Currently bounties are primarily a way to draw attention to get a good answer in a timely fashion. 'A bounty is a way to get additional attention for a question by offering some of your own reputation for great answers." When the bounty is posted it adds the question to the 'featured' questions lists.

For programming sites that makes sense, a solution is needed and you are willing to pay extra for the solution 'now'.

On some sites occasionally there are questions that require either a high degree of research and/or a level of experience and knowledge that is not available in the current daily visitors. You would like an answer, you are willing to both a 'pay' for AND wait for it.

I would like to propose a new category of bounty, "Standing Bounty"

  • It does not expire
  • It does not put a question on the 'featured' questions lists

  • It does keep the question on the unanswered list

  • It can only be manually awarded
  • If the OP does not visit the site for some time (1 - 3 months) the bounty falls away

I have a few questions on pets.se where the best answers is just not going to be a quick answer from one of the existing regular members. I have considered posting a message that I would grant a bounty if an answer meeting was posted, but it feels like it should be a more formal process.

The target is surfers who do not have an SE account and do have the knowledge (or the energy to do extensive research). I want to draw them into share their knowledge. They found the question, because they are interested in the top (i.e. search results). It is unreasonable to expect this person to find my question during the week the bounty is posted on the 'featured' list.

Edit to Clarify The goal here is not to lead people to the question, this proposal does not advertise the question. The goal is to encourage someone who found the question to answer it. On Pets.SE we have 8k drive by surfers per day with only the smallest percentage participating, I assume other specialty sites see similar trends. I want to encourage that surfer who know the answer to my question to stop and answer it.

  • I searched to see if this has been proposed before and did not find anything, the closest I found is Add an option to extend bounties? Sep 28 '15 at 18:27
  • 6
    Seems like a very narrow use case. Probably too narrow to merit the complicated and confusing (when placed side by side with regular bounties) feature.
    – Servy
    Sep 28 '15 at 18:28
  • Related: Do not expire bounties which failed to attract any (good) answers. (Why do I link this? It will just get more downvotes.)
    – Wrzlprmft
    Sep 28 '15 at 19:06
  • 1
    So it's not a bounty. What you actually suggest is a way to give a "super upvote", e.g. 100 rep, and thus attract people to answer. Such thing was already proposed (and declined) some years ago. Sep 28 '15 at 19:12
  • @Wrzlprmft Though I did not find the related question (was on the wrong meta site...) I think I have addressed most if not all the points brought up in argument against the related proposal Sep 28 '15 at 19:12
  • @ShadowWizard after reading your linked propsal I am suggesting something slightly different. You offer it like a bounty and the rep goes from your account into escrow until awarded. The only advertising is a on the question. " I will give xxx Rep for and answer that meets this criteria". Sep 28 '15 at 19:20
  • @JamesJenkins fair enough, and I'm not suggesting this as duplicate. However, chances for your idea to be done as-is are... really really low. It's both technically complicated, and too "narrow" as Servy said above. Sep 28 '15 at 19:24
  • Actually, happens quite a lot in MathOverflow. TONS, even for questions I have wanted to ask. Of course it's site-specific.
    – Alex
    Mar 7 '16 at 23:04

While I see and get your point. and can sympathize with it, I do not think it's feasible for Stack Exchange sites, big or small.

Reputation plays a big and important role in Stack Exchange, but it's not the main thing around which Stack Exchange is built. People should post answers because they want to do that (and can), not because they get a prize for this.

In the case you describe, of small site with low traffic and question that needs lots of research and efforts to answer, just keep editing it while doing your own research, keep starting bounties when you can, and at some point someone will answer, then you can award a bounty after the answer was already posted. (There is a "Reward existing answer" bounty reason)


Usually, if someone sees your question, they're going to either be able to have the outline* of an answer for it after at most a few minutes' thought, or unable to formulate any answer at all within any reasonable timeframe. In the former case, what you mostly want is to get them to see your question, which this proposal does next to nothing to help with; in the latter case, no bounty will be of any real value.

That, plus the confusion of "exactly like an existing feature, but different", says that this just won't work.

*The outline might take some significant research to fill out completely, but usually the broad strokes are present from the beginning.

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