Worldbuilding is a unique SE site in that, users often spend as much, if not more time, to craft and moderate questions than answers.
A person that asks the question has to do research, formatting, moderating, answering comments and questions, and editing the question for clarifications.
Making a good, enjoyable, and clear question is difficult, and a lot of work. As a moderately experienced site user, I still have trouble every time I ask and maintain a new question! I'm not sure it's just an experience issue, either, as I've seen many users in the 40-100ks similarly struggling to evolve and maintain their questions.
The part that concerns me about this, however, is not just our moderately experienced users. It is the new users.
I'm not sure if any of you feel the same way, but I feel genuine pain when I see another new hours-old user who has spent hours of hard work researching, calculating, and formatting a question, end up with many downvotes and getting their question closed due to some potentially easy-to-fix mistake such as formatting/editing their question to meet our guidelines. To add salt to the wound, sometimes the answers for those questions are actually frame challenges, and have 3-10x the number of upvotes as the question itself. Ouch.
In these cases, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these new users never ask a question again. In my own case, the only reason I kept writing questions after multiple badly-written closed questions was because of the guidance of a few helpful old-hands of the site (Kudos to you!).
Usually when I see cases like this, and the question is either salvageable, has actually put in effort, or has a fun idea with great potential, I will upvote and leave a comment with the necessary resources to fix their question. Maybe follow it and case a re-open vote once they've fixed it up, but this is the most I can do.
Is there a reason we can't offer up bounties to the question askers, instead of just answers, as a form of encouragement or appreciation?
I feel that something heftier might give some new users the push they need to continue writing excellent questions for our SE. I want to be able to give bounties to users that spend the time and effort to fix their closed or downvoted question. Other times, some questions are inspiring and very crafty, bringing me a lot of enjoyment as well.
I understand if this is something limited by Stackexchange, but for our Worldbuilding SE, where questions often require high maintenance to evolve and keep at a high standard, I feel that bounties for questions might actually make sense.
Relevant topic from Meta with a lot of support:
Some great points from it:
- This feature request should be revisited now that there are a couple of SE sites (Code Golf and Puzzling) where being able to give a bounty to an excellent question would be a nice feature.
- Jaydles acknowledged that on certain sites the questions actually provide more value than the answers
I do agree with the underlying premise here: On many of our smaller sites, good questions are the single most important bottleneck to growing stronger communities. And on a few more specialized sites, like Code Golf, questions actually take more work, and the askers are generating more value for the answerers than vice versa, which is the opposite of the norm.
- So I think that since questions seem to generally get fewer upvotes than answers (as well as those upvotes being worth half as much as answer upvotes), there should be ways to award exemplary questions.
- I think this suggestion might be particularly valuable for recognizing great questions in less-popular niche topics.
- The problem with offering bounties on questions is it doesn't encourage any behavior from other users.
- but it allows a reward for examplary behavior. It provides acknowledgement and attention to exemplary questions, which is currently possible only via question upvotes - a system which is far from thorough. We always want to encourage writing great questions
Another source about the importance of awarding questions similarly to answers: blog post about the change to increase question upvotes from 5 back to the original 10
Particularly interesting points:
When Stack Overflow launched in 2008, we gave equal points to upvotes on answers and questions. Three years later, a decision was made to devalue upvote reputation on questions. The idea was that this change would encourage people to focus on providing good quality answers rather than asking questions.
We can look back on this decision with the benefit of hindsight. This decision may have been the right call then with the information we had at the time, but we have seen the effects it has had on our community. We reward people who give answers at a higher rate than people that ask questions.
As a long time Stack Overflow community member I know, like many of you, that posting a good question is difficult! It requires thoughtfulness and an attention to how to best convey the issue you are having.
We believe that both question askers and answerers are a vital part of our ecosystem. We appreciate how much they have done to make this the largest store of technical Q&A in history, and we want to thank them for every contribution going back to the beginning of the site.