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I think the accepted and most upvoted answer is horribly wrong to a question. The why does not matter now.

The third answer I find really great, and I wanted it to get some attention. So I placed a "bounty to reward existing answer", which had the opposite effect, it generated 4 upvotes for this answer, and about double for the first one. This is the second day of the bounty, and I expect this will be similar for the next 5 days too.

When I finally award the bounty, and it will become visible which one I meant to promote, the question will not be featured any more.
So we can safely say, the bounty completely backfired.

Is there anything I can do differently in the future, so I can really promote the answer I want?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Should it be a [feature-request]? \$\endgroup\$ – András May 28 '18 at 8:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why didn't you use the "comment area" of the bounty to write which answer you meant? \$\endgroup\$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name May 28 '18 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow. That third answer is good. So, I guess—in this case, anyway—mission accomplished? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 28 '18 at 9:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Secespitus, because I am stupid. However, even if I had, it is the tiniest text on the page, and does not even show in the mobile application. I mean something like showing the chosen answer right after the question for the 7 days. \$\endgroup\$ – András May 28 '18 at 9:17
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Microscopic answer: give a bigger bounty.

Obviously this answer ignores a lot of the larger picture here, but I'll say that a 50-pt bounty doesn't do much to draw my eye to the "other" answer needing recognition, especially if it's not identified in the bounty-message.

Throw a couple-hundred rep and name the author, and that says to me "Andras (who's got enough rep around here that I should look where they point) is putting a big sign pointing me here. It'll be worth a minute to see what they've noticed."

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If you are using a bounty, then you're not going to be able to prevent attention on the bad answer(s); that's not what bounties are for. They are designed for the opposite - to draw attention to a question for up to one week. Anyone coming to the question will be able to participate as much as you were; upvoting content that is helpful and high quality, downvoting content that is not, etc. It does not make sense to want to prevent users from participating in the way that you already did on a certain question; we should be careful when talking about user behavior with regard to participation.

As for drawing positive focus and attention to the answer you want, you get to write a custom reason for your bounty. I just did this myself for another question where the accepted answer was flat-out wrong and there were other, better answers with lower scores. I mentioned as much in the bounty text, though I didn't specify exactly which answer I thought was the best one.

On the subject of continued attention where you don't want it because of the bounty's time period... you can manually award a bounty after 24 hours. You don't have to wait the whole 7 days+24 hour grace period. This obviously will end the attention notice to the community for the good answer, but it will also ensure people don't continue seeing the bad answer in the same fashion.

It may seem less than ideal to end the bounty (and the extra community attention) early, but keep in mind that you just gave the post author a total of 60 reputation all by yourself (50 for the bounty plus an assumed 10 for an upvote). That's equivalent to six people coming along and voting up the content, which is a great boon, and not something you can manage by yourself in another way without violating site rules. Even if my answer didn't get upvotes from any other people, I'd always be pleased that someone thought my answer was so good that it was worthy of a bounty, whether it was 50 rep or 500.


Outside the bounty function, the best way to promote an answer is off-site, as there is not really an on-site function to promote specific answers (that's not how the site is designed). There is a built-in way to share content off-site:

Click the Share option below the answer: Share option and related modal

You can either post the link to a social media site like Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ (those are included as one-click options by the mechanism itself), or you can post it to a discussion board somewhere like Reddit. Using the Share link comes with the added bonus of earning you, the sharer, a series of badges - Announcer (bronze at 25 unique visitors), Booster (silver, at 300), and Publicist (gold, at 1000). Note that the only way to earn these badges is to share a question or answer using the URL provided by the Share mechanism, which includes a URI fragment containing your account number in order to link visit credit to a person.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My goal is not to reward the answerer, but to highlight the answer I think is right. If a 50 point bounty actually meant 5 upvotes, I would just bouty him to the first place, but this is not how it works. \$\endgroup\$ – András May 28 '18 at 14:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @András You are not supposed to 'highlight the answer you think is right' on questions where you are not the asker. The only function that does that is the 'accepted answer check mark. The best you can do is upvote helpful (and by extension therefore usually right, but not always) or useful answers, and downvote non-useful answers. You could also leave a comment under the answer you think is not useful or wrong, providing constructive criticism, even pointing to another, better answer (e.g. "this answer has problems X and Y, see answer 2 for a solution without these issues/that address them). \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH May 28 '18 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did that, left a comment pointing to the answer I thought was better. It got deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – András May 28 '18 at 14:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @András It's admittedly not the best way to go about it; comments are ephemeral and every moderator handles them differently. It also probably depends largely on the content of the comment. If you just comment saying "John's answer is better than this one" then yeah, that's delete-worthy without batting an eyelash. However, I'd argue it's worth keeping a comment that points out why an answer is problematic using specific examples, and then as an aside simply mention that there's another answer that explains them away or doesn't have the problem. It's very common to see that on Stack Overflow. \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH May 28 '18 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just went to look at that deleted comment. As feedback: yeah, how it was written did it no favours in trying to avoid deletion after the author declined to make changes. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 28 '18 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie how can I see deleted comments? \$\endgroup\$ – András Jun 10 '18 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András Retrieving deleted comments is a diamond moderator–only privilege. (If there’s ever a comment that you need the content from, you can ask a mod if they’re willing to get it — chat is a good way to ask. Obviously we’ll decline unless there’s a good reason, usually only retrieving the wording of deleted answers in comments.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 10 '18 at 22:59
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I likely regard this site quite a bit differently than most of its members, but personally I would say this question on the meta caught my attention more than any bounty would. In general I don't pay much mind to questions that are not in tags I follow or that don't interest me, regardless of whether there's a bounty on it or not, so a question tagged with "5e" and "weapons" would have never been on my radar in the first place. Even if it was on the front page I would have at most read the name and moved on to reading the names of the rest until something got my attention. Seeing this question in the "Hot Meta Posts" got me to look at the main site question being referenced and the answers that went along with it though. Usually if another question is linked for some reason to one I look at 95% of the time I will look at that one too and its answers.

So, if you ask me I would say that this question was a good way of bringing attention to your preferred answer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While this is a fact, I don't think we should be polluting the meta with an intent like "HEY GUYS CHECK THIS ANSWER WHICH I THINK IS BETTER THAN THE OTHERS" (intentional caps)... So it shouldn't exactly be a suggestion on how to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 11 '18 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint to each their own. It honestly seems like the only sure fire way as far as I can see. Asking about it on the meta may not be the right solution in all instances, but if the chosen answer or majority answers are felt to be "horribly wrong to a question" as András mentioned it seems like a problem worthy of bringing up in a meta question. \$\endgroup\$ – Loki Laufeyson Jun 12 '18 at 5:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hm, fair point on the "horribly wrong answer" (although that's usually not for one user to decide). I've added my comment as a caveat, so people can see the trap in doing that frequently. It should be a solution for very particular cases, imo. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 12 '18 at 5:34

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