I recently had a question where the bounty offer failed to solicit anything useful. Further research, though, dug up a similar question which had an answer which provided some leads - those leads resulted in an answer. I asked the answerer on the other question to post a similar answer to mine so I could accept it, but returning today to do so I find there is no accept tick on any of the answers.
The bounty system seems quite broken to me, and really needs some hard thinking about how it should work. I squandered a bunch of rep (as much as I could afford on SU, which isn't that much) for no results. Now when I find someone who deserves the bounty, I can't award it - I can't even accept his answer. That combination of end-results is really annoying.
In my case I found someone who has done me a huge service and I would like to reward that with the bounty rep I offered for an answer to my problem... but I can't!
The only worse end-result would have been to have another answer auto-accepted for me because some well-meaning, but mistaken, individual voted it up during the bounty period without reading my comment that it did not resolve my problem. And it was only some vague pointers anyway.
Could the system be modified to allow us to accept answers on questions where a bounty was offered and not awarded. Even better, could we have the ability to award the bounty with the accept if a resolving answer comes in after the bounty period?
Could the bounty system be modified to never auto-accept. I am OK with removing the question from the feature questions list after the bounty period, but why can't the bounty remain available until I accept an answer? Perhaps it might only auto-accept after a month or 3 of the question owner not returning to the site?
Robert C Cartino suggested, and I concur:
- Half the bounty amount is awarded to the highest voted answer (within the current restrictions).
- The answer is not auto-accepted.
Instead, the banner at the bottom of the question ("This question has an open bounty worth 100 reputation ending in 1 hour") should be replaced with:
A bounty of 100 reputation points was awarded to Robert C. Cartaino [answer link] on xx/xx/xxxx at xx:xx xM.
but I would like to further suggest:
- The remaining 1/2 of the bounty remain pending until the OP accepts an answer, if they ever do.
This seems no worse than the current behavior of forever discarding the remaining bounty.