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A grace period of one day to award the bounty after expiration (without remaining featured, of course)

When the bounty period expires, half the bounty points are automatically awarded to one of the answers. Twice now I've accidentally let the period expire, for good reasons (see below. Emphasis so no-one reading skims past going "Bah! He just did the wrong thing.")

When this has happened the bounty has been awarded. I think instead that there should be a 24-hour grace period after it expires where the question is no longer marked as having an active bounty, but the bounty offerer can still choose who to award it to; and perhaps that the expiration should be extended if an answer is posted close to the expiration date.

Why would you let a bounty expire?

I know I'm going to have to answer this, otherwise I will get a reply on the order of "Your error, deal with it".

  • Answers are still being posted. The point of a bounty is to promote answers on a question, so if answers are still being posted within minutes of the expiration then the bounty is still working. It breaks the point of a bounty to award it too early, or to remove it if the question is still being actively answered.
  • You make a mistake and accidentally let it expire. We're human.

I've done both these, once each. Both times I regarded it as a mistake on my part and emailed the team to see if they could adjust who the bounty was awarded to, but the response was, quote, "Bounties can't be changed once they are awarded". Fair enough. But that makes it a system problem, not my error any more. Let's fix it :)

Suggested solution:

  • Grace period: bounty expires, you have 24 hours to award it before the system forces an award
  • If a question is still active, the bounty expiration gets bumped. A bounty cannot expire unless the question has been inactive (no new answers) for, say, 48 hours.

This is a common issue. Related questions: one (marked 'status-completed', but it doesn't seem to be), two (question has 17 votes; it has one single terse answer with 1 vote, which, frankly, doesn't consider the question), three, four (again 'status-completed', but it's not, at least not as proposed), five...

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marked as duplicate by random Jun 15 '11 at 1:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
This should not be closed: Could it be re-opened please? It's been closed as a duplicate of a question which is not an exact duplicate (partial, at best.) Also, that question has vanished in the ether and has no accepted answer (in fact, only has one answer posted at all, and it's got almost no votes.) I think I've pointed out through the links this is a valid and common issue! –  David M Jun 15 '11 at 1:51
    
Just because it was status-declined doesn't mean it doesn't mean it doesn't mean it doesn't mean it wasn't declined. –  random Jun 15 '11 at 2:16
    
This is why I suggested editing your post to only include the new idea -- we don't really like rehashing old discussions. Your new idea may have merit, but we need to consider it in isolation. –  Jon Seigel Jun 15 '11 at 2:25
    
Sorry, @Jon Seigel - the only comment I can see of yours is the one above. Where was the first? Also, there was no "discussion" on the other question at all! @random: I'm sorry - I can't parse that. Can you explain again please? –  David M Jun 15 '11 at 3:08
    
The comment was auto-deleted when closed as the duplicate mentioned –  Jon Seigel Jun 15 '11 at 16:37

1 Answer 1

I'm not completely sure which use case you're going for; you went from:

Twice now I've accidentally let the period expire, for good reasons (see below. Emphasis so no-one reading skims past going "Bah! He just did the wrong thing.")

to:

I've done both these, once each. Both times I regarded it as a mistake on my part

Is this something to make bounties more useful, or something to help when people forget to award them? It seems like all you've done is make the bounty last 8 days instead of 7, except now on the 8th day it doesn't appear on the featured tab anymore. It's not any easier to remember to award a 8 day bounty versus a 7 day one. "Bounties can't be changed once they are awarded" isn't really a system problem -- of course they're physically capable of changing it, they just don't want to make an exception or everyone that forgets to award a bounty will be e-mailing them.

Ultimately, I get the impression bounties go unawarded because:

  • As you said, people just forget. 8 days isn't going to fix that. Neither will 9, or 45
  • People aren't satisfied with the answers they got. Again, a "grace period" does nothing for them

The notion of giving the asker more time to award the bounty without the pressure of new answers coming in isn't bad, if bounty questions really do get flooded with answers at the end. I don't normally follow bounty questions, but currently there are 5 with bounties ending in the next 6 hours, and only one has gotten a recent answer. That sample sucks, so I don't know if it actually is common for bounty offerers to watch the minutes tick down as new answers come in. If it is, then giving some extra time where the post is off the featured list might work, but it's likely to confuse people when the bounty ends and nobody got the rep


Edit: The last part is implemented now; the auto-award happens 24 hours after the bounty ends instead of immediately

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Hi Michael! They're valid / easy mistakes, and they're only "mistakes" because of how it currently works. Thus, good (read, "valid") reasons for the action. Also, re "people just forget. 8 days isn't going to fix that": remind them. Send them an email, put an orange bar at at the top of the page, take them to that question when they log in... I don't mind how it's implemented, I'm just trying to point out that it's broken and provide a solution. How that solution's actually implemented doesn't matter to me :) –  David M Jun 15 '11 at 1:48
    
@David You realize those things already happen, right? They get e-mails and notifications staring 3 days before the end of the bounty –  Michael Mrozek Jun 15 '11 at 1:50
    
I know. Did you read what happened to my last question? It was active and had people answering within minutes of the expiry time. "It breaks the point of a bounty to award it too early, or to remove it if the question is still being actively answered." –  David M Jun 15 '11 at 1:55
    
@David And did you read the last paragraph of my answer, where I said that part of your request makes sense, as long as that actually is a common occurrence? You basically have two separate rationales for your feature request in here; I think one is possibly good, while the other completely isn't –  Michael Mrozek Jun 15 '11 at 1:57
    
Ok - I guess because it's happened to me several times and because of the number of related items I linked, I thought it's common and that many people would benefit from this change. I disagree that one is not a good rationale, but I'm not sure how to explain it other than how I have, I'm afraid. Perhaps I just think it's a good rationale because it's happened to me (experiencing something does make you judge some things differently!) –  David M Jun 15 '11 at 2:14

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