I have read the bounty documentation but my concern is regarding this.

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.

I have the following questions:

  • What about the answers that were posted before the bounty and later on edited to meet the requirements of the question during the bounty period that gets more than two upvotes?
  • Why is that answer not eligible for a bounty if the person who raised the bounty fails to award it within the stipulated time?
  • Also asking the same user to post two different answers (before & during bounty) on same question creates a bad sense and may be confusing.

I seriously believe this rule in bounty awarding has to be changed!

I have been victim to this rule!

I have managed to get more than 8 upvotes (the highest among all answers) during bounty period for my edited post but was never awarded bounty as the user who raised bounty failed to award it during the stipulated time. Although he marked it as an answer later on.

Another user who had got just 2 upvotes for his answer was awarded half the bounty amount by the system! :/

Here's the link to that question. How to highlight text like in the image?

My sincere request to the developers is: If the bounty is not awarded within the stipulated time, the answers posted before the bounty but edited after the bounty is posted should be considered as well (for awarding half the bounty amount)!

  • 4
    Wouldn't that be easy to game? Say I have the most upvoted answer which the bounty creator doesn't feel helps for some reason. Once the bounty is announced I add a space to my answer then sit back and hope the bounty is auto awarded to me. Jun 14, 2013 at 8:37
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    @RobertLongson you are right from one scenario.But, Dont you think people vote only if the answer solves the requirement in the question! They dont vote blind folded.
    – Vinu1991
    Jun 14, 2013 at 8:59
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    @RobertLongson: that's the reason there should be some obvious way to be able to just not award the bounty to anybody - this problem is already somewhat of an issue without the inclusion of pre-bounty answers. Jun 14, 2013 at 11:06
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    @RobertLongson How about only count votes after the bounty started (whether the answer is old or not) Jun 17, 2013 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


I'm no bounty hunter (or bounty starter), but I agree with you.


  • Let's assume the bounty starter is a male so I can use "his" instead of "his/her".
  • I use "post-bounty" to mean "after the bounty is started"; "pre-bounty" to mean "before the bounty is started".

First of all, let's consider the possible reasons why a bounty is not awarded within the stipulated time.

  1. bounty starter doesn't think any post fits his requirement.
  2. bounty starter forgets about the bounty / doesn't login to SO for that period, etc. (i.e. a reason not related to the answer not fitting his needs)

Currently, if the bounty is not awarded within the stipulated time, the highest voted answer (>2 votes) after bounty is started gets awarded half the amount, whereas the highest voted answer pre-bounty is ignored.

Let's consider reason 1 from above. Both highest voted post-bounty answer and highest voted pre-bounty answer do not fulfill bounty starter's personal requirement. So what makes the post-bounty answer more deserving of the reward than its pre-bounty counterpart? If anything, the answer with the higher votes (regardless of whether it's pre- or post-bounty) make it more deserving than the other.

Now let's consider the scenario with reason 2. We don't really know the bounty starter's intention in this case. Maybe some post-bounty answer, or the (edited post-bounty) pre-bounty answer is what the bounty poster wants, maybe... but we don't know. And we shouldn't decide for the bounty poster to whom the bounty (even partially) is rewarded. This is just like we don't auto-decide that the answer with the highest vote gets to be the "correct answer" to a question – the question asker is free to choose any answer as "correct answer" regardless of how the community chooses.

To summarize, I'm arguing that if a bounty is not awarded within the stipulated time, there is no reason to award half of it to the highest-voted post-bounty answer. We can't and shouldn't decide on behalf of the bounty starter that that answer is the closest fit to what he needs, and in the case where it has less upvotes than a pre-bounty answer, it's not the best answer as selected by the community.

Proposal/bonus question:

  1. I say we should not award anything to anyone if the bounty is not awarded by the bounty starter within stipulated time. Same idea as we don't make a question asker choose a "correct answer" if he doesn't want to. I know Jabba wouldn't approve. The bounty starter would still lose the bounty though as they have had the benefit of increased visibility whether or not that led to an answer.

  2. If we really must reward someone even though the bounty starter didn't make a choice, the answer with the most merit by itself (upvotes) should be awarded, regardless of whether it is posted before or after the bounty is put up, since we've already deemed that the bounty starter has forfeited his right to decide where his rep should go to. Instead of using the bounty starter's criteria, we use the community criteria – net number of upvotes.

  3. [Bonus question: 10 marks] What is a bounty starter supposed to do if at the end of the stipulated time, he doesn't think any of the answers is to his liking? I think How does the bounty system work? is supposed to answer this question, but only thing that is remotely related to this is under the heading "What happens if I feel my question is still unanswered?" which explains that "automatic awarding" happens at the end of stipulated time, but doesn't say anything about what the bounty starter can do, things like marking it unresolved. Again, I've never started a bounty before so there might be things I'm missing.

  • @RobertLongson, Good question. I'll probably stick with losing it for consistency purposes, since the bounty is never refunded unless the question is deleted. Jun 17, 2013 at 9:55

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