I have an open Q which had about 6 views. So I'm considering a bounty but I wonder if that will provide any answers. There's a risk someone will just answer with a non-reply just to get the bounty after a few days. (Because it's automatically awarded to the person with the highest votes.) Of course, I could downvote the answer but if it's the only one, it would still be the highest one in votes. I could flag it, hoping a moderator will remove it, thus saving the bounty for a real answer. But if that doesn't happen, then I've wasted reputation to a non-answer.

So, when assigning a bounty to a Q, is it possible to exclude certain answers from automatically receiving it, even if there's no other answer after the time's up? I just don't want to reward someone who adds nonsense to my Q.

  • 6
    +1. I believe the current bounty system is flawed. I think it should undergo some fundamental redesign rather than by patching its holes.
    – mmx
    Sep 14, 2009 at 8:39

3 Answers 3


As Kobi pointed out already the bounty is only allocated to the answer with 2 or more votes, and nothing below.

Also keep in mind that if you don't accept and answer at all and let the bounty expire you can never accept an answer on the question. Be careful with bounties, they are usefull, if you are 100% sure there is an answer to your question.

  • 1
    Well, considering that the Q is about a complex combination of techniques, I think I should just build a solution myself instead of waiting much longer and not getting a valid answer. I fear there's no answer for this problem, or no interest in this topic, considering the low number of views. Sep 14, 2009 at 10:51

This is part of a misunderstanding about the ways that bounties are supposed to work, and the way that bounties work on SO.

In real-life (or more specifically, movies, since I've never been a contract killer) the bounty is awarded upon completion of contract. If someone does not complete the task, then they are certainly not getting the money (and then usually something bad happens and action ensues.)

On StackOverflow, the bounty is to generate interest. You are not paying the bounty directly to the person who correctly answers your question in any real sense. The way that bounty works on SO is that you are 'paying' out a certain amount of reputation as an advertisement for your question in the hopes that people will answer it.

If answers are generated, and one of them is the answer to your question, then you accept it and there's no problem, the right person got the bounty. If none of the answers are correct, and none of them get above two votes then the bounty will go to no one and be lost. It is only if the answer gets more than two votes and is 'wrong' that you could worry about giving the bounty to the wrong person.

In that case, the best option is to engage the person who answered the question, if their answer isn't helpful to you, then add a comment to it explaining why. Also, if it becomes obvious that your question is unclear, then you should edit it for clarity. This has the added bonus of popping you to the top of the active list as well, which would generate extra interest.

Bottom Line: The bounty is to generate interest and answers for your question, it does not necessarily guarantee that one of those will be the right answer.


You do realize you should accept an answer, and only that answer gets the bounty?
The auto-bounty is mostly for exceptional cases, and awarded only for answers with 2 upvotes or more. At the worst case you can accept your own answer and waste the bounty.
Edit your question, add details, it will bump up and someone will answer it.
Fix "want to kow" to "want to know".

  • 1
    I do realize this but I fear no one has an answer, in which case the right answer would be "We don't know!". Yet if someone does post a silly answer then no matter how much downvotes it get, it might still be auto-accepted after 7 days. That's a serious flaw! (Especially since I'm considering to assign a high bounty due to it's complexity.) Sep 14, 2009 at 9:11
  • Btw, thanks for the minor fix. At least the Q has 10 views now. :-) Sep 14, 2009 at 9:12

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