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My SR question about configurable VPNs did not have much response over 8 months, so I added a hefty bounty to attract attention, which it did.

None of them was an obvious best, but most of them seemed to provide pretty good feedback.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough time in the bounty window to actually evaluate the answers by trying them, especially as some of the answers arrive late in the window. The bounty period expired and I had to award it, so I used my best intuition and chose one.

But that award comes just from guessing. I don't know which answer is the right or best one. Nor do I feel that my awarding the bounty should be interpreted as a "this OP recommends this answer" but a big bounty awarded is surely interpreted that way by other readers.

That seems pretty unsatisfying. The respondents all did well, and I would liked to have distributed the bounty across the answers but there seems to be no way to do that.

I suspect that SR answers must often be in this category: interesting "recommendations", not enough time to evaluate which is best if a bounty is awarded.

Feature request: enable OPs to split a bounty across multiple answers.
For reference: the same request on the main meta, which was declined. The discussion there revolves around the notion that the bounty should be awarded to the obviously best one answer. My point here is that there is not yet such an obviously best answer, making the premise leading to the conclusion false IMHO

Feature request: enable OPs to move an awarded bounty, when a particular answer has had time to be evaluated as "best".

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As a community manager at Stack Exchange, it's not really my position to accept or reject individual feature-requests, but I can speak to why some of these features work the way they do.

When you think about the "reputation system" as a metaphor for "rewards and recognition", an author is primarily "compensated" for their post by the up-votes they receive from the community. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, you feel like your question just hasn't received the answers it deserves. That's where the bounty system comes in.

The bounty system is a high-risk, high-reward system used to call out certain questions you feel need that extra bit of attention. You can't simply 'feature' everything you want answered, so bounties are for those rare occasions when you feel it apt to lice off (non-refundable) piece of your own reputation to grant it to the answer of your choosing.

For the users who participate in this high-payout system, they are working under that high-risk, high reward expectation — i.e. if you are selected, you win the big prize. If you chose, instead, to divvy up the rewards based on people's participation, that's not really a bounty system at all. Bounties are for {x} "dollars", not a portion of the total payout based on your your contribution (that's more like how the voting system works).

I understand that you want to be fair to everyone who helped contribute to the ultimate answer. But I don't think we're likely to conflate the two features of "voting" and "bounty" in the way that you propose.

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    Thanks for the background. I understood all that before I issued the bounty. In any case, I have made the request. I agree, let it stand on its merits; that the purpose of meta. I wasn't expecting instant acquiescence. – Ira Baxter Nov 18 '14 at 16:00

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