In the bounty regulations, I am missing regulations which say when a bounty can be awarded at the earliest. It seems natural to me (and in the interest of the person placing the bounty, who wants the best possible answer) that no bounties should be awarded before the bounty period (7 days) is over. Like in any other public call for bids, deadlines are set and you cannot award prematurely.

It is also fair to people who are working on solutions to give them the full bounty period to present their solutions. Clearly, credit is given to the first, i.e. if a person has already presented an answer and a later person had the same or similar ideas, then he/she cannot copy them and have to quote earlier answers if relying on these ideas. The usual academic procedure.

However, bounties happen to be awarded prematurely which is certainly demotivating for people still working on the problem.

Reasoning as laid out above, I suggest to include as an additional rule that no bounties shall be awarded before the bounty period is over.



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    $\begingroup$ One of possible uses of bounties is to reward already existing answer. At least for this type of bounties the rule enforcing to wait 7 days does not seem reasonable. In fact, there are several posts on meta.SE regarding 24 hours waiting period for this specific type of bounties. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 17 '16 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak : Concerning already existing answers, a waiting time is counterproductive. But this line of argument is rather distracting, as I am adressing here the normal use of a bounty being offered before answers approach. The quote here makes that point clear: "I think the confusion must come from the word "bounty", which normally has a connotation of being offered before an event. This particular "bounty" is the opposite -- it's a bonus offered after the fact." $\endgroup$ – Andreas Sep 17 '16 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ I consider the use of bounty to reward an existing answer normal. And clearly so does SE software, since when you are offering a bounty, you have to choose one of several reasons and this is one of them. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 17 '16 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ I guess that if you propose this change, you should also propose to make longer grace period. Otherwise this would leave only 24 hours window in which bounty can be awarded. Not everybody visits the site every day. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 17 '16 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak sure the use of bounty to reward an existing answer is also normal. But it's got another quality to it than promoting questions that have found no (acceptable) answer yet. Both uses may require different handling. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Sep 17 '16 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Good point. I'm quite happy with extending the grace period. Actually this shouldn't any more be called grace period then, but "awarding period" since this is the time you have after the seven days have elapsed and before you must award. In the OP's own interest, he/she should mark that award period in their timetable if they don't want to see the automatic award procedure take over. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Sep 17 '16 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ This turns the notion of the award period around backwards, as you seem to realize in your latest comment. The proposal that the period now allotted for awarding a bounty should be recast as a period in which the bounty cannot be awarded seems neither "natural" nor "in the interest of the person placing the bounty". $\endgroup$ – hardmath Sep 17 '16 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ I concur with this suggestion. When I have awarded a couple of bounties in the past, I waited a while before doing so for these very reasons. $\endgroup$ – Myridium Sep 17 '16 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @hardmath Nice playing with words. However I guess the proposal is quite clear, as are the reasons. I just added, folllowing Martin's suggestion, that the actual time for awarding should be extended. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Sep 17 '16 at 21:19

In the bounty regulations, I am missing regulations which say when a bounty can be awarded at the earliest.

It is a bit down the page but it is there: "Bounties must have a minimum duration of at least 1 day."

I find this sufficiently long. I'd agree that having no limit at all could be unfortunate.

One might think this is too short, but then there are various trade-offs. For example, why would one want to continue to keep a question prominently visible and indirectly distracting attention from other questions when the person that gave it that visibility initially is of the opinion that extra visibility served its purpose to their full satisfaction.

  • $\begingroup$ I see bounties as "call for bids" and I propose to promote questions that have found no (acceptable) answer yet by another reward procedure. Other people have agreed. However, of now bounties serve both purposes. Further, others want a competition aspect in bounties, which (by the "danger" of the award going early to someone else) pushes users to come up with solutions quickly. The arguments by @quid call for stop pulling attention to a question which is answered to the satisfaction of the OP. With this melange of requirements imposed on bounties, the status quo is a compromise: accepted. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Oct 4 '16 at 17:39

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