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I've had some unlucky bounty questions(unlucky means I didn't find the answer), but now my reputation has gone to someone his answer didn't help, in fact it sometimes went to someone who has answered before I started the bounty.

what I'm talking about here is awarding the bounty to an answer when the time of the bounty is gone which seems unfair to me especially if there are people who just answer to have the reward regardless of the question.

Unfortunetly if we made bounty goes back to OP when an answer not accepted, then some OPs will play with bounties without awarding it to anyone, so I came with a solution, here it is:

when OP starts a bounty, it's not recursive but only when OP award an answer the answerer gets the reward, if no answer is rewarded and time has gone, the reputation set on the bounty is just gone, doesn't go back to OP and doesn't go to anyone.

I think this is the best solution, people now will really answer the question while bounty will still be not something to play, also I agree with the two-days time before bounty can be set and I agree with the 7-day time limit.

EDIT

As some commented, sometimes OP doesn't care about reputation lost while a useful answer deserve it , so I don't know but maybe awarding an answer only when it is upvoted to some criteria would be more fair, for example , only answers higher than five votes get the reward because it is unlikely an answer like that is not useful(beleive me I had some bounty question awarded to only 1 scored answer and there was another answer which had the same score !)

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    The problem with that is that sometimes OP will put a bounty and forget/leave the site. And genuinely useful answer that would have gotten the (half) bounty under the current system would not get it under your proposed one. – Madara Uchiha Mar 19 '15 at 9:32
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    This is too strong, for the reason @SecondRikudo points out. I would find it considerable to allow the OP take an action that would prevent auto-assigning of the bounty. – yo' Mar 19 '15 at 9:34
  • @SecondRikudo but you must agree it is unfair to award an answer a bounty when the answerer doesn't deserve it. – niceman Mar 19 '15 at 9:57
  • @SecondRikudo an OP like that will likely have a bad question and just get closed maybe(and I don't think it happened that a bad question was closed when a bounty was set) – niceman Mar 19 '15 at 9:59
  • @ShadowWizard possible but I'm not requesting "do not award bounty" button so sorry, not a duplicate – niceman Mar 19 '15 at 10:02
  • @niceman That's quite the assertion. It's not necessarily true though. – Madara Uchiha Mar 19 '15 at 10:10
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    Yeah, it's not a duplicate. It's also not an unreasonable question, the bounty system has some quirky band-aids on it that might not be immediately obvious to folks. – Tim Post Mar 19 '15 at 10:10
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That's .. not an unreasonable idea. The problem is we'd be pulling the band-aid off of a cut that's never going to fully heal. It is the way it is because people placed bounties and then:

  • Forgot about them
  • Stopped caring about them because they found the answer they needed
  • (Possibly) got grounded; all the cool moms and dads these days take Stack Overflow away

... the point is it was an actual problem (still is, to some extent) that was causing devaluation of the extrinsic motivation that bounties were designed to enhance.

Yeah, that extra 250 rep would come in handy for unlocking my next set of privileges, but .. meh, probably not gonna get it anyway and the question is too epic for the time I have to spend.

The automatic (and partial) awarding scheme was the most logical way to account for that, and it's not perfect. The system is by-design as simple as it can possibly be in order to work, with very little additional surface to game it, while keeping it as fair and balanced as we can.

The way to invest in questions to get them better answers is with time, by continuously editing them after re-reading them multiple times in an attempt to make them as clear and concise as you can possibly make them, starting with the title.

For best results, use bounties after you've done that, to draw folks back to your question after it fell out of prime-time

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