In the past, Jeff always read bounty questions on meta so offering a bounty was the best way to make sure that someone from Stack Exchange replied to your question.

Now he's gone, is this still the case? If not, could someone else volunteer to start doing this? I ask because it seems a useful way to attract your attention and I've never seen a bounty on meta expire before (though I'm sure there are other examples). Thanks!

  • 1
    SEIS - Special Education Information System?
    – Naftali
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:30
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    I thought it was "Stack Exchange Internet Services", i.e. the company that owns all this. Have I got that wrong? I'll change it
    – Rup
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:31
  • I have never heard of that before...
    – Naftali
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:32
  • it is just the Stack Exchange aka SE
    – Naftali
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:32
  • @amanaP The Careers TOS says "Stack Exchange Internet Services" so I don't think I am just making it up but you're right, the legal link here now says "Stack Exchange Inc." I'm behind on my podcasts so I probably missed the name change.
    – Rup
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:35
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    Here is my question on it
    – Naftali
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:39
  • I've seen a bounty on Meta expire before.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 14:52
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    I've seen plenty of bounties expire over the years. In particular, bountying up a question that already has an adequate response because you want a different response is probably not going to help.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


The short answer is yes, putting a bounty on it increases the chance of us having another look. The same, though, is true of insightful answers, discussions in The Tavern, and questions staying "alive" even when there's no bounty on them.

Let me however say a few things about bounties on meta. These are my personal views, I don't know how much this is true for other members of the team. Some of this may be anecdotal; this is merely how I feel about them.

  1. I've seen several cases where an absolutely unexciting "Wouldn't it be nice if my particular edge case was handled differently" post gets one to several bounties within a very short time of being posted. To me, this feels like a combination of "I really want this. No, really really." and "It's been a month and I still can't create purple-colored posts, Y U NO DROP EVERYTHING ELSE AND DO?"

    To be honest, this can make me think "Yeah, whatever" sometimes. I know that's a totally unhelpful knee-jerk reaction, but yeah, I'm just human.

  2. In many cases, bounty posts are much more interesting for us because they tend to get community feedback. If the community discusses pros and cons of a suggested feature, maybe coming up with improvements, noticing possible shortcomings, etc., that's way more helpful for us in evaluating proposals than "Hey, if I implement this now, I can get some precious Meta rep!" (I'm not saying the latter never happens.)

    Your specific example, for instance, is a) extremely broad ("review X on all the sites"), b) is always an issue because people tend to think that everybody's montiors are calibrated just as theirs are. Valid point or not, it'd be much better if that bounty of yours attracted community answers, not ours.

  3. The number of bounties has exploded on meta over the past year or so. Case in point:

    Quarter | No of bounties        Quarter | No of bounties
    --------+---------------        --------+---------------
    2009/3  | 54                    2011/1  | 113 
    2009/4  | 18                    2011/2  | 125 
    2010/1  | 49                    2011/3  | 132 
    2010/2  | 49                    2011/4  | 163 
    2010/3  | 100                   2012/1  | 229 
    2010/4  | 64  

    With Meta rep being a) ridiculously easy to get, and b) totally worthless, everybody and their dog throws a bounty onto their pet feature request. It's of course everybody's right to do so, but unfortunately this also spreads both us and the community thin as far as discussion of valid requests go. Infamous joke bounties of course don't help increasing the signal-to-noise ratio here.

So, two things I'd like you (the community) to take away from here are:

  1. If a request – featured or not – is worthy of discussion (in either direction), don't just throw an upvote or downvote on the question. I may be an old fart as far as Meta goes, but I remember much more lively discussion whether suggestion X is a good idea or not, while these days, people just throw votes around.

    Tons of votes aren't helpful. For one thing, even if lots of people would love to have a certain feature, this doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen. On the other hand, we all know that with the right amount of meme usage and/or conspiracy theories, it's fairly easy to get upvotes on meta. Bounty questions tend to skew the validity of post scores as measures of usefulness even more.

    This doesn't mean we need tons of "me too" answers (which is also something we had a lot in the good ol' days). But there has to be a healthy middle ground.

  2. When you offer a bounty on a Meta request, don't do it to attract us. Offer a bounty to attract discussion.

Again, these are just my personal thoughts. We're all different people, so we tend to handle things differently.

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    We all know that bat signals are far more useful anyway.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 16:16
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    Personally, if I see a feature-request - especially a highly up-voted one - and don't understand 1) how it would be useful, 2) how it would be feasible, then I'm probably going to respond by tearing it apart in an answer. Throwing a bounty on it just increases the chances of this happening. If you aren't prepared to think through and defend your request, asking for more attention doesn't necessarily benefit you.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 16:38
  • @Shog9 Well yes, you obviously would. If I'm an old fart on Meta, then you are Methusalem.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 16:43
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    Thanks for the detailed reply! You're right, I think it's probably I remember things wrong: I had underestimated the number of bounties you get nowadays, I remember there being 3-5 active at once, I hadn't noticed the number's now 13. And that wasn't my question I linked to, just one I'd seen - but again I don't remember bounty questions without a reply from Jeff. Yes, I think probably the best way to get that sorted would be to post on the individual metas for each site and get their communities behind the problem.
    – Rup
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 16:53

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