If I understand the bounty system correctly after reading the FAQ:
If I award a bounty, I cannot "move" that award to another answer.
I lose the ability to award the bounty at the end of the bounty period.
If I've accepted an answer but have not awarded an answer prior to the end of the bounty period, the full bounty gets awarded to the accepted answer.
Given the following objectives:
a. Award a bounty to the person who most contributed to answering the question, even if it didn't completely answer the question.
b. Maximize the chances that people will continue to work on the
question if it's not resolved.
c. Reliably avoid losing the bounty.
I can't think of a strategy that accomplishes all the objectives. Specifically:
If I wait until the very end of the bounty period to award the bounty, I risk forgetting to award it (problem with c)
If I award it early, I discourage additional work (problem with b) and risk not being able to give it to the best answer if one comes in later anyway (problem with a)
If I accept an answer and rely on the automatic award mechanism, I discourage work during the bounty period because of the acceptance,
even if I "unaccept" it later (problem with b)
Am I looking at this right? Would the ability to move a bounty during the bounty period improve the situation significantly?