Sometimes you start a bounty and, since the problem is difficult and people try to reach the bounty, there is higher probability than usual that you get very low quality answers. Sometimes these answers even get some upvotes, thanks to a lot of people viewing it. When the problem is so difficult that no one solves it, the investor does not award the bounty and implicit bounty award takes place. It would be extremely humiliating for the investor to see that one of the bad answers is getting the bounty. Therefore I propose to add the following rule:

Do not implicitly award bounty to an answer that has been downvoted by the investor.

I agree this will not probably happen often, but I have actually seen bad answers taking two or more votes. And I think it doesn't make any sense to award an answer which is bad according to the investor, so I think this case is worth handling.

EDIT: I wouldn't mind because someone will gain rep. What bothers me is that answer which is apparently wrong (possibly have been too quick in the urge to win the bounty) will be marked as bounty winner and thus confuse the visitor, giving the feeling that this is a good solution and the question is answered and OP satisfied.. This would be sick! In case of the accept button you have it under control but this can become really weird especially for 200+ bounty.

  • Seems more or less similar to Explicit “do not award bounty” button
    – Bart
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 9:36
  • 9
    I think "do not award bounty" button is unneccessarily laborous for site developers; checking downvote would be enough.
    – Tomas
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 9:54
  • 2
    You used to be able to award the bounty to your own answer (for no rep gain) which would have provided a workaround here (post answer, award bounty, delete) but looks as though that has now been disabled Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 10:05
  • 2
    I actually proposed in another post to not award anything to anyone if the bounty starter doesn't choose any answer. Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 10:06
  • @MartinSmith, yes it has, I've tried it myself
    – Tomas
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 10:21
  • 3
    what if there are three answers, and the OP downvoted all?
    – fotanus
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 22:40
  • 5
    Then no bounty would be awarded, same as if there were no answers at the end of the bounty period. I wholeheartedly support any means of preventing a bounty from being awarded to what the investor considers to be a bad answer, whether it be a 'do not award bounty' button or a rule that prevents bounty from being automatically awarded to answers that were downvoted by the investor. I'd actually be willing to post bounties if something like that were in place.
    – RobH
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 2:22
  • @Shog why merge and not just close as dupe? It got no answers yet... Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 21:58

3 Answers 3


I disagree. Maybe the criteria for auto awarding should be stricter, but this feature request strikes me as something that will get abused in roughly equal proportion to its (rare) usefulness.

The two abuse cases I see are:

  1. The "I didn't read the bounty help page before I started one" brigade will use it out of sheer stubbornness when the solution turns out to be trivial or a problem elsewhere.
  2. The Chameleon question askers will hold it over the people who try and answer at any point. It will become a tool of duress. I fear the "answer this *updated edit* or the bounty gets it" comments.

The current rules are supposed to take the sting out of forgetful or spiteful question askers. This would nullify that to a large extent.

The simple fact is that if the answers are getting upvotes then they're good answers. If they aren't good answers then there is a problem, but it's one with the voting itself, not the bounty mechanism as it stands.

  • 2
    I am not quite sure I understand what you speak about. You possibly speak about some very corner case I haven't met a single time during my "career" at SE. Much more often I see the usefulness of this request (as I often place bounties on my questions which are hard to answer).
    – Tomas
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 22:34
  • 1
    It is not true that all upvoted answers are good answers. I came across a question which had a single completely incorrect answer. The answer had a single upvote. I considered putting a bounty on the question but then worried that the incorrect answer might get more upvotes and be awarded the bounty, or that another incorrect answer might come along and get upvoted. Since I myself had a pretty good idea about where an official answer to that question might be found, and I failed to find one anyway, I saw a very real risk that at the end of my bounty there would only be incorrect answers.
    – kasperd
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 14:57
  • @kasperd did you explain why the answer was wrong in a comment? Or down vote?
    – Flexo
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 15:15
  • 1
    @Flexo There was a comment explaining why the answer was incorrect. I attempted to upvote that comment only to realize that I couldn't because it was one which I had posted myself last year. Then I downvoted the incorrect answer and upvoted the question.
    – kasperd
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 15:21

The rules for auto-awarding bounties are well-documented. If you want more control over the process, then award the bounty yourself.

If you give up responsibility for your bounty and let a machine make decisions for you, then you've no one but yourself to blame for the results...

  • 5
    There's no option to not award it to anyone, which was my intention.
    – bjb568
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 21:53
  • 9
    That's not an unintentional omission.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 21:54
  • 4
    I would add that assumed benefits of proposed feature unlikely justify revealing voter's identity. "Hey, bounty wasn't auto-awarded and now everybody knows that it was me who voted down this answer"
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 22:05
  • 2
    "Choosing not to award the bounty" is not equivalent of "choosing to ignore/(give up the responsibility of) awarding the bounty".
    – 286110
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 2:19
  • I had one situation where there was only one terrible answer. I had to post an answer to my own question after more research. I asked hoping someone would point me to the right direction quickly, and instead I had to get there on my own the slow way. Yet I was left with only two options, either award the bad answer (with no upvotes by the way), or just "let a machine make decisions" for me. Your "common-sense advice" only makes sense if I could just award myself. No, I do not blame myself for someone else's bad answer that I was forced to award. Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 14:46

I can see another corner case...

What about bounty questions where the OP has simply unrealistic expectations, as in:

"I'm trying to accomplish near impossible task A using ill suited tools/languages B and C, but it won't work"

"I'm sorry, but you won't be able to accomplish task A with tools/languages B and C, you may want to try using tools/languages X and Y like this..."

Or even worse:

Answer: "I'm sorry, but you won't be able to accomplish task A, it's simply impossible, for all of these reasons... followed by a list of documentation."

I'm sure you can see a possible, outcome here. While the answer may well be 100% correct and even heavily up-voted by the community it may not have been what the OP wanted to hear and the OP down-votes and withholds the bounty.

Like I said, it's a corner case, but stranger things have happened.

  • 1
    many strange this happen. Some people reported to be serially downvoted by UFO. So, where were we, back to the reality... let's talk about things that happen. See my updated question.
    – Tomas
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 6:18
  • 3
    If there is no correct answer, no answers should receive reputation, let alone a bounty. What's so wrong about that?
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 21:13

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