I understand that the bounty system is like "renting ad space"; however, I'm wondering if maybe this is worth rethinking.

For certain questions, I know some users have posted an initial question on Stack Overflow, and they have taken the time to thoroughly research/ask question on other forums such as gxt, gwt, jboss and Google. Unfortunately, sometimes the questions are way too narrow. I don't think it would be an issue to have an extremely specific problem posted here with a solution.

I believe it may be worth allowing bounties to stay open until the OP deems the question answered. As time goes by, an user accrues more reputation, and they can increase the bounty on their question. The question will then attract more and more attention over time until hopefully somebody answers it.

I have spent all of my current reputation trying to get a question regarding Google PlayN, and I have taken the time to find the answer of Google+ communities and the Google PlayN forum. I have had no luck, and now I can't rebounty my question because I do not have the required reputation; therefore, my question will most likely not be answered unless I can get the necessary reputation.

I kind of picture it like an old time western where the bounties stay up. It doesn't seem like over time the person just gets the charges dropped. It would make more sense to me that if the person is willing to push bounty to a question he/she should just be able to keep adding more to it. Often times, I only make a post if I've exhausted all other resources - and normally the post is pretty obscure (which are the posts I normally find the most useful as you can read from other people exactly the methods they tried, what does/doesn't work for them, and the pitfalls of doing things a certain way). Posting a question like this may take some time, but if the bounty is greater, you may get more people trying to answer the question in hopes of getting the bounty. This will increase the chance of you getting a solution faster.

In summary, I think it would make more sense if the question stayed open instead of just expiring after 7 days. I don't really understand why it is "like renting ad space". I think allowing people to just keep pushing points will make the bounty system more like a real economic system rather than a gambling system.

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    Your questions seems to consistently lack proper capitalization. Even though you do use capitals in some words. Please spend some time to properly capitalize your posts. Not doing so is very annoying. – Bart Feb 25 '13 at 16:55
  • @Bart, thank you for editing that. I don't know how I didn't see that until you were editing. – Azulflame Feb 25 '13 at 17:00
  • If this is even considered, it should only be an option and the amount of reputation it costs should be higher. Otherwise, we would have too many questions with bounties, and it may become harder to get answers on bountied questions because there are too many to search through. – Josh Mein Feb 25 '13 at 17:12
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    This is why I'll never post a bounty. What I'm likely to post one on is a niche question, but I don't like the idea that the bounty is auto-awarded after 7 days even if the answer isn't to the OP's satisfaction. To use the wild west analogy, if a bounty is posted for Jesse James' arrest, you don't get it by bringing in one of his accomplices. In the same manner, I don't agree with having a bounty auto-awarded on an answer that doesn't really answer my question. – RobH Feb 25 '13 at 17:26

If there is no time limit to the bounties then you'd get several problems:

  1. Everyone could just add a Bounty to their question just to give it promotion, but never award it.
  2. The list of questions with an open bounty would be about 1,000,000
  3. Bounties would cease to be special - Part of the benefit of Bounties is that people are attracted to the competition of it. "If I can come up with the best answer to this question in the next 7 days then I win a prize!"

So no, I don't agree with this. Yes, its fustrating when your bountied question doesn't get answered suitably within the timeframe, but if it doesn't get answered when there is some actual additional motivation placed on it just to try to get it answered and it still doesn't then it's not any more likely to get a decent answer in 'unlimited' amount of time either.

  • You could address some of these concerns by making the rep drop happen immediately when the bounty is placed, and keeping the "max open bounties" part. – cpast Feb 25 '13 at 16:58
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    The rep drop does happen immediately at the moment. – JonW Feb 25 '13 at 17:03
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    Then wouldn't that discourage bountying everything? – cpast Feb 25 '13 at 17:10
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    It wouldn't discourage bountying - it would discourage awarding the bounty to anyone. It's not the rep loss of the bountier that I'm concerned with, its the fact that after losing that rep they would not have to assign it to anyone ever. – JonW Feb 25 '13 at 17:17
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    @cpast: The issue is- why award the bounty when you can just leave it open, and possibly get an even better answer later? Secondly, there's less of a rush on the part of the answerers- "well, I'll just come back later and answer it." – David Robinson Feb 25 '13 at 17:26
  • @david what if the auto award system kicked in at the best answer after 7 days OR the first answer to be upvoted by 2 thereafter? It just really stings when you get NO answer; and if your question is good enough, it will cover all possible answers that others might think of. – virtualxtc Dec 18 '13 at 1:34
  • Re: The lack of competition argument: Even if we had a million bountied questions, as long as one could sort them by reward (rep points), then I'd have trouble believing that there wouldn’t' be a ton of competition - especially if one were to keep the auto award system, but just avoid locking it to a 7 day expiry. – virtualxtc Dec 18 '13 at 1:42
  • @virtualxtc: a) I think you'd be surprised how bounty-hunters operate. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like you're fairly new to Stack Exchange and haven't participated in bounties before: in general questions do get a lot of attention 1 or 2 days before their bounty runs out. (Speaking of which: what cases are you referring to that "sting"? I don't see any bounties in any of your profiles). b) the more bounties there are on the site, the less special they are, and the less attention each will receive. – David Robinson Dec 18 '13 at 2:30
  • @DavidRobinson yes, I tried a boutny back when BlueOblisk was around, but at that time I hadn't RTFM, and up until that point the SE rule structure wasn't being enforced there. Currently I'm considering offering a bounty for this: askubuntu.com/questions/389636/… and have been following AskUbuntu bountied questions closely. Last week it seemed like only 1/2 were getting answered. However, since I left this comment suddenly a there's been more activity in the bounty area, so my concerns have been assuaged. – virtualxtc Dec 18 '13 at 7:13

Just like you said, you are "renting ad space"

You are not 'paying' to have it posted personally, you are 'paying' your reputation in order to make a question more noticeable. In a large way, it mimics real life. If you pay for a 2 week billboard on the side of the road, you do not get to keep that spot indefinitely, without repaying to keep it posted.

If you are having a problem with an obscure language or part, you can either:

  1. Continually post bounties on the question until it is resolved
  2. Post on the language's community forums
  3. Email another coder that knows what to do
  4. Read a book and figure it out yourself

If you are not willing or capable of any of the above, then you are simply out of luck. SO is not likely to change a major system in order to solve the problems for a few people with harder problems.

  • Then why call it a bounty at all? Wouldn't it be more fitting to call it listing / advertisement? At least if it were aptly named, then we could all vote on a feature request to have and actual bounty system. – virtualxtc Dec 18 '13 at 1:36

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