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As I read here it is not possible to award a bounty to yourself. (Which makes sense, since it would make relatively easy to game the system.)

Imagine the following hypothetical situation: I ask a question where I am asking for some examples of some interesting thing. (For example, applications of some mathematical theorem.) I post a few examples, which I am aware of and then wait hoping to see more interesting examples. When I receive no new answers, after some time I put a bounty on that question. As times goes by, bounty is about to expire and no new answers were given.

In a situations similar to this I would say that the person who started the bounty was not trying to game system (getting more exposure of a question without actually losing rep), but it was an honest attempt to get more interesting answers to a problem she/he is interested in.

Would it be reasonable if in such situations the system awarded bounty, when it expires, to the most upvoted answer? (Assuming no other answers were given, and the person who started bounty answered this before starting the bounty.)

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So you award a bounty to get extra attention for a question you've already answered yourself? Fair enough, but doesn't that indicate that the answer wasn't sufficient to begin with? In any case, I see no reason for this whatsoever. – Bart Apr 9 '13 at 7:36
@Bart In the kind of question I was talking about (list of examples of some phenomenon) it does not necessarily mean that the answer was insufficient, just that you are interested in seeing more examples. But I agree that such situation might be quite rare. In most cases it would probably mean that the self-posted answer was insufficient. – Martin Apr 9 '13 at 7:50
If you're talking about the "list of examples" case, that sounds like a question that would be regarded "not constructive". I'm not sure that is a valid scenario to begin with. – Bart Apr 9 '13 at 7:52
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It could well be "an honest attempt to get more interesting answers to a problem she/he is interested in"... paid for by reputation. Of course, this is kind of a gamble, it may not receive a satisfactory answer, but you're paying for more eyes.

It avoids confusion (of "honesty"?) if the bounty cannot be self-awarded by the system or manually.

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