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Wouldn't it make sense if the 'invested' reputation into a bounty would next be added to the new bounty? So if for example I would post a bounty of +100 during the grace period and had a bounty of +50 for a week the second bounty would only cost 100-50=50 reputation. This lightens the 'burden' on the question asker (who already is sad to see his question gone mostly ignored for the entire week) and prevents the 'waste' of the original reputation without any chance of it being 'misused'.

  1. A user posts a bounty (costing it's full reputation cost of X)
  2. For 7 days nobody is able to figure out a solution
  3. On the 8th day he wants to post a new bounty and believes no answer deserves the bounty, likely also meaning no answer has at least two upvotes (should possibly be a requirement). This removes the original bounty from the system and a new bounty is posted costing the new full bounty reputation Y minus the original X.
    • This is not a refund in any way, because the user can never get the actual reputation back and the reputation is still applied to the same question
    • For all practical purposes this is exactly the same as if the user awarded a bounty of Y from the beginning. His 'unfair advantage' is that he gets 2 weeks of prime time attention rather than one, however that seems a meagre consolidation price for somebody just looking for an answer to his problem.

To judge this it would be useful to see how many bounties end up going unanswered (defined in this context as no answer with at least 2 upvotes and no manually set accepted answer), I tried looking up this information using the Data Explorer, but as far as I can see this information is not exposed. Either way, in certain tags bounties dying like this seems to be a common case.

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    @PatrickHofman: Removed my comments as well then, but just a thought, you posted that duplicate within two minutes of me posting this post... it might be a good idea to spend some time reading the posts before posting it as a duplicate. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 15:42
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    @PatrickHofman With that logic, 100 questions immediately become dupes. There is additional context/proposal/questions beyond "change bounty in grace period" – James Nov 4 '14 at 15:55
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    @DavidMulder You could probs change this subject to something more meaningful, such as "Invest previous unawarded bounty rep into subsequent bounty" – James Nov 4 '14 at 15:57
  • I've edited your question to make it more stand alone, as your other question is now unrelated and the text referring to it might be (part of) the reason dupe votes are coming. I've also edited the title, as "Allow upgrading a bounty during the grace period into a new bounty" also sounds like your other question. feel free to roll back if you don't agree. – James Nov 4 '14 at 16:15
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I'm against this proposal as it would merely encourage "underbountying" (excuse the coinage).

Let's say I have a question that is rather difficult so I estimate that at a bounty of 200 the right kind of people will provide good answers.

Two Strategies

Strategy 1: Set the bounty to 200 right from the start.

Strategy 2: Try to see whether I can get an answer on the cheap. So I start with 50, increase it to 100, and then 200.

Let's assume a good answer won't come until the bounty is at 200.

Under the current system

Strategy 1 would cost 200.

Strategy 2 would cost 350.

Under the new system.

Strategy 1 and 2 would cost the same: 200. However, strategy 1 would leave the question featured for one week whereas the strategy 2 would leave it featured for three weeks (with perhaps periods of being unfeatured during whatever amount of the grace periods occurs).

