Mar 30 '11 at 18:42
    
I prefer the opposite approach: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/41181/… –  Adam Davis Mar 30 '11 at 18:48
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When I made my first bounty I was very surprised + disappointed to see it auto-award the very same second that it expired. I thought there would have been some grace period to allow me to consider all answers and choose one. I had held off on choosing because there was still time remaining on the bounty. –  user147272 Mar 31 '11 at 0:11

1 Answer 1

I'd be interested in seeing how often this actually happened.

If we remove the incentive to actively award the bounty, then there is little reason for me to ever award a bounty I place on a question. If that becomes common, bounties will ave little to no effect.

At least right now if you answer a bounty question you have a chance of getting something even if the person who posted the bounty never returns to award it.

You undermine the incentive to answerers if you give the awarder options for extending the bounty, not awarding it, or reducing their risk for placing it in the first place.

The risk of placing a bounty is an important part of the bounty, and it makes the duty of the awarder clear

As far as your disincentive to answer questions that are due to expire shortly, that is a choice you make when you visit the featured tab and pick questions you want to try to answer. Answering a question where the bounty is due to expire in minutes is unlikely to give you anything.

In fact, my experience has been that the earlier you answer one, the more likely you are to win the bounty. The person who set it up has a problem to solve, and they appreciate quick responses. Even if they let it slide until the end, unless someone presents a much better answer, yo'll often be chosen simply for being first.

You have to decide why you're answering featured questions. If it's to gain reputation, then you have to play the game, and that probably means attacking questions early, and providing expansive answers that discourage others from answering.

If you are merely gambling that the community will vote you up and you'll get the half bounty, then you want to answer during the busy part of the last 24 hours before it expires (or on Friday's busy time if it expires over the weekend).

If you are trying to meet someone's needs, then it doesn't matter what time you answer it, though obviously earlier is better.

But take the risk and duty away from the person who posted the bounty, and none of the above techniques are worth anything - suddenly the featured tab is practically useless because there is no reasonable or sane deadline.

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What's the current incentive to actively award the bounty? How would that incentive be removed by giving the offerer an extra few days to award it? –  Gabe Mar 30 '11 at 23:18
    
@gabe the incentive is you get to award the FULL bounty, otherwise an auto-award is nothing or half. You've "thrown away" your rep. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 14 '11 at 7:57
    
@Jeff: So if the incentive is being able to award the full bounty, how does allowing an extra few days to award it remove that incentive? –  Gabe Apr 14 '11 at 8:01

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