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I recently created a bounty for a question on Stack Overflow

The bounty deadline came and went without a suitable answer (IMO). Because I wasn't happy with any of the answers I didn't accept any. Thus the bounty was awarded to the top answer.

I have no problem with the community awarding the bounty - however I would like to re-bounty to get a better answer.

A re-bounty system would be complicated and alternatives and solutions should be thoroughly debated.

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I have 2 or more bountied questions with no worthy answer –  Jader Dias Jul 1 '09 at 19:28
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I have a counter question: is the bounty feature useful? What is the ratio of the suitable/unsuitable completed bounties? I never offered a bounty but won one accidentally I think. –  kd304 Jul 13 '09 at 23:14

7 Answers 7

up vote 2 down vote accepted

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/06/improvements-to-bounty-system/

This is effectively completed, because

  • bounty system is no longer tied to accepting an answer in any way
  • you can issue multiple bounties on your question if necessary
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I would propose that when the bounty time expires with no accepted answer, the bounty is auto-awarded via the current rules, but no answer is auto-accepted. The user could then add a new bounty, wait for new answers, continue discussion, etc...and hopefully a new and definitively correct answer will be posted and accepted.

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@AnonJr: you're probably right in most cases, but what does it matter? It's the user that would have to re-up the bounty, and it's their rep. If they want to keep spending it, in hopes that they'll get a better response, why not let them? –  beska Nov 3 '09 at 20:25
    
Bad questions encourage more bad questions. Letting a user flail around with their rep doesn't fix the big problem - the question itself. While it is their rep, this would only further encourage a brute-rep approach to problem solving instead of a question refinement - the latter of which improves SO as a whole. –  AnonJr Nov 3 '09 at 20:46
    
Sure. But how do you force someone to write a better question? Presumably, in many cases, they've already written it as best as they can (especially if they felt compelled to put a bounty on it.) And some well written questions just don't get satisfactory answers in a short period of time, bounty or no...it seems reasonable to be able to re-up the bounty to try to encourage further development. –  beska Nov 3 '09 at 22:30
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(cont) In general, I just don't see someone "brute forcing" their way to a solution with a bad question; the users that write horrible questions (again, in general), tend not to have multiples of 500 rep to throw away willy nilly. –  beska Nov 3 '09 at 22:31
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Additionally, they can always just start a new question in the current system anyway; I seriously doubt that auto-accept improves the question at all. I have stopped assigning bounties because crap answers keep getting autoaccepted, forever making the question useless. –  romkyns Jan 12 '10 at 10:58

I have a feeling the nuances of the system would become rather devilish:

  1. When you rebounty, can there be n accepted answers for the question, or only the most "accepted answer"?
  2. Is it important to visually display the fact that it's a rebounty? And if so, how?
  3. Can you rebounty indefinitely, or only n times?
  4. Would answers be segmented between those entered before and after the rebounty? If not, the second-most-voted answer has a good chance of becoming the rebounty winner. If so, are you able to override it and accept the one of the originals? How does this apply to re-re-bounties?

And I bet there's more.

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+1 for the link. –  musicfreak Jun 29 '09 at 9:23
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What's the problem with rebounting indefinitely? You pay, the answer gets unaccepted (but the answerer keeps the rep he earned). Gives you back the control over which answer is accepted like you've always had, without robbing anyone of the points they earned, and making it rather costly for you. –  romkyns Jan 12 '10 at 10:55

It doesn't seem all that complicated to me. If no answer is accepted, then you should have the ability to offer subsequent bounties until you get an answer that you can accept.

Did you actually accept the answer on that question, or does it get automatically accepted when it earns the bounty?

I would rather see a longer time frame for open bounties. I've got one question without an accepted answer. I haven't offered a bounty because it seemed like the time limit was too short.

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Sometimes you have a question which doesn't get a good answer.

So you leave a bounty.

It still doesn't get a good answer.

I propose that the system allow you to post another bounty after the first has expired, even if you selected an answer, or an answer was auto selected.

This would

  1. Solve the problem of people complaining that they can't change their bountied question's accepted answers (they can re-bounty, wait a day or two, then change their selection)
  2. Allow people to re-feature their question again if they received no acceptable answer.

We would place one important restriction:

  • New bounties must cost 100 more than the previously requested bounty

This self limits the number of times a question can be featured to 5 (35 days), as once it's 450 or 500, it can't be offered again. It would also self-limit due to the cost - but those that wanted to spend the 1,250 rep could have their question featured for the full period of time.

All other rules would remain the same - auto accept would still happen only for those answers posted after the new bounty with +2 votes, etc.

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Enough rep for now, going for another Necromancer instead? –  balpha Apr 6 '10 at 20:01
    
What would happen if the first bounty was 500? They're just out of luck? And I still hate auto-accept...it just means that bad answers are sometimes mandated to be enshrined forever. (I'd say auto-accept would be fine, so long as the asker could change the acceptance answer later.) –  beska Apr 6 '10 at 20:43
    
@beska - yes, if you start out high then you don't get to rebounty. Auto-accept is another topic entirely, and I think you'll need to review and respond to the various questions regarding that feature. –  Adam Davis Apr 6 '10 at 21:10
    
Oh, I have...it's one of my pet peeves. It's also featured in my answer to this question. To me, the features are closely related...a partial solution might come from looking at just one or the other, but it seems to make sense to look at both at the same time and potentially address a larger issue. –  beska Apr 6 '10 at 21:21

This seems like a good idea on its face, but I'm not convinced that it would work. You've posted a question, presumably got some visibility on the front page, and didn't get an answer you liked. So you offered a bounty, got more face time via the "Featured" tab and the big rep carrot, and still didn't get an answer you liked.

What makes you think that offering a second — or third, or fourth, &c. — bounty will get you an answer you like? There are some good suggestions in other posts for rules on the re-bounties, but none of them address whether the system would be useful in the first place. As you say, implementing a re-bounty system would be complicated, so I can't imagine The Powers What Is would attempt to add it without clear proof that it'd be useful.

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I guess this case is not so frequent, so simply reasking your questions with bounties would worth a try.

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While that would certainly work, I think beska's proposal helps keep such dupes to a minimum. In my experience, it is way too frequent that an unsatisfactory answer gets autoaccepted. –  romkyns Jan 12 '10 at 11:00

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