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Asking on Meta Stack Exchange has to do with effectively assisting a user who has posted a bounty on a question.

Preface

I'm currently interacting with a user who seems to have copied a project from GitHub without a deep understanding of the programming concepts involved. They have posted a bounty on their question, seeking help with issues they're encountering within the project. I'm aware that the bounty might attract more attention to the question.

Context

In an attempt to gauge their understanding and capabilities, I asked if they were able to refactor the code to make it runnable. Their response was "not yet," indicating they might be struggling with fundamental programming concepts.

I had initially provided an answer to their question, but I felt compelled to delete it after realizing the extent of the user's lack of understanding. I was concerned my answer might not be helpful in their learning process given their current knowledge gaps.

While I'm willing and able to assist them with their immediate coding issue, it seems evident that they also need to understand the fundamentals of programming and the specifics of the code they're working with.

Question

Given the bounty on the question, I understand there's an expectation for a comprehensive solution. However, I feel that addressing the underlying learning gaps could be more beneficial for the user in the long term.

So, how can I approach this situation effectively? How can I provide immediate assistance while also encouraging the user to better understand the code and learn essential programming principles? Are there specific strategies or resources that could facilitate this process, especially in the context of a bounty question where the question can't be closed?

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    This is why it's important to close closable questions quickly - so that OP doesn't get a chance to apply a bounty, which prevents closure. Aug 7, 2023 at 10:37
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    Why this is asked here instead of Stack Overflow Meta? To make this question a good fit for this site please extrapolate the case to other sites or add a non-programming case
    – user1359324
    Aug 7, 2023 at 13:21
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    @Wicket "Needs more focus" and "needs details or clarity" are network-wide closure reasons, and seem like they could describe the situation in question. Aside from that, the matter is clearly of general interest to the network, and everyone should be able to at least imagine an analogous situation on their site. At least, supposing that bounties are commonly used on it. (I don't think I've ever seen a bounty placed or awarded on Japanese Language, for example.) Aug 8, 2023 at 0:09

1 Answer 1

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If a question is closable then that's what it is regardless of whether there's any bounty on it.

If you need lots of back and forth between the OP to clarify the question or to figure out exactly what the problem is or because there are multiple misunderstandings by the OP then the question would seem to be closable as either Needs more focus or Needs details or clarity.

So given that you can't close a bountied question you can either

  1. Wait for the bounty to expire and then vote to close it
  2. Flag it for moderator attention with a custom flag explaining it's too broad and asking a moderator to close it. This will refund the bounty if the moderator agrees and closes the question. Note that you're going to have to hope the moderator sees it your way as they likely won't be an expert in the question topic you're trying to answer.
  3. Just move on and go spend your time answering some clearer questions instead. You'll likely make more rep that way in the long run anyway.
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