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So we currently only have one featured question, but we have more than a thousand positively scored questions with one or zero answers. If you have earned enough reputation to access all the privileges you're interested in, why not look for a question that you think could use more detailed answers, clean it up, and offer a modest bounty on it?

Some of these questions with comments but no answers probably could use attention, and we have new active users that would probably welcome the opportunity to earn a big step toward their next site privilege.

You aren't earning any interest on your reputation just letting it sit there, so why not invest it back into the site?

Just to be perfectly clear, I'm proposing that you look for questions that might benefit from a bounty, and not suggesting that we should offer lots of bounties to bootstrap new users. Our experienced users know which questions involve concepts that are common sources of confusion. When we come across those questions and find they may not have been answered in enough detail and don't have time to write a good answer ourselves, I think a bounty can be appropriate.

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I don't think we should be explicitly encouraging bounties where they are not needed.

A conspicuous absence of bounties may simply mean the community is doing really well in its own right. Question authors are prompted to add a bounty when appropriate, but bounties were not meant as a way to get rid of some excess rep.

Bounties are there to raise exceptional awareness of a question the author is having trouble getting answered (after they put in the effort into getting the question answered themselves). If they don't get a satisfactory answer, the proper course is to improve, clarify, and document your continued efforts first.

But abusing bounties as a form of "free reputation giveaway" has two unfortunate side effects. First, if there was a significant increase in the number of so-called "featured" questions, that would detract from those that actually need it. And second, a glut of bounty-only questions (that don't present a particular challenge warranting their use) can elevate new users into the higher-ranking moderation features — without the actual "experience" to use them properly. That is what the meticulous pacing of reputation-for-upvotes was meant to prevent.

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    If you look at the queries I included in my post, I think you would agree that we have a lot of questions that could use the attention. Part of the reason I made this post was because I think my latest bounty worked really well (ell.stackexchange.com/q/75100) My concern is we have quite a few questions getting asked because even though some might have found a similar question, it wasn't well-answered. – ColleenV Jun 19 '17 at 17:13
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    @ColleenV - I wonder if Robert would have had less objection to your idea had your question title read something more along the lines of: "Found a question that needs a better answer? Why not offer a bounty?" (I think your original title is more eye-catching, but I can see how it could also raise some concerns about some potential "abuse.") – J.R. Jun 19 '17 at 19:06
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    @J.R I see now how that title could be misconstrued, so I've changed it. – ColleenV Jun 19 '17 at 19:44
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Sometimes I think, "This is a great answer. I should award a bounty for it." But when I try to do so, Stack Exchange tells me that the question has not been open long enough. By the time the question is eligible to have bounties awarded, I forget which post I meant to award a bounty.

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    I would like to see bounties used to stimulate answers on older, overlooked questions. Rewarding existing answers is fine, but often when I go to find a duplicate for a question, I'll find 2 or 3 candidates and none of them have a really good answer. – ColleenV Jun 19 '17 at 1:55

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