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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 have seen this question with an open bounty which (apparently) is receiving as much views as any other question on the home page now.

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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    Well, how many views did it get before bounty? – simchona Jan 23 '13 at 22:53
  • I don't understand what this question is getting at. My guess is the proton/photon question has probably already garnered more attention than it might otherwise have done, purely because those two words in the title are an attractant for technologically-oriented users across the whole of Stack Exchange. It doesn't interest me much though (probably because I don't understand that question any more than I understand *this one! :) – FumbleFingers Jan 23 '13 at 23:24
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    this sounds like a question for meta.stackoverflow.com You should post/migrate it there (there's nothing particular about bounty to ELU). – Mitch Jan 24 '13 at 1:07
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    @Mitch I was told when I asked other mods (not just ELU) that this belongs on our own meta, rather than MSO – simchona Jan 24 '13 at 3:07
  • @simchona ‪‪‪‪137 – tchrist Jan 24 '13 at 5:04
  • @Shog9♦: Why should this question not be tagged discussion? – FumbleFingers Jan 24 '13 at 5:07
  • Could go either way, @Fumble - I was editing primarily to add [bounty], and flipped it to [support] since I think Carlo's confused about what a bounty actually promises. If you have something to discuss, flip it back. – Shog9 Jan 24 '13 at 5:14
  • @Shog9♦: I cannot tell a lie. I have nothing to add to your excellent answer. Except that maybe we shouldn't noise the "meaninglessness" of rep points too much (besides, they're not meaningless if you need them to obtain privileges that you want to use). But Carlo himself said the question pretends to open discussion (I imagine he means intends), so I'm supposing he wants discussion. But as I don't properly understand his issue, nor care much about bounty, I'm not really engaged with with it. – FumbleFingers Jan 24 '13 at 5:43
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Bounties last for a week. In this case (as at the time of writing) the question has been open eight days and the bounty expires in three days. Thus the bounty was awarded four days ago, which is half the life of the question.

According to the question's author there were 137 views in the first four days, and it's now 391 — an extra 254. Thus there appear to have been around twice the number of views with the bounty as without. [That analysis is very crude, but the figures are so markedly different that finesse is not really needed.]

Given that without the bounty the question's view rate would diminish as it slipped down the lists with age, it would appear the bounty is working as intended.

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This is like asking if putting a classified ad in the paper is guaranteed to sell your old lawnmower.

Of course there's no guarantee. You pays your meaningless rep points and you takes your chances.

The question you bounty gets bumped to the front page, gets a place on the short list of "featured" questions (and gets moved higher and higher on that list as the days progress), gets a big honkin' banner displaying whatever text you feel like putting on it, and get to prance around like a Roman Emperor as folks grovel before you their arms outstretched awaiting your award.

But if the question sucks, or if everyone has already seen it as much as they care to, or both, then it's not gonna do much.

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