This feature request is in response to two questions I've seen on the network:

It is true that accepting an answer and awarding a bounty are not tied together, and it has apparently been this way for quite some time.

However, based on the above two questions, this apparently is still not clear to users. The feature request is to do the following (some of which may already happen, some which may not already happen):

  • When a bounty is posted on a question where the bounty setter is also the original poster, send automated email to bounty poster/OP with clear instructions on how to award a bounty.

  • When an answer to a question with a bounty is accepted, and the bounty poster was also the original question-asker, send an automated email explaining the difference between accepting an answer and awarding a bounty, and make it clear that accepting an answer does not award a bounty.

Some may argue that this feature request is unnecessary, and they may argue that the person setting the bounty should just simply pay more attention and look alive. Pay attention to detail soldier! Stay alert! Stay alive!

While I may agree with that assessment, if the act of awarding a bounty only affected the bounty setter, the fact of the matter is that this lack of attention to detail by bounty setters has a very measurable, negative impact on the people who have devoted more of their time and energy in searching for the best possible answer to the OP's question.

Reputation isn't the only currency here. The intrinsic rewards of knowing you've helped another sometimes give us very good feelings; however, intrinsic rewards don't help users achieve the privileges of being able to contribute close votes, edits, access to moderator tools, and many other awards that should be bestowed upon the people who have proven that they are invested in the growth of this network.

By not helping the bounty setters understand this system, it's not them who suffer; instead, the people who suffer the most are the ones who would likely read the blog articles written by Jeff, Joel, and Robert about what constitutes an on-topic question. The people suffering are those users in the community who may have to trudge through extra noise because the people they can count on to be good 3k and 10k users aren't able to reach this reputation threshold as quickly as they should because they've decided that spending three hours answering a 500+ reputation question just isn't worth their time.

Let's help educate the bounty setters before they realize their mistakes, so that others on the network, who we can count on, don't feel the pain resulting from the bounty-setter's ignorance of how the system works.

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HarryMC would love that feature :P –  Ivo Flipse May 13 '11 at 10:57
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

While I'd certainly like it if there was some mechanism to remind users to award the bounty, I certainly don't think emailing them is the way to go about it, as in my book (and in many others'), it amounts to borderline spamming. Unless a user has explicitly chosen to receive emails, none should be forced upon them.

The other open feature request that suggested using a popup to alert users is a much better idea.

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+1 A popup is much better. It's more real time, and could even be used to explain the feature to the user while he/she is still on the page. –  jmort253 May 13 '11 at 6:33
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