The rationale of the 2 days delay before a new question becomes bountiable is that the community requires time to close a not eligible question.

The problem is with it, that the worth of an answer typically decreases a lot, if the bounty appears so much later. The motive to sacrifice a lot of reputation is much more weak, if the results arrive 2-9 days later.

My idea is that the OPs could have a possibility to ask for a community review of their question now.

I think it could be done most effectively in the close/reopen queue:

  1. The "start a bounty" link would be visible for the OP on the spot after he asked the question.
  2. If he clicks "start a bounty" before the 2 day limit, the bounty wouldn't be started. Instead, a close review would be started for his question (but no close vote entity would be created).
  3. If the question wins the vote (= 3 "leave open" votes are collected), then it would become bounty-able on the spot.
  4. If the question loses the vote (= 5 "close" votes), it would become closed as usual.

I expect the following results:

  • There will be a little bit more close votes.
  • There will be much more bounties.
  • There will be much more users working hardly, but this time not for privileges, but to collect reputation for bounties.
  • There will be less workload on moderators as they wouldn't need to cancel bounties as often, as the questions will be reviewed.

In general, the sites would switch from the current "work for privileges" and "google for knowledge" flavor to "knowledge sharing" direction.


This feature request can be split into two parts:

  1. Allow post authors to initiate a Close Votes review manually within two days of posting it
  2. Allow bounties to a question earlier than two days if the post gets reviewed as "Leave Open" in the Close Votes queue (irrespective of how it got there)

I disagree with the first request as it is currently proposed. First, I don't know how to implement this in the UI ("just click here to have your question reviewed so you can bounty it earlier!"). I imagine people will click that button not exactly knowing what it does, or to abuse the system. This can clutter the Close Votes queue, and on sites like SO whose queues are massive, this can be a real problem. Also, some authors can get mad because it may take a long time for their post to be reviewed, perhaps even more time than if they had just waited the two days.

Also, there are already ways for the post author to initiate a Close Votes review on their own post, which are not so well known and don't clutter the queue: simply cast a recommend closure flag. Or, if you have 250 rep, cast a close vote. This already has a bit of a mental barrier, as they generally think this increases the likelihood of their question being closed, and if they cast a recommend closure flag and it's reviewed as Leave Open, it will result in a declined flag.

As far as the second suggestion, I do think that if the community has already reviewed a question and decided it's not going to be closed as written before the two days lapse, anyone should be able to bounty it. The intent of the two-day waiting period is to give off-topic questions time to be detected and closed by the community. If the community has already decided not to close it after a full-length close review, there is no reason for any more waiting time.

This should be kept well hidden, though. It shouldn't say "hey, the community decided your question is on-topic so we'll let you bounty it." Instead, it should just subtly add in the bounty option. I think this would be overall less prone to abuse.

I'd also like to mention that the overall suggestion does have some pros: it reduces workload on moderators, because as the questions are being reviewed, they wouldn't need to intervene as often to clear the bounty on off-topic questions that might have slipped through the cracks. But this is outweighed by its huge potential for abuse, as I detailed above.

  • I think, if the "Start Bounty" would be clicked before the 2-day pause, a popup would be shown, with some like this: "Warning: your question is eligible for a bounty only after <time left>, or if it survived a close review. Would you like to initiate a close review now? The review can also result the closure of your question." – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 23 '18 at 14:09
  • @peterh No, that's a bad idea. People today click the link out of curiosity to determine what a "bounty" is and why they need to wait. If you add in this big button, people will think of it as "hey, let's get this reviewed quickly so that we can bounty it earlier", and then complain when they didn't get the review in time. Also, people can just click the link out of curiosity, or flood the queue unnecessarily. The queue doesn't have an infinite amount of space. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 23 '18 at 15:27

Its a terrible idea. These things are unrelated. The two day wait is meant to stop people from immediately posting a bounty on a post, and give people a chance to answer. Leave open means the question is not terrible, not that it needs a bounty to be answerable. We'd be chucking questions in the closevote queue cause someone was impatient .

People shouldn't be relying on bounties on new questions - they should be using it for advertising hard questions and the unintended concequence would be a bunch of new users doing this to get answers faster.

I'd also note, bounties being canceled are not that common anyway, so that's not a problem that really needs a solution.

  • Bounties don't stop people from answering. Also, reviews do take time: under the proposed system, you can't immediately bounty a question. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 23 '18 at 15:23
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    Also, the waiting period is definitely intended to weed out off-topic questions, which is why it's set at 2 days and not, say 24 hours. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 23 '18 at 15:28

As Journeyman notes, the waiting period isn't about giving folks time to close the question; we could've just as well allowed closing during bounties.