  • I did think of this indeed and I believe it's not true for the simple reason that anybody offering a bounty on a question is quite interested in the answer... not in waiting 3 weeks for an answer. Higher bounties are often posted either as 'thank you'-s or as 'I desperatedly need help with this' in contrast to lower bounties which are sometimes posted even out of pure curiosity. Right now users posting a 50 bounty and not getting any serious answer over the course of a week are not inclined to post another 100 rep bounty, after all, the bounty system just failed them. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 18:16
  • I'm talking about someone who has estimated that the type of problem they have won't get an good answer unless the bounty is at 200. The person who starts at 50, and abandons when they fail to get an answer is not the kind of person I'm talking about. You are basically saying "there exist other cases in which..." The existence of cases of type B does not negate the existence of cases of type A. – Louis Nov 4 '14 at 18:21
  • "the type of problem [that] won't get an good answer unless the bounty is at 200"... all I am disputing that there is such a class. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 18:27
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    Well, it exists. I've seen bountied questions that were never answered because the problem was too difficult. In some cases I bookmarked the question thinking I'd answer it when I'd have time because an answer would take quite a bit of my time but I did not have time until the bounty expired. – Louis Nov 4 '14 at 18:29
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    Just thinking now though, isn't a upward sliding bounty then exactly the best solution? Because in those cases the bounty will normally just start with +50 or +100 as most bounties do, and over time get higher and higher, thus being answered at the point it's worth someones time. In contrast to the first bounty expiring and forgotten leaving the community with an unanswered question? – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 18:31
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    It is the best solution for the bounty giver but not for the rest of the community. Giving the right incentive from the start is what is in the best interest of the community. And if an answer could have come but did not, then the incentive was not right. – Louis Nov 4 '14 at 18:35
  • No, because normally the answer won't get the 'necessary' bounty in the first place. So now it's not good for the community, but just for bounty hunters who sometimes get 'overpaid' for their work. And additional reputation is wasted for the sake of 'attention' which does the community no good either. If anything you should be argueing this makes it cheaper for bad questions to be in the bounty list. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 18:51
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This is not a refund in any way, because the user can never get the actual reputation back and the reputation is still applied to the same question

It is refunded (as per your proposal) in the next bounty they submit, and so the user does get the rep back, even if it's only under certain criteria.

This removes the original bounty from the system and a new bounty is posted costing the new full bounty reputation Y minus the original X

You cannot remove the original bounty, it has historical events, had rep allocated to it, other system things, and possibly users bookmarked.

Perhaps you meant remove the rep, either way is easily resolved by re-labelling it "this bounty was unawarded and the X rep was added to a subsequent bounty".

Generally these are the technical aspects we leave Stack to sort out, however in this case it would affect how end users see bounties and can see a historical trail of what bounties were added, awarded, unawarded, etc.
And sometimes these things can determine if we are going to answer or not.

Wouldn't it make sense if the 'invested' reputation into a bounty would next be added to the next bounty?

This could only work when the previous bounty had not been awarded.
Otherwise if you take rep from a previously awarded bounty, then you are spending rep twice, and as this is impossible, we'd be injecting unearned/false rep into the system.

You're essentially asking for a "refund" on the previous bounty.
However, as it is currently, a bounty requiring full rep loss, rather than "discounted/refunded", means you're dedicated to the cause. And are more likely to make sure the question deserves an answer on its own merit, not just "bought".

A bounty should cost us a premium, as then it's a superior service, rather than a cheap job.
I also like the simplicity that if you feel a question deserves/requires an answer then you should be willing to "foot the bill" and put up your rep.

Otherwise we run the danger of reducing the bounty's merit and being for well deserved questions, and instead they're just a "bargain" and so put on any old question just to get an answer.

Additional thought

You also need to consider how your proposal would manage more than 50 and 100 rep scenarios.
what happens at other rep bounty costs - 250, 500 etc. eg is it always "half price", or some percentage reduction based on previous rep?

How would this work if someone else had previously applied a bounty that has now expired?
Does the user placing a new bounty pay full price, or get some discount from the other user's expired/unspent bounty?

  • "This could only work when the previous bounty had not been awarded." As per the feature request yes. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 17:07
  • "However, as it is currently, a bounty requiring full rep loss, rather than "discounted/refunded", means you're dedicated to the cause." And getting a user to invest even more into the question makes that true even more so. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 17:08
  • "and instead they're just a "bargain" and so put on any old question just to get an answer" Spending more reputation on a question would always be good for the ecosystem... – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 17:09
  • "You also need to consider how your proposal would manage more than 50 and 100 rep scenarios" Specified in the feature request, it's simply the new bounty reputation cost minus the old unused one. – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 17:10
  • "How would this work if someone else had previously applied a bounty that has now expired?" Interesting question and can't say I have an answer ready for that one :P – David Mulder Nov 4 '14 at 17:10
  • @DavidMulder it's not to "catch you out" :P it's just considerations which need to be discussed. I would say only your own previous bounty can be refunded on your own subsequent bounties. Although, that then opens up - what if there was someone else's bounty in-between your two bounties? – James Nov 4 '14 at 17:31

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