Imagine a Consider the scenario:

  • A user puts a bounty on a question S/He asked.
  • The user answers the question using another (bogus/duplicate) account.
  • Awards the bounty to the answer from the bogus account
  • The fraud gets detected.

The visible actions seen are:

  • The original Q poster's account gets temporarily suspened for voting irregularities.
  • The Bounty awarded account which has the accepted answer is deleted.
  • The accepted & Bounty awarded answer is still shown as the one answered through the bogus (now deleted) account.

In the whole process, it is proved beyond doubt that awarding the bounty to an particular answer was an malpractice in first place.
So, Should the bounty award be shown awarded to that answer? I think it is unfair & unethical.
What are your thoughts?

I did not want to cite the specific example because I am not a Moderator and I can never be sure of whether this is what happened in this case, but Since @balpha recommends adding the link to suspected scenario, here it is.
Note that it is only my suspicion/speculation that this happened in the cited example.

  • Any example? Note that not all deleted users are sock puppets or otherwise troublesome users; quite a few users have asked for their account being deleted. – Arjan Mar 28 '12 at 6:01
  • @Arjan:The question seeks to reveal the SO policy in such an scenario.I am sure real examples of this case exist & I asked because I do think I came accross such an scenario.However,I don't think revealing/existence of an actual example case will affect the answers to the Q being asked. – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 6:09
  • If the accepted (bountied) answer is deleted, then the accepted (bountied) answer will not be shown anywhere. Your second and third point seem to be in conflict with one another. – Cody Gray Mar 28 '12 at 6:11
  • @TheEstablishment: The order of words created a confusion, I edited for more clarity. – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 6:13
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    As an aside, I'm quite sure this was indeed a sock puppet, as Google cache reveals that both accounts (the deleted one and the suspended one) are linked to the very same accounts here on Meta and Programmers. That said, the puppeteer still "lost" the value of the bounty; too bad someone else was not given the chance to earn it. – Arjan Mar 28 '12 at 16:37

Imagine a scenario:

This line is where the problem starts.

I know there are people who would like clearly defined rules for every possible imaginable case (we're programmers after all), but having a detailed penal code would be an awful idea.

  1. You cannot ever cover every possible case. And so one day, Trolly van Douchbaggins will discover a way to behave like an &%§$&%&% that is not explicitly mentioned in the rules, and goes on a rampage. We cannot do anything – it's not forbidden, so it's a allowed!

  2. We don't have a balance-of-power-y system here; there's no constitution, no courts, no parliaments. Yes, we try to have transparency and democracy where we can, but in the end of the day, it's a website that's run by us, and we want to make sure that it keeps working. We attempt to explain reasons for decisions, we take feedback, we sometimes even take back decisions based on feedback. That does not mean that we're aspiring membership in the United Nations.

    Certain people like to liken the Stack Exchange sites to a state, and once you're making that assumption, it's fairly easy to prove all kinds of wrongness, unjustice, dictatorship, arbitrariness, whatnot. But the assumption is wrong in the first place.

    We're very open with what we do and why we do it, but we're not the elected leaders of a nation. We're people running a website. The website's users put a lot of trust in us doing the right things (and sometimes, "right" doesn't mean "popular"). We appreciate that trust, and we try to honor it every day.

    However this does not mean that people can turn a disagreement about the value of a downvote or the pixel size of a top margin into a case of unalienable human rights, or require the process of suspension to follow a judicial process that would be easily upheld by The Hague.

  3. Every thought spent on a hypothetical situation that may never happen is a waste of time. When (if!) something happens, the users / moderators / site owners can look at it, draw conclusions, take action, maybe discuss how this could have been handled better, and they can do it without having an algorithm that at the bottom spits out the well-defined reaction.

    Because they are human beings.

    The time wasted by making up all kinds of situations and defining the correct response to any of these situations is better spent elsewhere (by everybody, not just the site developers!) – answering questions, improving the sites, reporting bugs, taking a walk through the park.

    Anything, really.

  • When (if!) something happens, given that I am not a moderator how can I be sure that it indeed happened?,I can only doubt/speculate and ask what is the policy in such a scenario.And that is what I am doing in this case.I do not disagree with your answer, but I am afraid it does not answer my Question.As you pointed out,there are no well defined rules for all situations but they will(rather have to) evolve eventually(as and when needed).Well, if there is no rule in this case then let it evolve now. – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 6:53
  • To answer the last para of your Q more explicitly.No I am not making this scenario up,I have much better things to do than indulge in doing so.But I do think/suspect of encountering such a scneario & the actions I mention in the Questions are the visible observable behavior I see in this case.Though I can never be sure of whether my suspicison is correct & So I have no choice but to ask it as an hypothetical question.Does it make more sense? – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 7:03
  • If you indeed have an example, then link to it! Say "I think X happened here, what can be/should be/has been done", not "Hypothetically suppose X happens, what is the policy?" – balpha Mar 28 '12 at 7:05
  • Done.[Space Filler!] – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 7:13
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    Answer worth citing on many other future questions - too bad I can't favorite an answer! – ShaWiz Mar 28 '12 at 7:30
  • Awaiting your comments, now that I have cited the example, the argument of Imaginative scenarios doesn't hold good anymore. Unless, You discard the cited example as an invalid coincidence & figment of my imagination, I would want to know what is the SO policy in this specific case? – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 10:32
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    @Als No, your example is fine, I'm not discarding that. However, I still don't really know what you're asking -- you still say "what is the SO policy in this specific case", which entirely misses my point about "policies". If you want to know "why was the other user deleted instead of merged", I don't know, since I didn't do that. Either way has its pros and cons. Merging would show the answer as self-accepted, but would give the user the bounty amount back. Deleting hides the self-acceptance fact, but at least the user doesn't get their rep back. Since it's a good answer, I'm fine either way. – balpha Mar 28 '12 at 10:41
  • @balpha: The point of my contention is, If the particular user was barred and banned for voting irregularites on the basis of this specific instance then showing the Bounty awarded to the particular answer is unfair.True, someone who sees this Q & answer won't know the dynamics behind it & to them nothing would seem amiss, but to me it seems rather unethical.Ideally, the Bounty should be just removed discarded from the awarding user & not awarded(or shown awarded) to the bogus user.Ofcourse,If the users were banned for anything other than this instance my argument does not apply. – Alok Save Mar 28 '12 at 10:50
  • @Als I don't have any strong feelings either way about this case. That's my opinion though. Other users (like you), moderators, or developers may disagree, and it's fine to bring the discussion up (like you did), as I said in point 3. There just isn't a "policy" that defines to-be-taken steps. – balpha Mar 28 '12 at 11:07

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