From the help center:

  • You can accept an answer without awarding a bounty to it.
  • You can award a bounty on an answer without accepting it.

The question is why? Isn’t the bounty system used to get attention to a specific question so it gets answered? Why would anybody accept an answer and provide bounty to another one? Can you give me an example?

  • 3
    Because the reason for the bounty can be different. (Also, the bounty can be provided by someone other than the OP) Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:03
  • What do you mean by different?
    – Mohammad
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:05
  • 1
    There is difference between answering a question and explaining the answer.
    – Praveen
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:13
  • 1
    Now that you have accepted TJames's answer, you should understand what I wanted to convey! :) Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:22
  • @Ashish Nitin Patil . Yes, and his answer depended mainly on your comment.
    – Mohammad
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:32
  • Exactly my point. Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:34
  • See also Please do not auto select answers on bounty questions and, on the blog, Improvements to Bounty System.
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 20:15
  • I have seen the correct answer accepted but an answer that took a different direction get the bounty Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


As Ashish said, the reasons for awarding a bounty may be different than the reasons for accepting an answer. So let's start with what's obvious: the reason an answer is accepted is usually because it is what solved the problem for the one who asked the question.

Also, as Ashish said, a bounty can be provided by someone other than the one who asked the question. Since there are two separate people involved, there can easily be two different reasons. Perhaps one person just wanted to know what he could do to fix a problem, where as another person might want a more detailed explanation so he can understand the problem more thoroughly.

As a final example, the same person who asked the question may decide to accept an answer because it's the first one that solved his problem, but then out of a desire to understand he may offer a bounty for a more thorough explanation, and end up awarding it to someone else.


StackExchange questions tend to be very narrowed or specific because that is the way the system is designed, to give specific & thus, detailed answers to a practical scenario.

Now, imagine an answer that perfectly solves the OP's problem, but actually is a bit obfuscated solution which is not easily readable code, but it does the job perfectly. So, this answer should actually get accepted if the OP feels so. Now you have someone like me giving the answer as a hint, but in a good, teaching sort of way & the OP actually learns something new from this (maybe a library, a different approach, etc) but without a final code or exact solution to the given problem. More often the bounty will be given to the latter answer.

Praveen summed it up quite perfectly in his comment.

Some live example (obviously not anything like described above) - Flags in chat are defective by design

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