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In my opinion, the bounty system could use a lot of work. Most of the time when I put a bounty on a question of mine, it goes unanswered and I lose the bounty that I placed on the question. I see no reason why this should be the case, as it just "penalizes" putting bounties on questions that are hard-to-answer. Ironically, these questions are typically exactly the types of questions that deserve to have big bounties (as they typically require additional rewards to draw out less common experts to answer them).

I think it's a shame that questions that are highly advanced usually get one or two upvotes and will never see a single answer. Answering a difficult obscure question currently have way less of a payout than more popular questions like "why does stirring my soup make it cooler?" And I think if someone genuinely wants to have their question answered (even if it takes months of time), there should eventually be a way of having a high enough value for answering the question that people take the effort to answer it.

Here are some suggestions for improving the current bounty system:

Reputation points charged for Bounties that doesn't receive any positively-received answers are not only refunded to the user, but the question automatically receives 5 upvotes and the question goes back on the featured list but with a higher bounty

Reward multipliers for unanswered questions. For instance, a well-received question that hasn't been answered for 2 years and has received multiple bounties should have a HUGE payoff for answering. Every time a question goes unanswered after a bounty-session, the question should have a multiplier that rewards answering that question.

More "prestige points" are awarded in the form of medals related to placing bounties. (I think way too many "power users" hoard their reputation points, which could be used to highlight questions that require more expertise) Maybe these proposed solutions are not perfect, but I think this issue should be taken seriously as I feel that this platform can have a much better system for helping

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    Bounties are like advertising: you pay for an advert, not for an answer. The fee is for visibility. Did your questions have the right tags to reach the right user base? – Modus Tollens Sep 30 at 5:02
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    And automatically upvoting (5 upvotes!) a question that didn't get answers is sending the wrong signal: voting shows how useful the post is considered to be by the community. You could overrule user votes by implementing that. – Modus Tollens Sep 30 at 5:06
  • it doesn't seem to me people on this meta are very open minded. I assume most suggestions are heavily downvoted as well – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 6:58
  • probably most people here have invested too much time into this website that they don't want changes that could potentially mess up their current "reputation" that they've worked for – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 6:59
  • Downvotes on feature requests on meta often mean disagreement with the proposal. – Modus Tollens Sep 30 at 7:17
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    Or, it’s just not a great idea (given that it largely ignores the purpose of bounties in the first place). Dismissing everyone as closed minded because they disagree with you is a bit pointless – Clive Sep 30 at 7:18
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    I'm not a fan of the automatic premise that disagreement is just, "users don't want change". That's not going to get any sort of constructive debate whatsoever going; just keep furthering the assumption that the site is hostile. If you want to make meaningful change, it'd help if you understood the system you are trying to change, rather than writing off disagreement with a fallacious premise. – fbueckert Sep 30 at 13:20
  • @Clive I'm dismissing you as closeminded because of how quickly you are to write off the idea as bad with very little inquiry. I see that you and almost every commenter here are serious "powerusers", and I suspect that this lack-of-proper-dialogue suggests there is some serious bias here in terms of preventing substantial change in the system. – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 16:41
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    It's generally a good idea to try to keep an open mind when trying to affect change; how can you convince anyone your idea is good if all criticism is just attributed to a fallacious premise? You're basically telling detractors that you're not actually interested in having a discussion. – fbueckert Oct 1 at 14:02
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Your proposal is open to all sorts of abuse.

  • ask a question that's too difficult to answer, too specialised etc. Offer a bounty and wait for the upvote rep gain. Ask a variant of that and repeat.
  • answer a question and get a vast set of site privileges via the multiplier, possibly in cahoots with the question asker or one of the bounty posters.
  • After 2 years your sock puppet answers your question to get all the multipliers.

Popular questions do tend to garner answers without the need to resort to bounties at all.

Generally people with lots of rep aren't "hoarding" their rep they are

  • experienced in their field and don't need to ask lots of questions
  • know how to search for answers that are already present on the site

If you put an advert in the paper, you don't get your money back if the advert doesn't elicit any additional sales. That's the model in play here. You got what you paid for whether or not there's an answer i.e. more eyes directed towards your question.

  • Okay so why are bounties called "bounties" and not "advertisements"? It seems as though this meta community has a huge bias in favor of defending the status quo. In all the posters here, not one person has articulated that they even understand what my issue is. – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 16:23
  • You are defending the bounty system when it half-works as an intentional system, but I very much doubt there has been very much thought or tweaking in the bounty system, and it has likely stayed exactly the same since the birth of the website. – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 16:26
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    Feel free to propose a feature request suggesting a rename. You might get more traction on that. And I'm not defending the status quo, I'm simply saying your proposal makes it worse rather than better. – Robert Longson Sep 30 at 16:26
  • Also, you speak of "abuse" but I don't see how anything you've written is a problem. You speak of a fake account answering a question to get multipliers but the origional asker in the current system can just answer them the questions themselves. Additionally, if a positively-recieved question has remained unanswered for years, I see no reason what is wrong if ANY user is rewarded with answering the question. You want to have a website filled with unanswered questions? Do you know how many people google for help on some work and find their question on the internet to only be left unanswered. – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 16:31
  • I'm sure a lot of people are looking for answered questions on the internet and don't participate on the meta of this website, and I guarantee that despite all the downvotes from this poweruser hivemind, a lot of good would be done to improve the system for those people. – Steven Sagona Sep 30 at 16:35
  • @StevenSagona Rude. If you really need an answer that badly, there might be services where you can pay for it. Maybe a better fit. Users here are answering as volunteers, you are not entitled to receive an answer at all. – Modus Tollens Sep 30 at 17:02

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