It strikes me that the most popular reason for starting a bounty on a question is because the question hasn't received any answers thus far. However, when starting a bounty, whether there are any answers or not, it still presents you with the full array of reasons for starting the bounty.

Three of the reasons should surely be removed in this instance:

  • Current answers are outdated
  • Improve details
  • Reward existing answer

If the screen is still shown I'd advocate that they were greyed out rather than removed for the sake of consistency.

However, in truth, I think I'd go one step further and suggest this entire screen is skipped in the case where there are no answers. Surely in that case, it's pretty obvious that the reason you're starting a bounty is just "there's no damn answers and I need an answer!" (Or, out of the current options, perhaps that should be "draw attention".)

  • I don't disagree about those pre-entered reasons, definitely. Is there not also a custom field you can enter your own information? (Or is that a sub-field of the main choice?) Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:20
  • 4
    The "Looking for an answer drawing from credible and/or official sources" also fits when there are no answers, especially here on Meta. Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:29
  • @AndrewBarber the custom message is the final stage, it's appended below the "main" reason. :) Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:30
  • 1
    However, it is a useful opportunity to inform people of those other reasons, perhaps greyed out? Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:31
  • @ShaWizDowArd Ahh; cool. I suspected as much from the question, though... apparently there's a feature I don't use all that much here, eh? Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:31
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    @AndrewBarber 5 bounties here and 3 on the main site are pretty good! ;) Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


100% agree. If there are no answers then the current options should be as such:

  • Authoritative reference needed
  • Canonical answer required
  • Current answers are outdated
  • Draw attention
  • Improve details
  • Reward existing answer
  • 1
    It's not clear what you're suggesting should be done with the non-applicable reasons. Should they literally be crossed out? Or hidden entirely? I don't think they should be hidden. They should be shown, but disabled somehow, so that the person offering the bounty can still see them, and thus possibly remember that they're available the next time he or she considers offering a bounty. Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:36
  • I'm not against them being shown to the user but disabled. That being said, it could confuse the user. Might not know why they can't select those options. If there are no answers to the question there's really no reason those should be there.
    – SeanWM
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:43

I agree. If there are no answers then these options should be disabled:

  • Current answers are outdated
  • Improve details
  • Reward existing answer

However, to avoid confusion, users should be notified as to why the options are disabled if they click on them. This removes the nonsense and avoids confusion all with one fell swoop.

For more about my reasoning behind this, please see this User Experience question asking about why Joel Spolsky said not to hide disabled items.

Some highlights from the accepted answer on that question:

Explain why an item is disabled: Great advice that almost no one follows! Google search "greyed out menu" and you'll find heaps of people wondering why their menu items are disabled, because the app doesn't tell them. Giving them info when they hover over a disabled item or try to click on it is a great way to reduce confusion and support calls. Google Docs does this well, this little guy pops up if you try to click the save "button" because it's not a button; it autosaves!

Hiding items: Generally this is a bad idea, especially in desktop applications. By hiding items just because a user can't use them now often helps them learn the item doesn't exist and if they do see it they might not know why it doesn't exist half the time. Imagine if half of MS Word's interface disappeared every time you switched from being in a table to a bullet point to a footer!

  • 2
    Ya know, to be fair, half of word's interface does disappear since they introduced the ribbon. Maybe that's why so many people hate it...
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 22:51

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