for every week a questions remains unanswered, give it 10 bounty.

This means that questions which have remained unanswered for a year could give you 510 reputation (given that it is also accepted of course)

This system works like an auction, where the pressure to answer a question gets higher and higher until eventually someone will answer it, no matter how difficult the question was.

  • 1
    a -1 with an actual comment as to why would be nice... ;^)
    – Toad
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:01
  • 4
    That just means someone disagrees with your idea. On Meta, voting on feature requests is used to measure what the community thinks of that proposed feature. The "unclear or not helpful" tooltip is kinda flawed here.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:13
  • 2
    @balpha: Adding a comment helps in determining why someone dislikes it (especially since there are no comments yet) and fuels an actual discussion
    – Toad
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:16
  • Don't worry, that will come. Saturday is a slow day. And currently, everyone is busy with your other question :)
    – balpha StaffMod
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:22
  • 4
    -1 for demanding people explain their downvotes. Oh wait... crap.
    – user27414
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


There is the potential for some really wicked unintended consequences here.

While most questions that are unclear, deeply opaque, or based on horrible misconception get caught and either closed or have the issue explained to the OP so that they get corrected, it is likely that a few slip through the cracks. These questions are not contributing to the community and should not accumulate rep.

The system proposed can not distinguish those from really hard problems (which, perhaps, do deserve some recognition).

Put me down as against it.

  • according to the frontpage there are at least 75k+ unaccepted questions (it says: answered but without any upvotes)
    – Toad
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:35
  • 2
    dmckee: Good point. And should the "put a bounty on someone else's question" ever get implemented that would probably help those "really hard problems."
    – balpha StaffMod
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:39
  • 2
    @reinier: those are a mixture of questions so obscure no one cares to answer, questions that are so unclear no one bothered to answer, questions like the previous categories where only there are answers but no upvotes, and questions that are so hard no one can answer. Only the last group deserves recognition. Mar 6, 2010 at 19:40
  • @balpha: adding bounty on someone elses question sounds like a good idea. Where can I vote for this? (it would work best of everyone can chip in a little... "community bounty")
    – Toad
    Mar 6, 2010 at 19:48
  • 2
  • dmckee: +1'd them!
    – Toad
    Mar 6, 2010 at 20:51

+1 I like the reasoning behind the idea. If SO cares about the vast number of unanswered questions, something definitely needs to be done in that department. I think there may be too many practical problems though.

Many unanswered questions are abandoned, i.e. the user who asked them is not likely to return to SO. You would have to introduce community question closing at the same time for this to have any effect - I'm not saying I'm totally against that, but it would be a major change to the system with a plethora of issues.

Also, a bounty would put considerable pressure to close the question. A time limit to decide who gets the bounty would be necessary to avoid disappointment among people putting energy into answering the question. On the other hand, there may still not be a right answer, simply because the question is so hard, nobody understands it, or it's badly worded. What do you do then? In a normal bounty, there's the 7 day time frame after which you have to make a decision. What kind of time frame can you enforce on a year-old question? What if the user logs on to SO once a year? And so on an on. It's going to be too difficult to implement, I think.

  • By "close" do you mean "accept an answer for"? If so, I am totally against that... ;-)
    – Shog9
    Mar 6, 2010 at 20:42
  • @Shog9 I see the point, I'm not fond of it myself, but what else do you want to do with tons of orphaned questions in the long run?...
    – Pekka
    Mar 6, 2010 at 20:46
  • leave them "orphaned". Ultimately, the only meaning "accepted" has is that an answer was of some use to the OP - without that, it's completely meaningless, might as well just rely on voting to rank answers.
    – Shog9
    Mar 7, 2010 at 3:07

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