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Setting a bounty on a question should (at least in theory) guarantee it gets more attention. This is evidenced by the fact that one of the possible reasons on the list offered when you're setting it is This question has not received enough attention.

Now, I'm wondering really if bounty, presented as it is, is really working to this end. I'm wondering about this because I often see a lot of questions with an open bounty which (apparently) receive as much views as any other question.

This post pretends to open discussion about this issue; I know I'm not offering hard evidence that bounty "just isn't guaranteeing more exposure", and I'm not presenting any solution either, but I want to know if it's just my perception, or not; and in case the concern is shared, hopefully other (more creative) users may offer solutions.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think bounties work. Except in the case of more or less work-intensive questions that require laborious answers, I think that most people who can answer a question will answer it independently of bounties—and if a question is really hard then bounties do nothing useful for them (a question may be hard mathematically so that no one knows the answer, or it may be hard in that you need lots of knowledge to know its answer: in the second case, I am pretty sure that essentially anyone who knows the answer will answer bounty or no bounty, and in the first case $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Mar 17 '12 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ a bounty is powerless) $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Mar 17 '12 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ @MarianoSuárez-Alvarez: I don't think that is entirely true. From my own experience, I remember two nice analytic number theory questions that required answers which were tricky to explain, and I thought I might come back to them in a few days or so. They had already been sitting for a while, so I might of come back in a few more days, noone else seemed to be posting. The subsequent posting of the bounty told me the OP was still actively looking for a solution, so I wrote up my answer a bit faster. $\endgroup$ – Eric Naslund Mar 17 '12 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ Also, from the perspective of an asker, I have found bounties quite useful. Specifically, I don't think this question would of been answered without the bounty. In fact, that exact question had already been asked, (in a different form) without receiving any answers (except my own) and I had reposted it more precisely because I wanted to know the solution. $\endgroup$ – Eric Naslund Mar 17 '12 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ If I hadn't offered a bounty on two of my questions, I'm quite sure I wouldn't have received any answers. I received good answers to both around the expiration dates of the bounties. $\endgroup$ – user23211 Mar 21 '12 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ If you put a bounty on a question then it appears on the short list of "featured questions", which is just one easy click away from the main page. If you don't, and it doesn't get immediate attention, then quite likely it will just drop off the bottom of the main page never to be seen again. Several of my recent answers were to questions which I would never have been aware of if they didn't have a bounty. That said, I'm not sure if the size of the bounty matters much. $\endgroup$ – George Lowther Apr 1 '12 at 14:35

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