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The activity page on the SO Community user's profile shows that he/she/it accepted several answers in mid-June. Why is Community accepting answers at all? At first I thought it might have something to do with Community Wiki posts or "spam/evil" posts, but the very first question on the list is a legit question, has an active, registered asker and and active, registered answerer.

While in the process of writing this question, I came to the conclusion that the Community user probably owns auto-awarded bounties. Is that the reason for these "accepted answers"? Some points for and against:

  • All of the questions on that list have bounties that could be auto-awards — that is, they are equal to half the value of a possible full bounty
  • The mouseover text on the bounties still says "This answer has been awarded bounty worth [value] by [promoter's name]" (emphasis mine); however, this is true even for obvious auto-awards like bounties worth +75, so it's probably a separate bug
  • Bounty awards are no longer tied to acceptance of an answer, per the blog
  • Surely there's been at least one auto-award since mid-June; but perhaps not coincidentally, the changes to the bounty system mentioned above were made around mid-June

I've read the FAQ pages about who the Community user is and how accepting answers works, but they didn't cover this.

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Sorry - that's my sock puppet account. Could someone merge that for me? –  user27414 Aug 27 '10 at 18:19
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@Jon, do you really want a 31k reputation hit? –  jjnguy Aug 27 '10 at 18:20
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@jinguy - sure, if I can have all the rep from CW posts. –  user27414 Aug 27 '10 at 18:37
    
@Jon, all of 0 is still 0. But if that's how you want to play it.... –  Pops Aug 27 '10 at 19:11
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As revealed by the feature implemented here and the experimentation done for here, it's been established that Community is responsible for handling auto-bounties.

Notice that the last date of acceptance is June 18th 2010 - the date the new bounty system was implemented. Once the new system was implemented, Community had no reason to persist in accepting the answers when performing new auto-awards.

Why does the bounty award say it comes from the author? Maybe because internally, the bounty award itself wasn't recorded by the system as they do now. So when the new system was implemented, all bounties were simply blanket-set as being awarded by the author.

Checking the Meta Community User, we can also see some of this. But I don't see this bounty in that list. Which tells me it was exclusively the auto-bounties.

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Okay, all seems aboveboard and in line with the evidence I presented in the question itself. Holding off a bit on the acceptance until someone official has a chance to comment, though. –  Pops Aug 27 '10 at 18:59
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Community is at it again! But the cause seems to have changed. On Stack Overflow, it has accepted 6,652 answers as of 2012-12-13T15:00Z — the most recent, 14 hours ago:

accepts

If you click through, you will notice that the users that posted the questions no longer exist. For example, the most recent one (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/13851048/javascript-onclick-left-at-connecting-in-browser-tab):

Nobody has accepted my answer!

My guess is that in these cases, the poster accepted the answer, and then deleted his account. Since account deletion does not remove accepts, it seems that the ownership of the accept vote is transferred to Community.

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Wouldn't it make sense for Community to only take ownership if account deletion did remove accepts? –  Asad Dec 13 '12 at 15:35
    
@Asad: No. I think an accept is stored with both a giver (for the +2 the poster gets for accepting) and a receiver (+15). When the poster deletes his account, the giver no longer exists, so to preserve the accept entry, it gets reassigned to Community. –  Mechanical snail Dec 13 '12 at 15:40
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