I just asked a question on SO and it was closed within 8 minutes, stating that it was a duplicate. To me, the question it was supposedly a duplicate of did NOT answer my question, as my question was more specific.

I do want an answer to my question. I know I have to wait 2 days to open up a bounty.

But what I couldn't find on Meta SO was whether or not I'll be able to offer a bounty on a closed question after the two days is up. Will I? If not, do I have any alternatives?

  • @Brad, the OP says he cannot add a bounty, which means he cannot add a bounty. How can he then add a bounty to avoid the question being closed?
    – ProfK
    Aug 1, 2011 at 6:25
  • One unique circumstance I have just stumbled across where it would be helpful to be able to offer a bounty on a closed question is to reward an existing, excellent answer. There are many threads that are closed, but not deleted, & that have existing answers. Occasionally, there can be an excellent answer in such a case that merits an additional bounty. It would be nice to be able to award one in that case. (OTOH, it seems like it's probably a bit of a lift for the developers to add this feature for such an uncommon occurrence.) Nov 21, 2016 at 21:20
  • @gung - Interesting idea. But to me, if I already had an excellent answer, I wouldn't have offer a bounty. My purpose is to get an answer that will help me. This meta post is a very old question I asked (7 years old now) and I had forgotten about it and maybe there are new rules, but I suppose the way around this is to open a new question worded slightly differently and hope it doesn't also get closed.
    – lkessler
    Nov 22, 2016 at 0:01
  • I stumbled across this meta.SE thread b/c I wanted to put a bounty on an excellent answer to a closed thread. FWIW, I agree w/ the answers below. If it's your question, & you are hoping for an answer, adding a bounty to a closed question makes no sense. By virtue of being closed, no answers can be posted to the thread, so the bounty would be a waste. The only possibility is if the answer to be rewarded already exists on the thread. Nov 22, 2016 at 2:25

3 Answers 3


AFAIK you can not offer up a bounty on a closed question. I checked on some closed questions of mine (that were old)

  • Rats. Thanks for letting me know a bounty is not the way out. But I had help editing my question to make it look less like a duplicate and I've already got 4 out of 5 reopens, so maybe I'm still alive
    – lkessler
    Sep 21, 2009 at 21:19

If the answers to the previous question do not answer your question, then you should re-ask, and highlight the differences. Highlight, in the title, the aspects that make your question different than the previous one.

In the body of your question, include the things you've tried, including all the answers to the previous question, and why they did not work.

Include a link to the other question along with your explanation.

That way, it is not a duplicate, it is merely similar.

  • That question was just poorly worded. Sep 21, 2009 at 21:16
  • I didn't examine the specific SO question, I was answering based on the general situation.
    – devinb
    Sep 21, 2009 at 21:21
  • 1
    It's still a good answer. I'm much less likely to vote to close a question that calls out a similar question and takes the time to explain why the existing answers don't apply. Too many people get hung up on minor differences in the questions themselves, and fail to realize that the answers are still good...
    – Shog9
    Sep 21, 2009 at 21:30

Even if you could, you wouldn't want to.

No one can post answers to closed questions. You'd be depending on enough people agreeing that it was closed incorrectly to vote it open again prior to the end of the bounty. And every day that passed without that happening is a day where the bounty clock is ticking and no one is posting answers.

Furthermore... A closed question is three votes away from being deleted. If that happened, it would be even more unlikely that you'd get any good answers.

Your best bet is to think good and hard about why your question was closed. Politely ask those who closed it why they did so, and listen carefully to their reasoning. Then, taking what you've learned, go and ask a better question.

  • Actually, my assumption was that if I put a bounty on a closed question, then that would have opened it - since the act of the "bounty" indicates that the asker really wants it asked, and it will be completed in a week when the bounty time is over.
    – lkessler
    Sep 21, 2009 at 21:48
  • Most questions aren't closed out of a belief that the author didn't really want an answer (a handful are; S&A and spam close reasons exist for these...). A question is closed as a duplicate because answers already exist. Similarly, question might be closed as "belongs on other site" if the question and its answers would be more appropriate there.
    – Shog9
    Sep 21, 2009 at 22:40

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