The bounty system wasn't designed to be a necessary step in getting an answer; if you have to pay to play, the system is fundamentally broken. The goal for bounties was to make answering big, hard, meaty questions a bit more palatable:

We’re hoping the new question bounty will improve answer quality on those tougher questions that aren’t so easy to answer. But they do require a bigger commitment from both the asker and the answerer — you must be willing to slice off a piece of your own reputation and bestow it upon the person who is best able to answer your question.

-- Reputation Bounty for Unanswered Questions

Making it possible to instantly offer a bounty works against that goal; you've given no one time to answer, no one time to ask clarifying questions... Worse, you've deprived yourself the opportunity to review your own question, do a bit more research, and make necessary improvements. As I wrote a while back,

Nothing is stopping someone from answering it during that time, except the nature of the question itself. Have you responded to the comments looking for clarification? Edited in details on what your own research has turned up while you were waiting? Worked to make the description and / or code more concise to encourage more people to read it? Made sure the title actually describes the problem you're trying to solve?

If, in two days of effort, you can neither solve the problem yourself nor find anyone else willing to help, then fine - slap a bounty on it, sweeten the deal that you've already done everything to make as attractive as possible. But if you're sitting on your hands for two days waiting out the waiting period... Then you're wasting your time for nothing.

  • Allowing users to initiate a Close Votes review is not instantly offering a bounty. Reviews take time. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 31 '18 at 2:09
  • Potentially close reviews last indefinitely, @sonic... I don't think the asker wanted an infinite waiting period for offering a bounty however. The goal is stated as reducing or eliminating the waiting period. – Shog9 Jan 31 '18 at 2:44
  • Yeah, that's exactly my point. The request was to allow a bounty earlier if the question gets reviewed as "Leave Open" before the 2-day period expires. That would not allow for an instant bounty, since there is still a wait. (If you read my answer, you'll see that this in fact two different features.) – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 31 '18 at 2:46
  • That's not the goal though, @sonic; thats just the mechanism for achieving the goal, and it's based on the faulty premise that we would want more bounties questions were it not for the chance that some might need to be closed. – Shog9 Jan 31 '18 at 2:48
  • I think putting your own question into the VtC queue is an enough strong motivation to really double-check it. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 '18 at 4:45
  • FIrst its play to pay. Then its loot boxes... ' – Journeyman Geek Jan 31 '18 at 12:25
  • I understand your reasons. My opinion is that you lose more as you win. Reputation and privileges is not a very strong motivation for a lot of people. But the possibility to ask bountied questions quickly, yes it is. With this change, you could build up a massive user base working hardily to answer others questions, but their motivation to collect rep wouldn't be the privileges, but the possibility to ask bountied questions quickly in the future. Essentially, you could build up a market for questions and answers. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '18 at 2:53
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    Experts Exchange tried that years ago, @peterh. Heck, so did Yahoo. If you're not motivated to ask a good question by the need for an answer, then Internet Points don't do anything further. – Shog9 Feb 2 '18 at 3:06
  • @Shog9 If the entry price to ask a bountied question is a survived close vote, I think it wouldn't be so bad. Bad questions still couldn't be bountiable, because they would be filtered out by the close vote. I don't know too much from the Experts Exchange, but as far I know, they tried to do it with monetary motivation. It will obviously fail, but not on the market reason, but on the fact, that wanting any money from the people decreases their interest to nearly zero. From yahoo, quora and the others I know nearly nothing, except that they are lacking the quality assurance what you have. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Feb 4 '18 at 1:16
  • @Shog9 On this reason, the essential part of the suggestion, that it would not be an option to avoid the quality assurance. The OPs wanting to bounty their questions, would need to initiate a close vote against their own question. Last time I required an answer quickly here. At the moment of the posting, I had been ready to pay around 300 rep for a quick answer. This was the worth of an answer for me at the moment of posting this question. I had been ready to write answers in the worth of 300 rep later, for that +2 answer on the spot. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Feb 4 '18 at 1:25
  • Tons of people get quick answers without bounties every day. OTOH, due to how bounty promotions work... They don't necessarily even result in quick answers - the intent, after all, was to motivate good answers. – Shog9 Feb 4 '18 at 1:56
  • Google Answers and Amazon Askville were two other failed attempts at a market-based Q&A. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Feb 4 '18 at 8:14

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