At EL&U, a bounty was placed on a question I had previously posted an answer to. My answer, if I recall correctly, had already received four upvotes. There was one other answer which received neither upvotes nor downvotes.

The OP started a bounty of 50 reputation points, soon after he opened another bounty worth 100 rep points on a different question. As a result of poor contributions, the OP is currently suspended and consequently he is unable to award the bounty personally to any one answer. This is not a problem for the second bounty because the highest scoring answer posted after the bounty will automatically earn the reputation points as the bounty rules state:

24 hours after the end of the bounty period, if the bounty starter has not manually awarded the bounty, the bounty may be awarded automatically.

If the bounty starter accepted an answer during the bounty period, that answer is awarded the bounty. Answers accepted before the bounty period are not eligible to be awarded the bounty automatically.

Otherwise, if there are eligible answers, the highest scoring is awarded half the bounty amount. The criteria for an answer to be eligible are:

  • The answer must have been given after the bounty was started
  • The answer must have a score of at least +2
  • The answer must not have been written by the bounty starter

In the meantime on the first bounty, six new answers were posted, none of them gained more than one upvote, whereas my answer gained two upvotes and one downvote. It is still the highest scoring answer, a magnificent five upvotes (six if you ignore the downvote). I get that the OP didn't award my answer, if he had he wouldn't have placed a bounty in the first place, but why wasn't I awarded the 25 points? I also edited my answer after the bounty, which must count for something, and I received 2 upvotes after those edits.

I would also like to point out the unfairness concerning the second bounty. The highest upvoted answer by Roald van Doorn will NOT earn any rep points despite being upvoted ten times, because his answer was posted before the bounty. The second highest upvoted answers are tied at five.

  • I believe a suspended OP should be allowed to award the most helpful/informative/accurate etc. answer.
  • Failing that the highest upvoted answer deserves at least half the bounty.

As far as I'm aware, this situation is quite unique to Stack, and I would be interested to hear what other people's opinions are on this matter.


The second bounty of 50 points, as stipulated by the rules, has been awarded to the second highest scored answer which gained a respectable five upvotes. The top answer, which reaped ten upvotes was nevertheless ignored. This situation strikes me as being neither fair nor rational.

  • 1
    I see this is a feature request, but I'm not quite sure what exactly you're proposing. Could you maybe summarize the changes you are proposing to the bounty rules?
    – Mat
    May 3, 2014 at 9:29
  • I believe the suspended OP should be allowed to award the most helpful/informative/accurate etc. answer. Failing that the highest upvoted answer must deserve that honour. It's in the second last paragraph (or earn half the bounty instead). May 3, 2014 at 9:30
  • I'd read that, but wasn't sure that was all of it. Hope you don't mind the emphasis (rollback if you do).
    – Mat
    May 3, 2014 at 9:34
  • @Mat the questions are related, I had even read up on them before posting mine, but my question is quite different. I'm really looking for people's opinions on this "issue". Has a similar situation arisen before? May 3, 2014 at 9:41
  • Also related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/18944/…; there's been a lot of discussion on the bounty rules. How do you address the concern raised in that question?
    – Mat
    May 3, 2014 at 9:46
  • @Mat If the OP is unsatisfied with the answers he or she receives even after the bounty period has ended, it's up the OP to award the bounty to the answer that at least partially answers his/her question. I've found myself in similar situations, it's not ideal I agree, but there are no guarantees that you will receive the perfect or the right answer. You make do with what you have. May 3, 2014 at 9:53
  • I understand that, but your proposed change would make the system automatically award a bounty to answers that the bounty starter probably wasn't satisfied with. That would be aggravating on top of not receiving "the perfect answer".
    – Mat
    May 3, 2014 at 9:57
  • @Mat If the OP is NOT suspended he/she can choose whichever answer to award the bounty to. This is not a problem. If the suspension is temporarily lifted, so that the suspended OP can award his/her bounty, this is not a problem either. If an answer has received, for example, 20 upvotes from the community, and it is the highest top answer then it is the community who has virtually awarded that bounty. May 3, 2014 at 10:05
  • 1
    Ah sorry I think I misunderstood completely. You want this change (second part) only for the case of suspended bounty starter?
    – Mat
    May 3, 2014 at 10:07
  • I've seen bounties awarded on EL&U to answers that were blatantly wrong, to answers that had received downvotes; grudgingly, I am fine with that because it is the OP's bounty points after all. Free will et al. @Mat YES, exactly that. May 3, 2014 at 10:10


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