I'd like to propose a modification to the rules for awarding a bounty on Cross Validated. A couple of times, including this recent one, I have provided a legitimate answer to a question, been the only poster to try, did not receive the required 2 up-votes for automatic award, and was not awarded the bounty. My guess is that the original poster did not return to cross validated during the period after the bounty closed due to the lack of a comment from them, but I have no other direct evidence to support that.
Here is the relevant section of the current rule:
If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with a minimum score of 2 will be awarded half the bounty amount (or the full amount, if the answer is also accepted). If two or more eligible answers have the same score (their scores are tied), the oldest answer is chosen. If there's no answer meeting those criteria, no bounty is awarded to anyone.
If the bounty was started by the question owner, and the question owner accepts an answer posted during the bounty period, and the bounty expires without an explicit award then we assume the bounty owner liked the answer they accepted and award it the full bounty amount at the time of bounty expiration.
I think there is good reason for the two vote rule because we generally don't want lower quality answers getting the bounty. However, if only one person decides to take their time to answer the question, and the original poster does not take any action, then I would award the bounty down to zero votes. Sometimes people ask very specific questions where most viewers don't feel like they have the knowledge to upvote an answer (although I'm not sure that was the case in this example, in others, it might have been). The person who provided the answer should not be penalized because of the poster's inattentiveness.
Here is my proposed amendment which I feel encourages people to attempt an answer at sometimes difficult questions:
If there is only one post to the question during the bounty period and the bounty is not manually award, then the bounty will be awarded to the only post.
- Are there any other disadvantages to this rule?
- Are there any other proposals to address this problem?
- Does someone have data on how many bounties are not awarded each year?
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