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I realize many time that some users on MSE who to get there question to be solve with high quality answer award the question with a suitable bounty.

But unfairly they either forgot the come back or decide not to award the promised to somebody who has spend his/her time solving the question.

Yes!!! sometime it that none of the provided answers are satisfactory. But I experienced myself many situation where there is at least one good answer. But the owner of the answer did not get the bounty.

I would like know to if in such situation, the SYSTEM should somehow allows many moderators (up to 5) or one EXPERT(for the matter at hand) moderator to decide to whom to give to one user who has answered correctly the question.

For me it is unfair to spend more time answering a question expecting a prize but at the end of the day no body get it although there is a correct answer.

Many time I recall to some user that: they cannot get there bounties reimburse even if they do not give it to somebody. In most of the this is source of the problem.

What do you think we can do to solve such problem? Thank for your proposal

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    $\begingroup$ No. Moderators have a lot of powers, but let's not push it. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 1 '17 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Yes I understand . But they are the most trusted users right? the system should tried to overcome such issue via moderators votes or??? $\endgroup$ – Guy Fsone Dec 1 '17 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ They were trusted by the community on moderation issues. Moderation does not include mathematical quality assurances, which is the alleged-reason to set a bounty (to try and attract [better] quality answers, or reward existing ones). So this is pretty far out of the domain in which I trust the moderators. And I don't think they want to have this responsibility on their hands either. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 1 '17 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ The system awards bounties if the user doesn't award it, in case it was posted by someone other then the OP, it has a score of $+2$ or bigger, posted after the bounty started. It rarely happens that neither the OP awards the bounty nor the system awards it automatically. $\endgroup$ – kingW3 Dec 1 '17 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila you ''attract [better] quality answers'' and after having it . what happen if you don't give it somebody?. That is my point? people have spend they time for that. I don't don't say Moderators should do that on arbitrary posts but only where bounties were promised. $\endgroup$ – Guy Fsone Dec 1 '17 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ Either the system awards it automatically, or the bounty dissolves because "there were no new answers of sufficient quality". $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 1 '17 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @kingW3 I have one post where have score +2 and a bounty was promised but the OP did not manifest himself since ... I also have one where the OP though he would have got back his reputation. nobody never got that bounty. $\endgroup$ – Guy Fsone Dec 1 '17 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila How does the system proceed to awards it automatically. I would like to know. Because i don't think the system knows the correct answer.. $\endgroup$ – Guy Fsone Dec 1 '17 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ You've left no link to the case at hand (the one you refer to in the comments), so how can we or any mod check. If you don't understand why you weren't awarded any bounty on the question you refer to, then flag it, so a moderator can deal with it. This post is expecting a moderator to do something; start first with a flag. Don't clog meta to request only moderator action. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Dec 1 '17 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ "For me it is unfair to spend more time answering a question expecting a prize but at the end of the day no body get it although there is a correct answer." No one forced you to spend any time you spent. Also, you may be overestimating the quality of an answer you posted. And in any case, re-read @kingW3's post to you. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Dec 1 '17 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy thanks ${}{}{}$ $\endgroup$ – Guy Fsone Dec 1 '17 at 19:03
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When a bounty is not manually awarded, the system will automatically award it to the [earliest] highest-scored answer that was posted within the bounty period. But an automatic award is only half of the amount (which makes the only way to win bounties of odd multiple of 25 number of points).

But only answers with score +2 or higher are counted, because the rationale (I have, anyway) is that there should be at least two people thinking the answer has some qualities to it (or two more than those thinking it's a bad answer).


Ultimately, however, the bounty can be given to any arbitrary answer if the bounty owner wishes to do so, including answers which are spam or pure crap. Of course, these answers will be deleted quickly enough, making the bounty useless.

But since the owner of the bounty can choose to spend their bounty as they wish, there is no reason the system should "know what is the best answer" either.


Now, as for the moderators, they do have the power to cancel the bounty and refund it, but this is done in extreme cases only (e.g. if a users uses the bounty to prevent the question from being closed).

I do not think the moderators should, or even want, to get themselves involved in choosing a mathematically correct answer. If on the current team there are no set theorist moderator, how would any of them know what answer to award a "lost bounty" in set theory?

Would you let them delegate this result to me? Or some other highly voted user in the tags of set theory? If so, why not let me do it in the first place, why involve the moderators? Why not directly let the gold badge holders have a say about bounties?

There are three [valid], not mutually exclusive, reasons to put a bounty on a question:

  1. Exposure. You're paying your best reputation points to make it more visible. Like a commercial.

  2. Reward existing answers. You want to point at some answer and say, "this answer is fantastic and if I could vote it 10 times, I would. But here is a +100 bounty which is equivalent to voting it 10 times".

  3. Attract new answers, and hopefully quality ones.

Of course, by getting more exposure, you also hope that good existing answers get more votes, and new good answers are added. This is an example of the three things working in unison.

The point is, that even if the bounty is not awarded to anyone, or awarded to "the wrong answer", the system is working fine.

So yeah, I don't think the moderators should have any say about who gets the bounty, with or without the presence of the bounty owner. It's simply out of their jurisdiction, and it should remain like that.

The only exception is when there is foul play in the reason for setting a bounty or the choice of the bounty winner (e.g. reputation laundering, and yes that happened before on the site), when I want the moderators to get involved.

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