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Sometimes on a site's meta, I want to draw more attention to a question that has been sitting in the dark. Usually when this happens, I am even willing to offer my reputation as a bounty. But metas don't allow for bounties.

On main sites, we have a bounty feature to allow users to draw extra attention to questions. Admittedly, I could draw a little extra attention via posting in the site's chat, but it would feel much better if I could place a bounty. Additionally, I have seen recommendations to post links elsewhere online, but this only works if I am popular on any website other than the StackExchange network (which I am not).

Other times, a user's answer on meta is impressive, so I would be willing to offer a reward to that user.

Why don't we have a bounty feature on site metas? This could use main site reputation just like ordinary bounties; the only necessary difference would be where the bounty is posted. Meta sites would then add a "featured" tab to their question lists just like main sites.

If a bounty feature is too much to ask for, can we at least have a built-in way to draw attention to questions?

  • Aside from the obvious right? (Rep isn't gained or lost on per-site metas.) Do you have a way of working around it in mind? Maybe just the simple way: using main site reputation, so that the bounty would subtract from yours and add to the recipient's on the main site (and the meta-site too by association, of course)... – Nick Stauner May 8 '14 at 6:57
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    @NickStauner That was my thought. – Justin May 8 '14 at 7:06
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    And this requested feature should show something on the main site IMO so that more users can investigate (because, at least on betas, few users use metas over the main site) – Justin May 8 '14 at 7:33
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    @user147263: I'm curious as to how a no-rep-gain bounty would be an incentive for average answerers. Or are you looking at it purely as an advertising force? – Jonathan Garber May 8 '14 at 14:42
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    Funny how you add a bounty to attract attention... – TheDoctor Jul 22 '14 at 22:39
  • @TheDoctor I know you saw this, but: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/16727799#16727799 – Justin Jul 22 '14 at 22:40
  • This was recently discussed on Meta.SO here. Might be worth a read. – JonK Jul 22 '14 at 22:48
  • @JonK Exactly what was said in the question that I linked to in my comment. – Justin Jul 22 '14 at 22:50
  • No harm in having the direct link here rather than link surfing through different posts to get there though – JonK Jul 22 '14 at 22:52
  • @JonK The direct link is already here. Your link did not add anything to this post, other than the fact that this is a recurring problem. I linked to a relevant meta.se post, and the related-questions list lists several more. – Justin Jul 22 '14 at 22:54
  • Added nothing? Or added nothing that you liked? You've now got links to two separate questions on the same topic, answered by two different diamond mods (one of whom is Jeff Atwood), saying essentially that it goes against the idea of meta sites. You're not suggesting anything that different from either post, so I'm not sure why you're expecting a different answer. – JonK Jul 22 '14 at 23:02
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Having some way for users to draw extra attention to posts on meta is a significant workflow missing from functionality. Users should definitely have some way of letting others know "hey, this meta topic is important!"

Regarding bounties specifically, if I'm willing to give up some of my main-site rep because I think an issue on the meta is that important, I should be able to do so. I think the main use of bounties on metas would be to draw attention to something, rather than award points to other users. I don't think it's appropriate to increase rep for the purpose of awarding an excellent meta answer, but I suppose you could make an argument for it.

Some possibilities:

Enable use of bounties on metas. Placing a bounty subtracts from main-site rep. Being awarded a bounty gains no rep.

Pros:

  • Straightforward usage; it works the same as the main site bounty system.
  • Users are already familiar with it.
  • Heightened visibility mechanisms (the featured tab, the big +X tags) are already in place.
  • The system is already tuned to fit the needs of the "draw attention" use case.
  • Sacrificing main-site rep to raise visibility of a meta issue sends a very strong signal that the topic is important, as there's no way to recoup lost rep through question upvotes.

Cons:

  • Users might be surprised that placing a meta bounty costs rep even though nothing else on metas does. This could be addressed with a confirmation dialog explaining the cost.
  • Users might not feel motivated to answer a bountied meta question because they won't gain any rep from it. Or, they might answer, but then post a bunch of "WHERE IS MY REPZ" meta questions.
  • Bounties don't increase visibility at all on the main site; users must go to meta to see the question. (Perhaps they could get added to the main sidebar, after questions?)
  • SE staff have said this is "against the spirit" of metas, though I personally disagree. If that comment is directed solely at rep gain rather than the bounty system as a whole, though, I agree.
  • Adds (probably significant) code complexity to the bounty system and/or child metas.

