With reference to this question here

I just found the answer to the OP's question using Google and it turned out to have been previously asked/answered on SO. Therefore I just commented with a link to the answer, even though a small bounty was on offer.

Now the guy that offered the bounty (who was not the OP) suggested in a follow-up comment that I should make my comment an answer and he'll award the bounty.

I can't see that that's right, so I've not done so - have I followed the correct protocol?


If the question is a duplicate, flag it for moderator attention; a moderator can remove the bounty and mark the question as a duplicate. You cannot vote or flag as a duplicate yourself in that case, so moderator intervention is the only option.

I believe in that case the bounty reputation is refunded.

Not creating a duplicate answer as well is certainly the correct action.

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    As well, answers which are only links to other SO questions are subject to deletion, even with the accept checkmark and a bounty. You'd end up losing the bounty later anyways. – animuson Aug 11 '13 at 18:47
  • Thanks for the advice, I've flagged the question and commented to the bounty owner for info. – Roger Rowland Aug 11 '13 at 18:54
  • @animuson: Is a bounty really lost when the answer receiving it is deleted? That doesn’t seem right. – Ry- Aug 11 '13 at 19:01
  • @minitech Pretty sure it is, and I don't think the score/age threshhold locks bounties in either. – animuson Aug 11 '13 at 19:31
  • @minitechη That's correct. – Adam Lear Aug 11 '13 at 21:43
  • Also note that moderators can only refund a bounty before it's awarded. – Adam Lear Aug 11 '13 at 21:43

Yes - I whole heatedly believe that you have done the right thing. Just comment with a link or VTC/flag as a dupe (depending on your reputation). Don't worry about the bounty "going to waste" as it has served its purpose by attracting your attention. That's the real purpose of a bounty after all - to attract attention.

Furthermore, regardless of a question with a bounty on it, answers consisting of only a link are not really answers. Even if the link is an internal link to Stack Overflow.

When someone posts an answer saying - some one else has already answered this and includes a link, I get the feeling that they are trying to ride on someone else's contribution for reputation. While I realize that this is not always the case, and it is usually just some user trying to help out by providing a useful link - this really doesn't constitute an answer in itself. It should be a comment (just as you have done).

I might be a bit drastic with my opinions but I really can't stand answers which only point to another answer. Even if you take the usual steps to include a summary of the linked post the user is still duplicating content. They should just link to the post in a comment and let the original author of the post receive the votes that they deserve.

  • Thanks - that's good to hear, and I feel the same way you do, I didn't do any work so I don't deserve the credit. It seems a shame that the bounty would otherwise get lost so I've flagged and hope that the bounty can get refunded as Martijn suggested. – Roger Rowland Aug 11 '13 at 18:58
  • I don't think it should be refunded at is actually did serve it's purpose by motivating you to help. It's like an advert in a newspaper - you pay for the placement. An advert doesn't guarantee that you'll get more customers :) – Lix Aug 11 '13 at 19:00
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    It's been refunded already. Hopefully the bounty owner decides to transfer it to the dupe. – Martin Smith Aug 11 '13 at 19:01
  • @mar - now that's a great idea. – Lix Aug 11 '13 at 19:04
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    @MartinSmith: I'm the bounty awarder in this affair (who has been refunded). I would like to award the bounty to the answer on the original question. If I put a bounty on the original question will it go directly to the already accepted answer or will it open it up for new answers? – John Fitzpatrick Aug 11 '13 at 19:11
  • @joh - an accepted answer is the opinion of only one person - the user who asked the question. As the user who offers a bounty - you have the choice to award the reputation to any answer you see fit. – Lix Aug 11 '13 at 19:14
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    @JohnFitzpatrick - If you feel that way inclined you can add a bounty and choose the option "Reward existing answer". You still need to wait 24 hours (IIRC) before actually awarding it though. But I wouldn't feel obliged to do it as Shog has 60K rep and you have less than 1K! – Martin Smith Aug 11 '13 at 19:14
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    @mar -that's repcisim! ;) It's about recognition - not so much about the rep... A pat on the back is a pat on the back no matter how many you've received in the past. – Lix Aug 11 '13 at 19:16
  • @Lix - Yes that's true and this is bonus rep anyway. – Martin Smith Aug 11 '13 at 19:17
  • @mar - as long as it's not meta rep ;) – Lix Aug 11 '13 at 19:18

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