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Stack Overflow now has 8 pages of bounty questions. And as an earlier question indicates bounty questions receive very little attention till they are on the front featured page.

Jeff's answer to the earlier question in 2009 was

The question on the BOTTOM (#48) has a bounty ending in 5 days.
The question on the TOP (#1) has a bounty ending in 13 hours.

So, assuming this is typical, your question will have at least 5 days on the first page. Is this really a problem?

However, the above data isn't true anymore. Typically a bounty question comes the first 'featured page' may be in the last day or so. So a bounty question doesn't get any extra views till the end. I have a bounty question which has got '2' views in the 2 days it's been on the featured page till now.

What's the solution for this - I don't know but I'll throw out a few thoughts

  1. Increase the minimum bounty on Stack Overflow to 100. This may reduce the number of bounty questions active at any time.

  2. The first featured page should change every 2 hours.

    First 2 hours - based on time to end.
    Next 2 hours - random selection of questions.
    Next 2 hours - based on time to end again.
    And so son.
    

    This ensures that questions ending soon gets twice as many views as the others and at the same time, the others also don't miss out. In the comments, there is one view offered that the above 2 hour rotation will not increase the number of views but will just spread out the views - this seems logical but I think it's not right. Let's say a page of featured question contains 10 questions and the average Stack Overflow reader visits the featured page 3 times a day and visits only the first page - in the current scheme - he will be exposed to may be 12-13 featured questions in a average day. However with the proposed scheme, he will likely be exposed to far more questions.

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    There have been about 6-8 pages of bounty questions for at least a couple of years - so unless it's really been a problem for that long, I don't think it's a problem now. – Jon Skeet Jul 17 '13 at 5:53
  • @JonSkeet - I think it's a problem - because a question doesn't really benefit from being on the bounty list till the end of the period. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 6:00
  • @JonSkeet I think it has been a problem. The requirements for a bounty either need to be changed or the interface to give them more attention needs to be changed (or created). – Austin Henley Jul 17 '13 at 6:01
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    Surely it's a self-balancing problem - if people didn't think bounties were worth the "cost" in reputation, they wouldn't put the bounties on to start with, and there'd be fewer of them. It feels like a simple supply and demand issue to me. If you don't think bounties are worth it, just don't put them on. Just changing it to a random selection won't actually give any question a longer time on the front page - it'll just spread that time out, and I'm far from convinced that would make a significant difference. – Jon Skeet Jul 17 '13 at 6:03
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    @JonSkeet I agree that his solution (#2) isn't a good one, but the problem still exists. I think it is more of an issue with the interface and how to better give attention to bounties. – Austin Henley Jul 17 '13 at 6:05
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    @JonSkeet 1. Self balancing problem only if there was an alternate way for people to get attention on their problem. There isn't. Ones puts a bounty because there is no alternative - at the very least they get a day of extra attention. 2. It will more than spread the time out. Assume a reader looks at the front feature page 3 times a day - as of now his view will be pretty similar all the 3 times. OTOH, with a different scheme -he will be exposed to more question per day. 3. Even if my solution doesn't work, the point of this question is to point out the problem and think of solutions for it. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 6:07
  • This was kind of brought up back in 2010: Are bounties' place in the Featured tab going to become irrelevant? – Austin Henley Jul 17 '13 at 6:13
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Maybe I'm a minority here, but generally I check bounty questions by tag.

It appears that even the more popular tags generally have less than 40 bounty-ed questions, which gives most of them a full 7 days on the featured page for for their respective tag.

c# - 28 questions

c - 3 questions

java - 27 questions

php - 21 questions

javascript - 36 questions

android - 39 questions

jquery - 10 questions

  • Definitely going by tag! – raam86 Jul 17 '13 at 6:34
  • C# currently has 28, or did you just randomly pick numbers? – Austin Henley Jul 17 '13 at 6:48
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    @AustinHenley sorry about that, c=3 c#=28 – apaul Jul 17 '13 at 6:52
  • It's kind of insane looking that page without tag filtering. And with it, it's piece of cake. – brasofilo Jul 17 '13 at 6:54
  • The fact that questions other than those on the first page get very very little views probably points to the fact that you are in the minority. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 7:02
  • There's lots of company being in the minority. I'm in a group that largely ignores bountied questions altogether. – Cody Gray Jul 17 '13 at 7:03
  • Reading the answer again, I am not sure it answers the question at all. The question is about helping the bounty giver get more views in the light of 8 pages of featured questions. The answer is about helping the reader wade through through 8 pages of featured questions. Yeah, the 2 things are connected - i.e. if more readers follow these suggestions, the question may get more views - but the fact that the problem exists suggests that readers don't follow this currently. I am not sure they are going to all of a sudden. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 7:42
  • @user93353 Just trying to suggest that there are likely a number of people who look at the featured pages by tag, hence questions are in fact receiving attention despite not spending a lot of time on the main featured page. Perhaps more obscure tags see less traffic, but the traffic seen is more likely to be from people who can actually answer. – apaul Jul 17 '13 at 16:17
  • Sure even questions on the last page will receive some attention, but it's very less, I think. The other Question I linked to seems to suggest that a question on Page 1 of featured receives 8 times the views of one on Page 2. That's the problem I am trying to find a solution to. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 16:21
  • @user93353 Also bounties don't necessarily make questions particularly interesting, useful, or answerable, hence not all bounty questions will see a lot of traffic or answers. – apaul Jul 17 '13 at 16:22
  • A question being on Page 1 of the featured tab also doesn't necessarily make it interesting, useful or answerable but it still sees far far more views than those on other pages of the featured tab. The point is to get views - whether it will get answers or not is a different issue. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 16:24
  • @user93353 I always thought the point of placing a bounty was to get answers, not page views. – apaul Jul 17 '13 at 16:38
  • When you place a bounty, you are asked for the reason - one of the reasons is "This is question has not received enough attention". The answer will come only if the question is interesting, useful or answerable. But you may not get an answer even if the Q is useful, interesting or answerable if the question doesn't get page views. – user93353 Jul 17 '13 at 18:40

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