Allow users above some appropriate rep threshold X (say 10k?) to use the tag, as opposed to only moderators.

Pros:

  • Increases visibility on both the main and meta sites, by placing the question on the main's sidebar and meta's featured tab.
  • Easy to use and understand.
  • No rep changing to worry about.
  • Hopefully relatively painless to implement.

Cons:

  • The 30 day automated expiration is too long for this use case.
  • With no associated cost, there's nothing to stop users from spamming the tag.
  • Any privileged user could remove the tag from any question at any time, "de-bountying" it.
  • Implementing controls or fixes to address the cons adds a large amount of coding work and complexity.

I think the bounty system is the way to go for this one. Established users deciding they want to draw attention on a meta (and who are unaware of this situation, obviously) will look to add a bounty first. Yes, there's some incongruity with the rep system, but it's no worse than the fact that downvoting doesn't cost rep (on either end). Yes, voting has purposes beyond changing rep scores, but so does placing a bounty.

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    I think the way people use it on this meta - to draw attention to matters missing it, to bring up old feature requests to indicate they're still wanted, or just to reward exemplary answers, primarily as far as I've seen - is a pretty good case to indicate this could work well for other metas. – doppelgreener Aug 7 '14 at 2:41
  • Why would you not want reputation changes from meta bounties? If downvotes count as "I wouldn't like this suggestion" or similar, it's understandable to not take away points. But when someone answers a bountied question, they have likely contributed significantly to the site, which is exactly what reputation should measure. – Fabian Röling Jan 16 at 10:26
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I think it's a great idea. And I don't see why actual (main-site) reputation shouldn't be gained and lost, just like bounties on the main site.

After all, one of the purposes of reputation is to unlock privileges. These privileges are not meant to give the user leverage to manipulate the community, but to give the community increased control over what happens to its website by giving trusted members more control as they contribute constructively. And if a user contributes constructively to meta, say by proposing a solution to a policy problem that has plagued the site since its inception, why not grant him/her more reputation? It's just one more way of helping to positively shape the site.

Asking, answering, and editing are all positive ways to shape the site. But so is putting a bounty on a question, and so is answering a bountied question; why should we consider it different when it's on the site's meta?

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I agree with Mr. Bultitude's answer and would likewise implement bounties on metas by linking to the parent site's rep and features (i.e., rep taken and added from main site profile, and the question listed in the associated main site's featured quesitons).

In fact, I came here after looking for it on a site where I'm a mod – i.e., where I can already set the meta posts – because there are some issues that we need to resolve promptly in early beta and we want to attract the maximum amount of attention and thought to them before they're settled.

Failing that, I guess at least we have , and any user can suggest the mods tag a post as such. That's pretty good for the attention-getting piece, but doesn't do anything for the motivating/rewarding piece.

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If you need to draw attention to a meta post on a Stack Exchange site, use chat.

Meta is for discussions revolving around the actual site. Naturally, chat works really well for this. If you participate in a Stack Exchange site with an active chatting community, drop a link to the meta post in the chat room. Most likely, a conversation will ensue. People may ask more clarifying questions. Some may throw out ideas. Some of them will be good, and some of them will be bad.

Next, collect all of the good ideas, and edit them back into the meta post. This bumps the post back to the top of the page where others will see it.

You now have two communication artifacts as the end result. You have recent messages in the chat room, some of which may even be starred for reference, and you have a bumped meta post that others will see as soon as they land on the meta site. What's more, the meta post contains fresh ideas from your earlier discussions.

If you participate in a site without an active chat room, chances are, the site gets very little traffic. Therefore, your meta post will most likely be at the top of the page for weeks, if not longer. Thus, no attention is really needed.

In short, we don't need child meta bounties, which just adds confusion to the reputation system. Don't waste your rep just to draw attention to something that hasn't been examined, picked apart, and improved through discussion and idea generation. Instead, use the existing tools at your disposal to simultaneously draw attention to your post and improve it. Good luck!

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