I recently set a bounty on this MSE question

Is there an internally consistent nearest-neighbor relation in this complete linearization of the 240 roots of $E_8$?

and for "reason", I specified "canonical answer needed".

I did so, because if the question can be answered non-negatively, then my team needs to be able to say that the desired nearest-neighbor relation has been defined by someone whose background qualifies his or her answer as "authoritative".

Is this a correct use of the "canonical answer needed" reason? If not, please explain why and please explain how I (or someone with more privs) can change the bounty "reason" here.

Thanks as always for your patience.

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    $\begingroup$ There is a box to add custom text explaining the reason for the bounty. I'd suspect you'll need moderator intervention if you want to add that after posting the bounty, but you are the original author of the post, so it makes sense to add your concerns about the kind of answer desired to the upper part of the Question's body. My interpretation of the "canonical answer needed" reason is probably a bit different than what you outline, but it is a reasonable "reason" to choose. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Dec 26 '17 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath - thanks very much for taking the time to respond - yes - I did put custom text iin that box ... very helpful and useful - good feature . . . $\endgroup$ – David Halitsky Dec 26 '17 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking for a canonical definition for what is a canonical answer? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 27 '17 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila - that's funny! Good one $\endgroup$ – David Halitsky Dec 27 '17 at 8:16

The explanation for what the global StackExchange "bounty reasons" are goes back six years to this StackOverflow blog by Jeff Atwood, "Bounty Reasons and Post Notices".

Looking only at the Question above on Meta, you write:

I specified "canonical answer needed"... because if the question can be answered non-negatively, then my team needs to be able to say that the desired nearest-neighbor relation has been defined by someone whose background qualifies his or her answer as "authoritative".

Based on that phrasing I would likely have chosen Authoritative reference needed ("Looking for an answer drawing from credible and/or official sources."), rather than Canonical answer required ("The question is widely applicable to a large audience. A detailed canonical answer is required to address all the concerns.").

As a practical matter these phrases both make clear that you want to reward new Answers, rather than to Reward existing answer, but since there are no existing answers, that point is implicitly clear. When no answers are yet given, Draw attention seems especially apt.

Looking beyond the "bounty reason", into the post on Main, the clarification of "internally consistent" in terms of exact counts of neighbor-distances is welcome. An interested Reader would still have some work to do to reconstruct the rationale for those counts, but it would be motivated by the linked previous Question.

Generally I'd recommend further clarification, esp. of the notion of "nearest neighbor" as it connects to the Hamming code analogy. The more accessible the Question becomes, the more likely a Reader will be able to respond quickly and cogently.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you again for taking the time to respond. The reason I didn't give further clarification re "nearest-neighbor" is because I felt that anyone who could think of a correct answer (even if this answer is "not possible") would be so familiar with the area that he or she would not need such clarification. Perhaps I was wrong here . . . $\endgroup$ – David Halitsky Dec 27 '17 at 8:41

It seems alright to me. Although the main use-case for canonical answer is to consolidate and summarize existing answers.

You could also have selected just "draw attention" which is somewhat of a catch-all and explain details in the bounty message (as you did).

But it is not an important distinction. As mentioned in a comment the main way to convey what you want is the editable message.

One cannot change the bounty reason.

In extreme cases, moderators can cancel the bounty altogether, and the user could start over anew. In such a case a moderator-attention flag would be the right way to get a moderators attention.

I reiterate that this is for extreme cases. We have not intention to tinker around with bounties.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for taking the time to respond - glad you think it's OK - I wanted to double-check because I didn't want to check a reason that was really supposed to be only used by pro's who are seeking to establish some new result in the "canon" (as this term is generally used) ... $\endgroup$ – David Halitsky Dec 26 '17 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ You are welcome. I added an explanation for what the canonical answer is about. The main idea is to summarize and complement existing answers. Say, there are already a couple partial answers and remarks, but no one took the time to write down one complete answer. To get such an answer would be a main use case. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 26 '17 at 16:58

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