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In this question, bounty dropdown defaults at value 250, while the minimum allowed is 50 - why is that?

http://i.stack.imgur.com/gSZK6.png

To preemptively address ideas that this might be because question already had a 250 bounty (which BTW would still make it confusing, but whatever), dropdown defaulted at 250 even before any bounty was assigned "per discussion at TWP chat before any bounty was assigned") at the question.

For comparison, in another question dropdown defaults at 50, not at 250.

http://i.stack.imgur.com/T1T4o.png

I would like to understand: What causes such a difference? How is the default picked in these questions?


It's not the first time I notice a default bounty value being some random digit larger than the minimum allowed. Having offered more than 300 bounties at three sites 1, 2, and 3, I consider self quite experienced in this feature, but I have to admit, every time I see this happen, it feels weird... just weird.

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    Why are you assuming that the minimum allowed should be the default? You've provided no justification for that. – Jon Skeet Aug 22 '13 at 13:27
  • @JonSkeet on some questions, dropdown defaults to 50 (I'll edit question to add evidence on that). It feels weird not because it's somehow unfair (I think it's rather fair, in the sense that one has to think before spending rep) but because it's inconsistent and I can not understand how default is picked (as opposed eg to cases when I set 2nd / 3rd / 4th bounty or questions where I have an answer) – gnat Aug 22 '13 at 13:29
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    Inconsistency is a valid point - but I don't see how fairness is involved. If you're complaining about inconsistency though, that should be explicitly the problem, rather than "it's not the minimum". – Jon Skeet Aug 22 '13 at 13:30
  • @JonSkeet I ninja-edited my comment to clarify that fairness isn't involved – gnat Aug 22 '13 at 13:32
  • @JonSkeet edited the question to clarify that I am interested to learn about inconsistency. You're right btw that is carries a potential complaint (note "default bounty value being some random digit" in small font), I just delay re-tagging to discussion/bug/feature request for the case if there is some perfectly reasonable explanation of current behavior that I somehow missed – gnat Aug 22 '13 at 13:42
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    @JonSkeet -- as a website developer I do know all web sites will put first possible value by default. we can take example of age dropdown , most web site will have minimum age default selected the very first option , even if 80% users will be much elder then that .. this is my view only – Dhaval Aug 22 '13 at 13:43
  • "...dropdown defaulted at 250 even before any bounty was assigned at the question." - Eh, how sure are you about that? The behaviour is indeed to set it to the value of the previous (or perhaps largest) bounty on the question. – Tim Stone Aug 22 '13 at 13:50
  • @TimStone I'd say am 99.9% sure about that, based on my recollections about this chat discussion. That was only about a week ago and my recollection is, it was displayed as 250 both to me and to RhysW – gnat Aug 22 '13 at 13:55
  • @TimStone also, regarding idea that value defaults to previous (or perhaps largest) bounty, this doesn't look like the case: per recent discussion at Programmers chat, to another user it defaulted at 50, not 250. "Curiouser and curiouser" isn't it? – gnat Aug 22 '13 at 16:58
  • Well, it couldn't default to 250 for that user, since they didn't have enough reputation for a bounty that large. I assume it goes with no selection in that case (i.e. defaults to 50, the lowest). – Tim Stone Aug 22 '13 at 17:01
  • @TimStone that doesn't seem to fly either. In "previous round", to another user who had rep under 250, it was displayed at 250 – gnat Aug 22 '13 at 17:13
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    @TimStone I'm inclined to believe this was an affect from the code of SO itself crying out for it's wounded algorithm to be bandaged, a veritable whinge from the ghost in the machine if you will – Jimmy Hoffa Aug 22 '13 at 17:23
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    Of course, if it's causing this must confusion it's probably better to simplify it regardless of what the current behaviour is :) – Tim Stone Aug 22 '13 at 17:43
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    @Tim why not post what you said as answer? It's correct and it perfectly explains why sometimes the default selected value is greater than the minimum. :) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Aug 29 '13 at 15:03
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    oh sh*t I forgot to check what was the default when I was setting bounty on that very question! – gnat Aug 29 '13 at 15:14
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As Tim Stone has answered in this comment:

"...dropdown defaulted at 250 even before any bounty was assigned at the question." - Eh, how sure are you about that? The behaviour is indeed to set it to the value of the previous (or perhaps largest) bounty on the question.

To this, the OP replies in another comment:

@TimStone also, regarding idea that value defaults to previous (or perhaps largest) bounty, this doesn't look like the case: per recent discussion at Programmers chat, to another user it defaulted at 50, not 250. "Curiouser and curiouser" isn't it?

Finally, Tim Stone's final explanation from this comment:

Well, it couldn't default to 250 for that user, since they didn't have enough reputation for a bounty that large. I assume it goes with no selection in that case (i.e. defaults to 50, the lowest).

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