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I realize this has been requested before, but people tend to miss a compelling point:

I've spent the past several weeks googling for an answer. I'm finally at the point where I've concluded that despite the vastness of the internet, the answer truly isn't anywhere on it. It's an obscure niche that I'm looking for the answer in. I ask the question. I realize it's a difficult question that no one knows the answer to, and it's going to require considerable amounts of effort for someone to come up with a solution. Thus I want to offer a bounty immediately.

These 48 hours are a waste of time. I have already exhausted what's on the internet, what I know, and what everyone I know knows. I know that without that bounty, the question isn't going to be answered.

Further, why do bounties expire? Maybe the person answering takes over a week to come up with that answer (as already stated, this is a difficult problem.) It's not just the question asker being punished (which, whether that's a good idea or not is an entirely separate question,) but the answerer is also being punished. Oh, sorry, your quality answer takes too long, the bounty is being taken away from you. My proposal, bounties should last until a quality answer is given (until the offerer gives the bounty, or accepts, or automatically after a certain time if an answer receives say 3 up votes). In fact, it should be possible to set up multiple bounties on a question.

I understand the reasoning behind the 48 hour wait (and I hope that the reason I've provided is the straw that breaks the camel's back - there's already many reasons against the wait period,) - but I've not seen a single good reason that bounties expire.

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    If bounties did not expire, there would be no incentive to award it. Why not wait and see if a better answer came along? That would in turn weaken the incentive to answer bounty questions: how do you know the asker won't skip assigning it for that reason (or just forget to assign it)? – David Robinson Aug 14 '13 at 14:30
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    "I have already exhausted what's on the internet, what I know, and what everyone I know knows." That's why you ask on Stack Overflow. That is not a reason to assume that no one will answer the question without a bounty. – Cody Gray Aug 14 '13 at 14:41
  • Just ask for bounties to change and you won't have any rep left to use bounties. I'm surprised so many people find this worth down voting, especially given how much it's asked. – ArtOfWarfare Aug 14 '13 at 18:00
  • @ArtOfWarfare It's downvoted in large part because it's frequently asked. The information was already available to you. You didn't need to ask a new question to get the answer, you could have just upvoted one of the existing proposals. – Servy Aug 14 '13 at 18:52
  • @Servy - Were my question a duplicate, it should be marked as such. I looked over existing questions similar to my own and didn't think anyone had listed the same reasons as I did. – ArtOfWarfare Aug 14 '13 at 20:12
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These 48 hours are a waste of time. I have already exhausted what's on the internet, what I know, and what everyone I know knows. I know that without that bounty, the question isn't going to be answered.

The wait period helps with a few corner cases:

  1. That you actually do a really thorough search, believe it or not, not everyone does.
  2. It may save you some rep, as your question may be answered before a bounty is required or you may come up with your own answer to the question.
  3. It helps to prevent people from using bounties to protect questions from being closed. There are some who would intentionally ask off-topic questions and try to prevent them from being closed through the usual process by placing a bounty, the 48 hour wait helps to filter out these kinds of questions.

Further, why do bounties expire?

Bounties expire because – as mentioned in Servy's answer – you're paying for the extra attention. If the bounty never expired, I would imagine that many users would leave their questions on the featured tab for as long as possible. This would eliminate some of the "extra" attention as users would be forced to sort through potentially hundreds or thousands of featured questions.

Also, without the looming expiration, a bounty could dramatically exacerbate the chameleon question problem. An unscrupulous user could forever add requirements and updates until they got someone to write their whole program for them.

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  • Is it really such a bad idea to have someone else write your entire program? Essentially there's a new fully featured open source program in the end. – ArtOfWarfare Aug 14 '13 at 18:01
  • @ArtOfWarfare The site isn't built for that. There are other sites that are built around just getting people to do your work for you that you're welcome to use if that's what you want. – Servy Aug 14 '13 at 18:51
  • On the extra attention front, I'd say just make it so bounties only give you extra attention for the first week. Once that week is up, bounties no longer give you extra visibility. So answerers lose nothing for the week ending. – ArtOfWarfare Oct 18 '18 at 14:39
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I know that without that bounty, the question isn't going to be answered.

I've heard a lot of people say that. Quite a few of them got their answer before they were able to put the bounty on the post.

This reason is not new. In fact, it's pretty much the primary reason people give when the propose the exact change that you're proposing. This is nothing new.

why do bounties expire?

Bounties expire because you're paying for the extra attention. You are paying for one weeks worth of being on the "featured" tab. If you want three weeks worth of attention, pay three weeks worth of bounties.

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