I think this question's revisions and timeline may reveal a bug in the bounty system.

The timeline summary as I see it is:

  • Question asked Mar 17
  • Answer added Mar 18
  • Question edited (extended) and bounty added Mar 20
  • Answer edited and accepted Mar 21
  • Bounty ends "with no winning answer" Mar 28

This was the only answer to the question. From this answer

If the bounty starter accepted an answer during the bounty period, that answer is awarded the bounty.

This appears to be the case here, so I'd expect the bounty to be awarded. Is this a bug in the bounty system?

I'm not too fussed about the actual bounty here (I'd answered the question before the bounty was offered anyway), it's just that it'd be good to either fix the bug or improve the documentation I guess.

  • 1
    In case user doesn't award bounty your anser shoud get half of bounty since it have more than 2 upvoye and bounty doesn't award on accepting answer Mar 29, 2013 at 1:07
  • Here's the revision that initially added that text to the docs, I wonder if it was just straight up wrong. In this blog post Jeff says "all bounties are completely independent of and unrelated to accepting an answer," which kinda subtly suggests that maybe the two aren't related.
    – blahdiblah
    Mar 29, 2013 at 1:42
  • According to this answer about a similar situation that cites a section of the FAQ that's since been removed, accepting doesn't award the bounty. Looks like the docs are just wrong, though it'd be nice to find more than all this hearsay before changing them.
    – blahdiblah
    Mar 29, 2013 at 1:45
  • @blahdiblah Agreed! There seems to be quite a bit of conflicting information on this. Thanks for digging all this up.
    – Fraser
    Mar 29, 2013 at 1:48
  • Related: Bounty Award After Accepted Answer
    – blahdiblah
    Mar 29, 2013 at 3:04

3 Answers 3


The bounty was started after the answer; logs show:

Bounty Start    mar 20 at 10:29

The current implementation is explicitly that automatic bounty awards only apply to answers added after the bounty. This includes the "an answer was accepted" aspect. I will check internally whether this is intentional, however.

  • 4
    I was just bitten by this as well; the wording of the FAQ implies that answers given before the bounty period but accepted after, should be awarded the bounty. Furthermore, Jeff's remarks on the bounty system changes gives a great motivation for why the bounty is awarded to the accepted answer, no exception is given for answers that predate the bounty. Apr 9, 2013 at 10:24
  • 1
    @MarcGravell - Did you check internally or get an answer?
    – Fraser
    May 4, 2013 at 17:52
  • 3
    @Marc Any update on this? Aug 20, 2013 at 21:33

The definitive information in this case is from the bounty privilege description page, which in answer to the question "How do I award the bounty?" notes:

  • You can accept an answer without awarding a bounty to it.

and in discussion of "When does a bounty expire?" clarifies auto-awarding:

If you do not award the bounty within 24 hours of the bounty period ending, half the bounty value will be automatically awarded to the top voted answer posted after the bounty start, provided it has a score of at least 2. If no new answer matches this requirement, no reputation will be awarded at all, and the reputation used on the bounty will be lost forever.

Nothing about acceptance triggering auto-awarding (though there's certainly a case to be made that it should). The documentation the meta FAQ post on the subject appears to be simply wrong, perhaps a misconception from the earlier setup in which acceptance did award bounties. Caveat wiki-lector.

A related and pertinent question is whether the user who posted the bounty thought that they were awarding it to you by accepting your answer, or whether they were purposely using this somewhat arcane feature of the bounty system. They would've received notices about the bounty being near-expiry, but might have just assumed they were superfluous.


The question I linked in a comment above (but didn't read enough of at the time) actually contains a further note from Jeff suggesting that the wiki-documentation is correct and that you should have been awarded that bounty:

The implementation has changed a bit to better accommodate careless bounty owners. :)

If ...

  • the bounty was started by the question owner
  • the question owner accepts an answer during the bounty period
  • the bounty award period expires without an explicit award

... then we assume the question owner liked your answer when they accepted it, and it gets the full amount of the bounty at time of bounty expiration.

I don't know what to believe anymore.


This should be fixed at some point lest the database incur the wrath of people who post multiple answers instead of editing an old one. Stack exchange must not allow the scourge of allowing things which can be worked around anyway to happen.

  • 1
    should be... exactly my thought. Got hit with this the other day which is why I threw a bounty up on this. Apparently it wasn't enough to stir Marc from the grave. Take a bounty Aug 27, 2013 at 21:20

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