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Fix the bounty system

My opposition to the bounty system is well-documented (see comments on the related blog entry http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/01/reputation-bounty-for-unanswered-questions/).
It tries to use rep points for what they are NOT: a way to "buy" (or worse "gamble" !?) an answer to old questions.
(see http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/01/reputation-bounty-for-unanswered-questions/#comment-13940)

If you persist and keep this "feature", here are some suggestions to at least make it work not too badly:

1/ No bounty possible for old answers
2/ No auto-select
3/ No 7-day limits except in the "Featured" tab

Still there ? Not declined yet ?
Ok, here are some detailed specs:

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1/ No bounty possible for old answers

That one is obvious: If I gamble a chunk of my hard-gained rep, it is not to select old answers, no matter how much they are upvoted by the community.
Case in point http://stackoverflow.com/questions/415649 : the community was in favor of a "non-answer" (which would have ended-up automatically selected too! The author wake up in time)
If a writer has some new elements which make his answer more adequate, he needs to create a new one before the 7 days Featured period.

So, any edit or any vote (up/down) on an old answer (old = posted before bounty) must be preceded by a red box clearly mentioning:
" Warning: this answer can not be selected for the current bounty.
If you have new elements, make a new answer. "

2/ No auto-select

When you are building a community, you do not want your platform to get in the way between the members of your tribe.
And in this "bounty" case, it does get in the way. In the worst way. By blindly selected the most upvoted answer (2 upvotes or more)

(Go and check out Seith Godin presentation on "how to build a tribe: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2008/11/seth-godin-presentation-how-to-build-a-tribe.html.
...
No seriously, stop reading this uservoice entry and check it out.
...
Done ? Fine. And sin no more ;-) )

Case in point: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/359727#486543

Solution: NAG the user into choosing an answer:

Remind the user (after the 7-day Featured period) he has x bounty that need a selection (new answer or an answer of his own)
Display that reminder in an orange-background message (like "you have a new badge) EVERY REFRESH he makes.
That message will have a "Remind me later" button postponning this reminder for 24h.
After 24h, resume the nagging.

3/ No 7-day limits except in the "Featured" tab

SO is so not ebay! You cannot expect your user to dramatically reorganize their life because in, say" 32 minutes" a bounty will expire.
When the 7-day is up, the question is removed from the Featured tab, the nagging of the user begin.
Any mention of bounty disappear of the question (except for the author: he still see he has a bounty to resolve) and any new answer posted after the bounty period can not be selected by the author, EXCEPT if he writes himself an answer.
That is needed when, after 7 or more days (basically when he returns, i.e. when he WANTS, and not when the "system" tells him to do), he realizes no answers (published during the period) is valid: he can write an answer of his own and select it.

To fear a gaming consisting, for the author, to copy the vest answer and publish it himself is moot: the author would gain no rep and the writer would easily see the "abnormal" bounty selection and would be able to react to it (comment or uservoice entry).
Since the author has already committed his rep points from the beginning, it is easier for him to choose the correct answer if it exists.

Note: those suggestions are not there to prevent every gaming scenario detailed in the comment of the blog mentioned above.

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There. You can decline it, but at least I will not have just "opposed" the bounty but I will have tried to be constructive in my opposition.

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    voncvonc shared this idea  ·   ·  Admin →
    declined  ·  codinghorrorcodinghorror responded  · 

    a) bounty is not awarded to answers with a score below 2, b) without auto-select the system can be gamed HARD, c) we believe 7 days is plenty to get a good answer. Reminders are possible, eventually.

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      • voncvonc commented  · 

        @Sam: "and the question poster then posting a bounty specifically to reward that answer.": easy: the writer of the old answer publish -- during the "Featured period" -- a NEW answer, which is an updated version of the old one. That new answer get selected.

      • Sam HaslerSam Hasler commented  · 

        I'm not sure I agree with not allowing old answers to receive bounties manually (I can understand why default selection is bad).

        I can imagine a scenario where someone posts an amazing answer to a question that doesn't have a bounty, and the question poster then posting a bounty specifically to reward that answer.

      • Sam HaslerSam Hasler commented  · 

        I wondered about disallowing selecting answers posted after the bounty period ended, but I realised if the question didn't appear to have a bounty for other users, then anyone posting a question without a bounty could state that they still had an outstanding bounty when they didn't.

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