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The question Win Server 2008 RDP Attack caught my eye as I was going through the bounty questions. To me it is clearly off topic, so I voted to close it as such... only to be told by the system that I couldn't:

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To me this is a bug. If the question is migrated then the bounty can go with it. If it is closed then the bounty doesn't matter - the OP has already had it deducted (I wouldn't even care if they got it refunded). But when a question is off topic (or closeable for another reason) then placing a bounty on it shouldn't make it immune from the correct actions of the community.

Edit:

I've since flagged the question for mod attention. I think there is the possibility to change the flow for this, so that OT/NARQ questions can still be close voted and don't get the bounty refunded, but maybe the other close reasons are either disabled or the bounty poster gets a refund (as they can be either purely accidental (Exact Duplicate) or arguably more subjective (Not Constructive / Too Localized)). Or maybe I'm just over-thinking this and the bounty should get auto refunded.

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I believe moderator can still close it, did you try flagging the question? –  Shadow Wizard Jul 18 '12 at 8:16
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@sha mods can refund the bounty and then close it. –  Manishearth Jul 18 '12 at 8:18
    
@man fair enough. Anyway looks like by design to me. –  Shadow Wizard Jul 18 '12 at 8:22
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@ShaWizDowArd That is certainly an option, but the community shouldn't be prevented from doing it. I would also argue that if it is closed (rather than migrated) then whoever posts the bounty shouldn't get it back - it's like a penalty for those who promote bad questions. –  slugster Jul 18 '12 at 8:26
    
@sha oh, it is by design, we know that (otherwise why would there be a custom popup for it?). The question is, why. –  Manishearth Jul 18 '12 at 8:27
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@Man valid reason can be that member with more than 100 reputation thinks the question is good enough to be worth his precious reputation so it's not likely to be low quality. In the rare cases where it's still need to be closed, flag is a fast way. –  Shadow Wizard Jul 18 '12 at 8:30
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@slugster people not always do it on purpose - they simply don't know or don't understand their question is off topic so no need to punish them. Also, bounty can be placed only after 2 days which are more than enough time to close questions.. –  Shadow Wizard Jul 18 '12 at 8:32
    
Bounty migration looks like a bad idea to me. SO rep is far easier to amass than rep on most other websites. –  CodesInChaos Jul 18 '12 at 8:45
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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Refunding a bounty is problematic, closing a question without refunding a bounty is also very problematic. Any mechanism that would allow to refund bounties by actions the community can take is prone to being abused.

If a question that should be closed receives a bounty, it means the moderation has failed already. The question was then open for at least 2 days, in which it should have been closed. For this reason this situation is relatively rare, most questions are closed earlier.

Diamond moderators can refund bounties, which enables them to close bad questions that somehow survived long enough to get a bounty on them. So there is a mechanism to deal with this, which I consider sufficient.

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Amen to The question was then open for at least 2 days, in which it should have been closed.. –  Matt Jul 18 '12 at 8:50
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The that something "should have" been done isn't that relevant. It wasn't done, and now there is a situation to discuss. You might propose as an argument that this will not happen often because of something like "it should have been closed, so normally it would have been closed", but the fact alone is not really an argument, or so is my opinion... –  Nanne Jul 18 '12 at 9:25
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@Nanne That it happens only rarely means that the diamond moderators can handle it, there is no need for other options. –  Mad Scientist Jul 18 '12 at 9:53
    
Yes, I tried to agree with you on that point, but reading back it sounds like a discussionpoint or something, my bad. What I was trying to say is that it although it might be an actual oversight, it is one that shouldn't come up early... anyway, I'm trying agian to reword but it's not wrking. lets just say I agree, especially with the second paragraph :) –  Nanne Jul 18 '12 at 10:03
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This is and documented on the bounty FAQ.

Note that you cannot migrate a bounty on a question if the user doesn't exist on the target site, or has too little reputation there to cover the bounty. Reputation should be subtracted on the site where the question resides and bounty is awarded.

As such, edge cases like how to handle bounties on migration means that bountied questions require moderator intervention. Mods can refund a bounty, just flag the question for attention and they'll review the case.

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indeed. also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/14591/… :D –  Nanne Jul 18 '12 at 9:26
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I don't see the real need for this feature, but I think it's as follows: Closure is subjective (and also can be wrong). The bounty allows one to preserve a question that is in the grey area of SE-appropriate (i.e, it can be both closeworthy and not closeworthy, depending on the user--and noth will be correct).

Of course, if the question isn't such a "Schrodinger question" (i.e, is obviously OT/NC/NARQ/etc), then the bounty must be refunded. Mods can refund active bounties (awarded/expired bounties need dev magic), and then close the question. Use a custom flag, letting the mod know why you think that the question should be closed and unbountied.

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