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In the past we have had meta questions for the purpose of celebrating and rewarding some of our best answers:

Due to chat discussions we decided that it's better to do these things annually than quarterly. Then we seem to have forgotten to do anything for 2019 — probably in part due to the chaotic nature of the end of that year on SE — and we're now thinking of doing one for 2020 and probably also 2019.

Two questions:

  1. In general, do you want to have these annual award ceremonies?

    Anyone is free to give bounties at any time, but I still think this kind of celebration has its place. But these events are not for me or for moderators, but for all users, so we'd like to hear what you think.

  2. In particular, how do you want 2019 and 2020 to be covered?

    They could go in a single question or two separate ones. If separate, they can be held in parallel or sequentially. If we have the 2019 one now and the 2020 one or two months later, the events should be clearly distinct.

Any ideas for implementation are also welcome, but I think the past ones have worked well enough: There is about a month for nominating and voting, and then the situation will be locked and the top answers rewarded. The bounties are kept alive for about a week to give them more visibility.

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In general, do you want to have these annual award ceremonies?

In my opinion, yes, and for two reasons:

  1. Rewards can help incentivize good answers.
  2. The ceremony will help surface a particularly helpful answer to even more people, potentially.

In particular, how do you want 2019 and 2020 to be covered?

My preference is for both years to be held sequentially, that way each year is given undivided and equal attention.

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  • As the new answer points out, I'm not sure whether these rewards incentivize good answers. The delay is long and not many people think of this when answering. I think a more likely helpful mechanism is that rewarding people for past contributions makes them happier to continue forward. At least I know recognition makes me feel better and more willing to carry on.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Feb 7 at 16:02
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To take the opposite position, no.

  1. There is no evidence that these rewards incentivize good answers. That's speculation.

  2. Answers should be rewarded organically. Moreover, we're not really highlighting all good answers that deserve extra attention, but only an arbitrary number of them. This is interference in the natural up and down vote system that StackExchange promotes.

  3. Rewards are already given by those with points to spare in the form of bounties, which are quite often posted after an answer is given.

  4. It's a big affair and there doesn't seem to be too much enthusiasm for them. Besides, this is still a very small site, and so there's no real danger in otherwise good answers becoming obscured by too much activity.

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  • 1. I agree. I think the benefit is more about users getting recognition in general, and that may encourage them to keep on contributing. 2. Yes, organic rewarding must be the main mechanism. The reward events would only be a small supplement to that. The events can remind people that bounties exist and can be a way to look back together. 3. True, but there could be more. 4. It's true that anyone following the site regularly rarely misses a great post. It's more about being reminded of them later. If we try twice this year, we'll see if enthusiasm has grown since last time.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Feb 7 at 16:11
  • Rather than "rewarding" the best answers for a year, maybe it would be more useful to simply highlight answers with the most votes (or some other criteria). Sometimes revisiting something I've read before will prompt a different question, or even a new or edited answer.
    – Adam
    Feb 7 at 16:31
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    @Adam I'd almost want to take the opposite route - highlighting questions that need answers, that somehow got missed.
    – cmw Mod
    Feb 7 at 18:32
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    @C.M.Weimer I like that idea a lot! My suggestion would be to have a meta post where people can suggest questions without an accepted answer that need an answer. Then anyone can pick questions from there and start a bounty, and I can easily promise to start at least one bounty through that list per year. That could be a running thing rather than an annual event. How does this sound to you?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Feb 7 at 20:02
  • Oh, I like that idea. Great idea, @C.M.Weimer!
    – Adam
    Feb 7 at 22:01
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    Suggestion: We'll first do "best of 2019", then "questions in need of a bounty", then "best of 2020". Each can be featured for one month on meta. The "best of" ones would be temporary events, the newer type would be the launch of something more permanent. After those three or so months we'd know much better how users feel and revisit the discussion based on that. (@Adam quoque)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Feb 8 at 7:45
  • That seems a fair approach to me.
    – Adam
    Feb 8 at 22:46

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