I've just come from reading this post on removing a time in which a bounty can be added, letting users add a bounty right off the bat, something I do not agree with. Whilst I can see bounties taking over the questions I think the waiting time for a question to be answered should be far less than it currently is. If I had to wait a couple of hours I would be happy but there are times when I am truly stumped by something and I will want an answer within a couple of hours.

I wouldn't agree with allowing bounties right from the start, but perhaps it would be good for us to be able to attach a bounty to a question after three to six hours? When someone asks a particularly complex question at a strange time of the day there will typically be very few answers, so perhaps instead of users editing their questions throughout the day to push them to the top it would be nice to be able to come back after a few hours and give users an incentive by adding a bounty?

Two days is far too long to wait for a reasonable response. Hell, even a general programming forum will get back to a poster quicker than that. In order to get questions answered and move on quickly I'd suggest changing the bounty time from two days to six hours.


In two hours, the folks who know the answer to your question might not even be checking SO. Their feed readers might be slow. They had an appointment with the court-appointed councilor. They were asleep.

In a day, you'll get everyone who checks the site daily. After two days, you can probably start to assume that no one wants the bother... So, add a bounty to sweeten the deal.

Bounties are, so far as i know, still supposed to be a last-resort kind of thing. Not "you must post a bounty to get any good answers"...

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    When a website gets on average a million hits a day it is pretty rare for there to be no Java or Python experts to not be browsing. As I mentioned above two days is fine if you're programming something that can wait but for a working programmer that needs to deliver a product two days without any answers is bad. – Mike B Aug 7 '09 at 16:23
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    If you are needing to develop a product within two days and your success hinges on asking the internet for help, that is something you should have thought about before going into the project. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 16:35
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    This was some of our thinking behind the 2-day wait; we don't want people with the answer waiting around for the bounty! – Jarrod Dixon Aug 8 '09 at 0:43

I personally disagree. I don't see six hours as a legit amount of time to try and get an answer out of the community (especially for particularly complex issues) before offering up the "come and get it" bounty call.

I said this in other comments so I will say it here as well:

Reputation may be treated like currency in some specific instances of the website, bu it is used as other "things" elsewhere in the site. Just because it is treated as a currency in a single specific application does not mean that you should get to use it like currency whenever and wherever you wish.

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    Reputation can only be used as two things, a number to show your activity and as "currency" to get questions answered. There is no other functional use to it so why not let us spend it? If we're talking about functionality why is two days a functional time for a programming question to be guaranteed to be answered? If you're a working programmer in need of help two days is an extremely long time and for an answer to not appear in that time is almost criminal for the reputation of this website as a Q&A site. – Mike B Aug 7 '09 at 16:21
  • Your premise that rep can only be used to show activity and to get questions answered is completely false. You spend rep to cast downvotes on questions. Your rep is also a mark of how experienced/trusted you are with the system and whether or not you should be allowed to use the tools available to higher rep users. You don't buy those tools, they are a mark of experience. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 16:31

I'm with this (actually I'm more with my original suggestion that you linked to). When you die, your stack overflow points don't come with you. And you can't leave them to a family member like you can with your money. So, you should be able to use them to "buy" answers to questions that you need to resolve quickly. The market demands it.

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    Rep is not currency. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 15:30
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    But it's used as currency for bounties. So it is. – bpapa Aug 7 '09 at 15:45
  • It is used as currency for bounties, it used for getting attacked so it is like health. It is used for attacking so it is like MP. It is used to access different tools so it's like experience. But the fact is, rep is rep is rep, and just because it may be used in a certain way in some instances does not mean that you need to apply all the qualities upon it. Just because you use rep to "buy" answers to your questions does not mean you should get to spend it whenever and however you want. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 15:51
  • @bpapa: Not quite. You aren't buying an answer. You're offering a reward, but the terms of that arrangement are carefully controlled. Most significantly, you lose the rep regardless of whether or not anyone answers. That alone makes it desirable to wait a bit - if no one knows the answer, offering a bounty is just a waste. – Shog9 Aug 7 '09 at 15:53
  • Exactly, which is why people would probably only use this sparingly. I've asked a double digit number of questions but only once or twice did I really have the desire to put a bounty on it ASAP. But that still is a need in the real world. Answers that you need quickly are a reality in the life of a programmer. So why can't SO cater to that need? – bpapa Aug 7 '09 at 15:59
  • @bpapa: SO does cater to that need. Many, many questions get answered quickly. If your question isn't answered quickly, you may be better off spending a bit of time to find out why, rather than throwing rep at it. – Shog9 Aug 7 '09 at 16:46

I see that this feature was marked "status-declined" some time ago. And, while I doubt my comments here are going to change that, I would like to offer a suggestion.

Here is why I would want to offer a bounty quicker than 48 hours from asking a question:

  1. Fewer people are going to know the answer to my question (in this case) than to many of the other "new" questions, even in a more popular topic.
  2. During busy times, the question will get "lost."
  3. There is less incentive to answer my question as opposed to an "easier" question that can be answered more quickly. People only have so much time.

Now, I'm not saying that a bounty should be able to be offered immediately. But, take the case where a question gets upvoted almost right away. Doesn't that vouch at least somewhat for the value of the question and the interest level in that question? If people add the question as a "favorite," I would think so even more.

So, what about a system in which upvoted or "favorited" questions (perhaps with a minimum number of upvotes or favorites) have a bounty sooner? Maybe, 2-6 hours after asking rather than 48 hours? Even 24 hours? What do you think?


I agree. Your question vanishes very quickly since there are so many questions. After a very short period of time, your answer wont be seen again. After that time, it should be allowed go to bounty mode. That time is much shorter than 6 hours, but 6 hours is much better than 2 days.

A better solution might to be to allow bumping, or to use a small hack to get your question noticed again.

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    Or perhaps something like this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1477/… – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 15:55
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    Hack? Just edit it, make it a better question. That'll bump it and provide more incentive for others to respond. – Shog9 Aug 7 '09 at 15:55
  • Shog9: You can't always make it a better question, especially if there hasn't been any feedback yet. – Paul Biggar Aug 7 '09 at 16:19
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    Bumping would be a great idea, although it would get abused pretty quickly. Personally, I think it's more of a design issue. If users could write their strengths and weaknesses into their profile and get a basic list of questions on their sidebar that are within their skill set and have no answers many of these problems would be reduced. Either that or adjust reputation based on how long a question goes unanswered, even if it means reducing a bounty to 25/50 after six hours. – Mike B Aug 7 '09 at 16:25
  • @Paul: you can always make a question better. Whether you know how to is another thing. ;-) – Shog9 Aug 7 '09 at 16:45

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