My sad story: few months ago I was looking for a solution to my problem and was about to ask a question on Stack Overflow when I found an already existing question with slightly different wording. Sadly, this question had almost no answers. Now if I own the question, I would just set up bounty on it to get decent answers, but since it wasn't mine I couldn't do that and I couldn't start my own question since it would be a duplicate. So, how about making it possible to start a bounty on any question I want, not just the ones I asked?
It is now possible to open a bounty on any question:
The part that concerns me about this is the OP is the one who can select the answer so what happens in the bounty now if the OP selects an answer? Or are they prohibited from doing so because someone offered a bounty on it? Isn't there potential for question hijacking if this is the case?
Hijacking goes the other way too. If someone can set a bounty on another's question and select the winning answer, they could do this when the owner is in theory deciding which answer to pick or there simply hasn't been a satisfactory one to date.
Will there still be one bounty per question? If so, one could hijack a question with a low bounty - depriving the OP from the chance to put a higher bounty on it. And then there's also the problem of which answer is considered the accepted answer...
Here are a couple of variations on this suggestion:
- Multiple bounties. If the first one didn't yield great answers, more could be placed (by the OP or by other users).
- A bounty pool, where people could contribute to the bounty of questions they care about. This would also have the advantage of creating questions with huge bounties (e.g. 10 points from every interested user).
I was going to suggest this in response to the closing of a similar question that I had asked.
There could be two different ways you could do this.
Create a bounty on someone else's question
This would have the advantage of being simple to implement. However, you are still limited to the bounty system, so you'd have to drop a min of 50 rep on the question. Also, only one person would be able to set up the bounty, so if two or more people wanted to show support for a question you're missing out on all that additional rep.
Create a "Tip Jar" that accepts micro payments of rep towards an accepted answer
This would still be within the bounty system, but would allow multiple people to add to the bounty and would have a very low minimum pay-in. For example, if you see some lowly slob with little to no rep asking an impressive question, you could hit the tip jar 3 times to add 3 or 6 or 15 (1 per, 2 per, 5 per) rep points towards the answer. These points would be subtracted immediately. Multiple people could throw in some rep as well, thus increasing the chance someone would want to answer. Placing a time limit on the answer, in this case, would probably not be advisable.
How about a distinction between the "answer" and the "bounty winner." This keeps the OP in control of the answer, but allows other users to add a bounty to the question. They'd be more willing to put a bounty on someone-else's question knowing they get to decided the best answer. It's sort of like a vote up, but with more "oomph."
This works with the bounty pool idea as well, each contributor awards their portion.
The mechanic could even extend to the OPs who provide a bounty. They could give most of the bounty to the answerer, but maybe give some to another who's alternative answer is valuable, but not quite the best answer.
I think it's all an exception to the rule though. I'd be willing to bet 80% of the time the answer and bounty winner are the same.
If you really need this answer, you should make a duplicate, link to the other question and set up a bounty for yours. And please tell me, if they closed a bounty duplicate. I'm curious.
I see this is still in status-planned, and I see the difficulties.
How about making it possible to
fork() a question that meets the criteria that the OP described? You would be opening a whole new question, but:
- The forked question is automatically labeled as "Fork of (other question)"
- Forked questions have no 'exact duplicate' closing option, or at least require significantly more close votes to be closed.
- SO throws in an additional 50 rep (on top of what they already thrown in) on forked questions.
- A bounty is automatically started when the forked question is posted. The user must select the bounty amount prior to forking the original.
- If the forked question gathers dust for too long, it is automatically closed as a duplicate.
- If the forked question is successful, its merged with the original.
There's no hijacking of questions here, and the temptation to fork is tempered by knowing that you have to give up at least 100 rep to do so.
The bounty is non-refundable if a forked question is automatically closed as a duplicate due to gathering just as much dust as the original.
Maybe not perfect, but it does solve the problem of 'sharing' a question.
In my opinion, one bounty per question should be enough, but in this case, the system shouldn't sweeten the deal.
If the question itself is basically 100% compatible with yours, it could still net good answers for you and the original OP.
The privilege to accept answer should remain at the OP's side - as you, actually, only need a good enough answer.
After the bounty is set, you could 'guide' the answers with your comments to incorporate your scenario too.
I have a user story for third party bounties where the third party would have to control the awarding of the bounty:
I found a solution to a problem I had here but it is dependent on prototype. I'd like to be able to put a bounty on the question for a solution that isn't dependent on prototype. I could ask my own question and then have it folded in as a duplicate, but it would be much tidier if I could just post a bounty on the question.
Just ask a duplicate question anyway, point out that it's a duplicate (and that you're duplicating it becuase there aren't good answers on the other one, and you want to offer a bounty), offer a bounty, and hope people don't vote to close the question.
How about a way to buy a question, with rep, from someone?