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In some sites, Stack Overflow being the most significant, a question without an accepted answer after a few minutes has a very high probability of never being answered.

Opening a bounty could minimize this problem (for users that can "pay" it), but it means a delay of 2 days. See here for a very good discussion on this interval. It seems that site time is too fast, compared with clock time.

Must the reward of an accepted answer be proportional to the time between question and accepted answer?

Another possibility (just an undefined idea) could be to use "interesting tags" as a way to "split" the audience in very big sites as in smaller ones.

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    An alternative could be to limit the influx of questions that those who are worthy being answered are buried under. But maybe I missed the point here. *shrugs*. (That idea of establishing a connection between the time between the question and the (accepted) answer is interesting, though: Questions that have an accepted answer after 2 minutes tend to be... well, not the pearls, so to speak. It might be worth looking whether this has been considered before, and if not, maybe open a discussion about that...) – Marco13 Nov 17 at 18:36
  • @Marco13: Thanks for your comment. In fact, we are talking about two different intervals: interval between the question and the answer that will be later accepted (to reward answer to old unaccepted questions) and interval between answer and its accept action. – pasaba por aqui Nov 17 at 18:41
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    Get used to it. With stackoverflows new strategy to attract as many new users as possible to ask questions while at the same time actively driving away the users that previously answered most questions, this discrepancy will get a lot worse... – samcarter Nov 17 at 20:11
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Another possibility (just an undefined idea) could be use "interest tags" as a way to "split" audience in very big sites as in smaller ones.

This already happens; on Stack Overflow, the homepage is personalized based on the tags you're active in. For more details, see this blog post:

The goal is no longer to show you a simple flat list of the last (n) active questions — that’s not even possible any more based on sheer question volume — but, instead, to narrow the list to a subset of active questions that we think you will be interested in.

Also, many Stack Overflow users already use tags and/or custom question filters to find questions they can answer more easily.


My question: must the reward of an accepted answer be proportional to the time between question and accepted answer?

What do you exactly mean by this? That acceptance of a late answer should give more than 15 reputation? I don't think that's a good idea, all votes (acceptance is a vote) should be treated equal. It might even be prone to abuse, i.e. users deliberately delaying accepting answers from their friends in order to have them gain more reputation.

  • An aside: The "splitting" happens (and did happen for a while) on a much broader scale: We started with Stackoverflow, and now have SoftwareEngineering, DataScience, DataBases, MachineLearning, and dozens more (still, SO is too large, but maybe it's hard to find the right next "split point"...). – Marco13 Nov 17 at 18:51
  • Regarding the delay: It's true that this could be abused, and it would be a difficult consideration. But very roughly: When a Q has 0 upvotes itself, but an accepted A after 2 minutes, that's a "bad" sign. When a Q has 10 upvotes after a week, 3 answers after 2 weeks, and the answers have 20-25 upvotes, then that's simply a different category of question, and the acceptance could be worth more. (Again, very roughly speaking...) – Marco13 Nov 17 at 18:52
  • "users deliberately delaying accepting answers from their friends in order to have them gain more reputation" also, it's usually a good practice to delay anyway. The first answer or first few answers (if they come at roughly the same time) might not be the best. You could get a more comprehensive answer later even if it's one of the first one that gets edited to include more details. – VLAZ Nov 18 at 9:27
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Too gameable. and the increased reward doesn't necessarily reflect increased value very well

Some people don't tick the checkbox out of a lack of their own knowledge -- they don't know if it the right answer or not -- and it can take literal years for someone to get around to ticking the checkbox. Would an answer be worth +5000 rep after 5 years, just because I delayed ticking the box?

  • Clarification: proportional to.time between question and answer (that latter will be accepted), not including the time between answer write and answer accept – pasaba por aqui Nov 17 at 20:20
  • There is a Necromancer badge to help award this – bobobobo Nov 17 at 23:31
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a question without an accepted answer after a few minutes has a very high probability of never being answered.

Maybe so, but what makes you think that the reason for going unanswered is the lack of views/attention?!

Meaning: putting up a hypothesis "early bounties would help" is easy to do. But in order to ask for a corresponding change you should add good arguments why you think that feature would help in general!

In my experience for example, a very high percentage of questions that never see good answers is because of lack of quality on side of the question.

And beyond that, You see, one point of making bounties expensive is: if every user could easily add a bounty instantly, there might be hundreds of "low bounty low quality" questions hanging around! When even 5 percent of all "Java" questions would go bounty, there would be thousands and thousands of featured questions, and most likely a large part of the "small bounty" ones would just be ignored.

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