With the new ability to set bounties on any question, it's great on Stack Overflow for getting attention to everyone on someone else's question that interests you. Sometimes it doesn't yield results, but you can always apply a new bounty to extend the period that it is extra-visible. And this works because the benefit is that a lot of people get to see it, you don't really need to target a specific person.

On Meta, it's a bit different. People are posting bounties on feature requests and bug reports that they agree with, because they want action on it. Action by the team, a specific group of people. And I'm not talking down the practice - I think it's a great show of support. But I've been looking at what has been posted on the bounty board over the past weeks, and what response those get, and I honestly haven't seen it actually provoke the team to any action. This has been the case since the old bounty system as well, I really haven't seen the posting of a bounty ever truly spark action to resolve a concern. Since it only lasts a week, which isn't necessarily when someone is looking, the new system can result in a lot of bounty being spent for possibly nothing.

So my question is, does the team actually pay special attention to Featured bug reports and feature requests? I know there is the whole establishment of the bugs and reqs tab that shows generally what is being looked at. I think it's good for the actual evaluation process. I'm simply curious, is there any additional thought or attention given to anything with bounties? Are users who are posting bounties explicitly to get the attention of the team misguided?

I can accept either answer (if it's no, I'll end up posting bounties on things that the community as a whole can contribute to, like naming discussions or etiquette clarification). I don't intend to make people change how they are current assigning bounties, nor how the team looks at bounty questions. I just think that a concrete answer would be very useful.


I do look at them periodically, but many of them are hard and/or complicated to implement and/or have repercussions/caveats.

If they were simpler to accomplish, they'd get done.

I'll try to make sure I at least answer the featured questions on meta.

  • Thank you much for answering! In retrospect, I just remembered that the only bounty I've ever posted ended up being won by you, anyway. But that was on a discussion, not a feature-request. – Grace Note Jul 7 '10 at 10:33
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    It's been a few years since you posted this answer, however it's been linked in my recent question of Does the SE development team regularly check the bounty board?. Would you be able to provide a more up-to-date answer to this question? Or pass it on to someone who could provide that answer? – Rachel May 13 '13 at 15:32

I certainly don't believe that they should.

Feature requests should be considered based on their popularity and the StackOverflow team's design/vision of how it would be incorporated into the site.

If we consider the way a bounty behaves, it is similar in its manner to advertising. This makes Feature Requests rather like political campaigns. You can add a bounty in order to advertise your cause and hope that enough people will end up upvoting the issue to get the attention of the team.

But the bounty itself adds no merit to the proposal, it simply means that there is at least one wealthy user who cares significantly. It does not imply or entail that the feature request is something that the community wants.

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    That's an interesting interpretation that gives good light into how posting bounties on bugs/reqs is not worthless even if the team doesn't give any extra attention. And I definitely agree that it doesn't actually give any merit to the suggestion, but I remain curious. – Grace Note Jul 6 '10 at 14:21
  • Exactly the point. What they probably actually care about are these views: meta.stackoverflow.com/?tab=requests and meta.stackoverflow.com/?tab=bugs. They will pay probably more attention to the requests with the most community support. As such, a bounty advertises your question to the community, and helps gathering votes from it (if worthy), and helps making it look more important to the team. – Gnoupi Jul 6 '10 at 14:35
  • In considering your answer, I've rephrased my question to put less "worth" on bounties being looked at, and put greater emphasis on the fact this is partly out of curiosity and to put some minds at ease. – Grace Note Jul 6 '10 at 14:44
  • Well, in some small sense, it is actually negative, because the bounty ends up inflating support for the proposal. It is gaining attention from advertising and not from users seeking it. But the other hand is that the users who see it because of this advertising may actually believe it is a great proposal. – devinb Jul 6 '10 at 15:01

Once I hit 10k on Meta I tried it a few times. The first time was for Show full reputation for 10k+ users in tooltip when hovering over rep in sig, which was completed while it had the bounty.

I've since tried it three more times without so much as a comment from the team, on these questions: Clicking tabs in user profile scrolls to top of page (“tab-top” anchor is missing), URL to recent activity page accepts full timestamp for StartDate but not for EndDate, and Please give us the ability to sort “featured” tab by bounty amount.


Well I put a bounty on a bug - Migration time and Close time mixed up - in the hope that it would get some attention and be fixed, but the bounty went unacknowledged.

  • I've seen this happen all the time, even in the old system but in much higher amounts in the new system. I think it'll put some minds at ease if we get a solid answer on this. – Grace Note Jul 6 '10 at 14:26
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    The SO team prioritizes bugs internally, they probably decided this was not critical and could be put near the end of their list. Jeff Atwood changed the title of the post, so he's aware of it. – devinb Jul 6 '10 at 14:27
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    @devinb - it was a bit of an experiment on my part. There's a possible bug I reported which I'd like some response on and I was seeing if a bounty would help. I needed something that was a definite bug though to perform the test. – ChrisF Jul 6 '10 at 14:54

It's probably difficult to tell whether or not they pay attention to featured questions, unless they answer this question directly.

It certainly doesn't seem that they do, considering I posted a bounty on this question just with the hope of getting some sort of official word (not necessarily a solution). Unfortunately, with just a few hours to go on the bounty I'd got nothing - not even a comment. Quack responded to a comment I directed at him and he said the best way to attract attention is by email or comment replies to other posts. ChrisF's answer also suggests that adding a bounty won't necessarily get you a response.

I don't think there's anything wrong with adding a bounty to a post to try and attract the team's attention. It's clearly not going to affect how quickly they fix a bug or implement a feature but if you're just trying to get an official statement of some sort then there's no real harm done. Attracting the rest of the community's attention to the post can only help the team notice it further anyway. Just don't hold your breath ;-)

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    Technically, the ideal goal of this question was to wait (however long it takes, I'm a very patient person) for said direct answer. However, I'm very happy with the answers I've gotten, they give a lot of insight into things I both never considered, as well as sharing experiences with bounties on Meta. So even if I don't get my concrete answer, I think there's been a net gain. – Grace Note Jul 6 '10 at 14:57
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    @Grace: well, if you don't get an official response within 24 hours you could always add a bounty :-) – Andy E Jul 6 '10 at 15:01

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