Imagine a situation where you want to reward an exceptionally good answer to a question, with an additional bonus bounty. Why don't we have the ability to specify which answer it is in the first place, so it'll get the bonus automatically at the expiration of the bounty?

The FAQ says

  • If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with at least 2 upvotes will be awarded half the bounty amount. If there's no answer meeting that criteria, the bounty is not awarded to anyone.

Question: Does that mean that if no new answers were created after the bounty was started, the bounty won't be automatically awarded to any of the pre-existing answers, and will go completely to waste?

I can see the reason for such behaviour for bounties which solicit new answers, but the whole reason for this bounty in the first place was to reward a pre-existing answer?!

  • @BoPersson not a duplicate. I don't want to award it right away, like that question you linked to - I want to wait the most possible time before awarding the bounty (to give it a chance to attract even more up-votes, being bumped to "featured" section on a tag's page) and am worried what'd happen if I miss the grace period of just 24 hours.
    – Will Ness
    Dec 8, 2012 at 18:13
  • But you want to be able to decide up front what answer should get the bounty. I don't see much of a difference.
    – Bo Persson
    Dec 8, 2012 at 18:20
  • @shadow-wizard this is not what I'm asking here, at all. Not only am I not trying to not wait 24h to award the bounty; I explicitly say I want to wait as long as possible before awarding it. Exact opposite of what you marked it as a duplicate of.
    – Will Ness
    Nov 8, 2016 at 8:00
  • This question was closed as duplicate by five different users, not me, four years ago. I re-closed it just to apply the better mechanism which does not embed the duplicate banner into the post itself, kind of a "clean up" I often do when stumbling over old questions closed as duplicates. Reading deeper into your question, your final goal is the same, to bypass the need to wait 24 hours. Not exact dupe, but very much related. I can't reopen now anyway, feel free to cast the first Reopen vote or edit the question, and it will enter the Reopen review queue where other users can reopen it. Nov 8, 2016 at 8:08
  • @ShadowWizard thanks for the explanation, but, I can't see how a wait period of 691200 seconds (my goal) is the same as a wait period of 0 seconds (as in that "duplicate"). Call me crazy, but I can't. :) As for the 24h, it's not the same 24h -- mine is at the end of 7 days, theirs starts immediately (unless I'm misreading something). But as you can tell by my reaction here, I forgot all about this question. Probably because I decided not to make it my personal crusade. :) Thanks again.
    – Will Ness
    Nov 8, 2016 at 8:53
  • I assume the reason for setting the answer in advance is to prevent one from forgetting about it, thus leading to the bounty being wasted. If that is true, then letting you choose the answer right away has the same goal. Nov 8, 2016 at 8:56
  • @ShadowWizard interesting. so there's two dimensions to this: a. not letting the bounty get wasted, and b. attract attention of others to the answer I'm rewarding. they are same in a., but opposites in b. I assumed a. is a given, and focused more on the b. aspect of it. Perception is tricky business.
    – Will Ness
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:07
  • Hmm... I'll ask someone else with gold hammer take a look, he can reopen it as well. Nov 8, 2016 at 9:08
  • 1
    I think it isn't a duplicate. The duplicate is the better 'answer' to the problem described, but not actually the answer to the question. Nov 8, 2016 at 9:14
  • I don't think awarding a bounty in a six day period (day 3-8) is too much to ask from the person who explicitly put it up to award an existing answer.
    – Helmar
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:40
  • @Helmar but I want to wait for as long as possible, to attract as much external attention to the answer as possible. It's not theory; I've done this, and saw the intended answer get (many) upvotes as the result. If I award the bounty early, I cause it to miss all the attention it might still get, so I want to do this as late as possible. Or preferably, done it automatically for me at the end of the grace period.
    – Will Ness
    Nov 8, 2016 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


Having read through the FAQ again in combination with the Meta FAQ, I would say that the answer to your question is yes, the bounty would not be awarded in this situation.

I can see what you mean, however this is a really rare use case. Why, after having gone to the effort of adding a bounty to reward the answer, would you not come back to award it in the following seven days?

  • Having a bounty bumps the question up to the "featured" section on the tag's page, so more people get to see it and have a chance to upvote it. This is just what happened with my current bounty in effect right now (just expired). So first I waited for the question to get more upvotes, under theory that it would get less attention once I've awarded the bounty. Now I have 24h to award it. What if I couldn't do it, by some unforeseen circumstance? Anyway, the two bounties are really different - one solicits new answers, another refers to the existing one. They're lumped together senselessly.
    – Will Ness
    Dec 8, 2012 at 17:59

Indeed, the bounty won't be awarded then.

The best option there is now, is to set a timer for two days and award the bounty afterwards. There is a feature request to allow immediate bounty awarding when choosing this bounty reason: Should the 24-hour timeout apply to bounties awarded for "exemplary answer"?. You might want to support that.

  • I want an 8 day wait period, to attract as much attention to the answer as possible. Since I think it exemplary. <-- This is my use case. -- What's a "timer"? How do I set one? I didn't know one existed. Did a quick search for "set bounty timer ", couldn't find anything about it. Will appreciate a link or something.
    – Will Ness
    Nov 8, 2016 at 11:42
  • An appointment in your calendar. Nov 8, 2016 at 12:32
  • Indeed, it is a non-solution, but it is the best we have now. If you have a feasible solution, please share it with us! @WillNess Nov 8, 2016 at 12:55
  • the problem is, again, that I want to maximize the wait period. so I'd set the timer to the very end of grace period, and then I might be prevented from acting on it by some unforeseen circumstance. the only true solution would be a new feature on SO that'd implement this. thanks for the discussion.
    – Will Ness
    Nov 8, 2016 at 13:06

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