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The current handling of bounties when questions are migrated is somewhat inconsistent and incoherent.

Active bounties are refunded to the asker prior to the question moving,[1][2][3] which seems fine and good.

Already awarded bounties are not handled as consistently, and bountiers complain about it on meta:

  • In this recent case, the points were simply disappeared, gone from both the offerer and the earner on both the source and destination site.

  • In this earlier case, the bounty was initially deducted from the earner and refunded to the offerer, but then a mod stepped in to restore the bounty as previously offered and earned.

This is only going to come up more often as the SE network expands, especially as the new /review system facilitates migrating old flagged questions which would otherwise have just lingered.

How should previously awarded bounties be handled during migration?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, ProgramFOX, michaelb958, Martijn Pieters, Joe Apr 18 '14 at 18:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

For the sake of counterpoint, I offer the following proposal:

Bounties should not be migrated.

Why? One of the fundamental issues lies with reputation. I understand the reputation generated from accepting answers is migrated with the Q/A pair. However, that reputation is generated. As in, it comes from the ether. Bounty rep, on the other hand, originates from the user who placed the bounty.

If we migrate bounty rep, how do we handle that? Does the bounty maker lose reputation on their account on the target migration site? What if that user doesn't have an account on the target site? Perhaps, it could be argued, that once the user creates an account on the target site, their rep should be recalculated. But what if the bounty was worth 100+ reputation? Linking an account grants 100 reputation on the target account. Would the new account go down to 1 reputation because of a re-calc?

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Losing rep when the account is associated isn't a problem unique to bounties. If an answer of mine with 10 downvotes is migrated to another site, I would expect to lose 20 points initially when I make and associate an account there. Should bounties be handled differently than that? – blahdiblah Jul 18 '12 at 21:53
The thing is, that answer has 10 downvotes, something that's fairly uncommon from my experience, and it's still not more than 50 reputation. This is a problem of magnitude and, outside of questions/answers with wild amount of (un)popularity, bounties generally have a larger "spike" of reputation gain or loss. – Yawus Jul 19 '12 at 12:42
If the magnitude is important, then shouldn't the point transfer be done in those terms? Something like: "Up to -25 points are transferred when a question's migrated, regardless of the source of the point loss." While highly downvoted content is unusual, it's not as if it don't exist. – blahdiblah Jul 19 '12 at 17:13

Let me just put this here to allow for feedback on this possibility independent of the question's merits.

Bounties should be migrated along with the question.

Votes and acceptance are migrated, why wouldn't bounties be? Not migrating bounties robs future visitors of the information that someone thought the answer was worth extra points. Bounty offerers are also obviously bothered if bounty points simply disappear as evidenced by the referenced meta postings.

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Problem is, the awarded user might not exist on the destination site (or exist there, but his profiles may not be linked). Ideally, in this situation, the bounty should remain on the source site, but there is no question there to support it anymore. – Frédéric Hamidi Jul 18 '12 at 19:42
Is that any different than the situation with votes and accepted answer &c? Those are also moved from the source to the destination site, and it doesn't seem to be a problem. What's different about bounties? – blahdiblah Jul 18 '12 at 19:48
Well, if the upvoted/accepted user does not exist on the destination site, the reputation is lost. Same goes with bounties, apparently. However, if the user later joins the site or links his profiles, then reputation related to votes and accepts will be restored. I don't know if bounties exhibit the same behavior (and it will be quite hard to test from our side) but who knows? They might do. – Frédéric Hamidi Jul 18 '12 at 19:53
They apparently don't since people come on meta complaining that they don't. Have a look at the two meta questions cited above for details about what happened in those cases. – blahdiblah Jul 18 '12 at 19:57
The questions do not mention if the user existed on the destination site, which was what motivated my previous comments. However, I suppose that a bounty that's refunded when the question is deleted cannot be transfered to the destination site after all... – Frédéric Hamidi Jul 18 '12 at 20:02
The other thing to notice is that migrating a Q/A pair with no upvotes or downvotes will result a loss of 2 rep for asker and 15 rep for the answerer. The smallest bounty is worth 50 rep. If an answerer doesn't have an account on the target migration site, that's 50 rep down the drain. And you can bet more people will make lots of noise about that. – Yawus Jul 18 '12 at 20:07

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