Sometimes I have high priority question, and nothing draws attention to a question as +100 bounty. The thing is, I have to wait 2 days before I can set any bounty at all. Which might make sense for some SE sites with low traffic, but for example on SO, you can clearly see if the question is getting any attention after an hour or so.

Why can't setting bounty early be for example a privilege which you'd get with few thousand of reputation? After all if I'm a "trusted user", I should be trusted not to abuse the bounty system.

EDIT: it seems some of you assume, that asking question on SO is the first thing one would do, thus the 2 days to "do your homework" googling or whatever. In my case, and I guess in case of many ppl, I ask question on SO only after I couldn't get answer through usual channels like Google, Wiki, support forums etc. Thus actually this 2 day rule promotes "ask before you google" behavior, just to get the clock ticking.

  • Or maybe, at least, allow someone else to add a bounty to the question. Though I also don't see why bounties should have a delay period.
    – cregox
    May 13, 2011 at 14:36
  • possible duplicate of Why can't I just offer a bounty for a question right off the bat?
    – Arjan
    May 13, 2011 at 15:16
  • 1
    I agree with your assessment - the problem is different now than when the above question was answered. The waiting period should be adjustable per site, and it should be lower (hours, not days) on Stack Overflow (possibly for a certain rep level like you suggest).
    – Nicole
    May 13, 2011 at 16:02
  • @Arjan - This is a specific feature request (can high rep users and/or high volume sites have a lower bar for bounty delay?) and is not an exact duplicate of the question you linked.
    – Pollyanna
    May 13, 2011 at 16:05
  • 4
    Not an exact duplicate
    – Pollyanna
    May 13, 2011 at 16:11
  • This is exactly the reason it shouldn't be implemented. We're here to help you yes, but this change would make it seem like you could get people to do your work for you.
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 13, 2011 at 16:55
  • 1
    @Ivo: what? you really think someone with 20K+ rep would bother to ask question, that is googleable?
    – vartec
    May 13, 2011 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


I would like to see this implemented, though in a slightly modified form:

You can offer a minimum 500 rep bounty four hours after you post your question. Every 4 hours after you've posted the question the minimum drops - so in eight hours you can offer a 450 rep bounty, 12 hours you can offer a 400 rep bounty, etc. Eventually you can offer as low as a 50 rep bounty (and up, of course) to get your question answered quickly.

In this way we satisfy some user's desire to get a quick answer to a difficult question by offering a bounty quickly, but it's very costly to them. We form a cost/benefit where they have to weigh the importance of the request against the philosophy of requiring people to wait.

  • +1, I like this, because it imposes a sort of artificial shrinking rep requirement for doing it as well as making there be a high cost for more immediate attention (ie, if you want to do it as soon as possible, you have to have 500+ rep, and by the time it gets down to 50+ rep, it'd be 2 days later anyway) May 13, 2011 at 16:30
  • The concept is not bad, but only if also you could reduce the bounty timeout. Like I'd offer 500 rep, if it's answered within next 8h.
    – vartec
    May 13, 2011 at 19:38

I think we can all agree that 2 days is too long for Stackoverflows current influx of questions, user base and attention span. Moreso since all of the simple questions have been asked a couple of (hundred) times already; so naturally more diffiult ones should be furthered.

However it's also true that this undermines the asking semantics. If you can offer a bounty right away, then that's like paying for answers. Which is expressly not what SO is for. (And "Like I'd offer 500 rep, if it's answered within next 8h." does not seem to match the intention behind the bounty system.)

As I see it, offering a bounty is for having questions take a time-out from the rapid stream of new ones. You give people an opportunity to spend some quality time with your quality questions.

  • 2 days wait period is too long. Should be adapted.
  • There's not that many opportinities for abuse.
    • You can only have one bounty at any one time regardless.
    • There should be a pause implemented, so people cannot throw one bounty after another.
    • Bounty runtime should stay 2 days minimum (= quality time).
    • And the idea of making it more costly for quickness is sound too.
  • With the difficulty level of some questions it's clear from that start that you never get a good answer from the fast-gunners.
    • Currently planning two questions. And I'm tempted to post them with a disclaimer alike "First answer will not be accepted. Wait for the bounty (+300) period please." anyway.
  • There should be a little more trust with high rep users to use that appropriately.
    • (If not, community and moderators can probably deal with it. I really doubt this change would bring any massive abuse.)

A workaround (and kind of abuse of the system)...

...but let say you take one of the questions you had asked long time before and which got no answers. You edit it completely (change its title, its content and its tags) and offer a bounty on it? Then you might re-post a new question with the content of the replaced question (this way you even gain the bump).

I am not suggesting this way to anyone, just sharing my ideas. Isn't it a loophole?

  • It's not "kind of" abuse of the system, it is absolutely abuse of the system. Any of the community interactions with that question would then essentially have been defrauded from them. Sure they'd have the chance to correct them (rescind votes, rollback edits, etc.), but it's disingenuous. May 13, 2011 at 22:30
  • Very hackish and very abusive, I don't like it at all.
    – vartec
    May 14, 2011 at 12:09

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