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Thrice recently I've placed a bounty on an old question (1, 2, 3). My intent in each case was simply to reward an existing answer, and I indicated such in my bounty notice.

I feel like these bounties are attracting some fairly low-quality new answers, down in the twelfth, fifteenth, even twentieth slots. Is this a problem? Should I refrain from using bounties in this manner? Is there a better way?

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Bounties always draw attention to a question, it's just part of the bounty effect. They encourage new attention no matter what because it gets highlighted for a while. That means new answers, but it also means people voting to moderate those new answers. Bad new answers will get downvoted like usual, good ones will get upvoted.

To answer your questions:

  • It's not a problem. We're here to moderate the new posts like usual.
  • Go ahead and keep using bounties in that manner. They're intended to be used that way.
  • Relax, get someone to give you a shoulder massage if you need it.

I've placed a lot of bounties (31 on this site to date) and in general I've noticed:

  • There's going to be lots of new voting.
  • Questions with like 1-3 answers tops will get maybe one or two more.
  • Questions with lots of answers will get several more, but that's just because it seems really answerable for whatever reason.
  • Nothing burns down and everyone survives.
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for shoulder rubs; always good advice but not suggested often enough. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 17 '16 at 4:08

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