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What is automatic awarding?

Approximately 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.

What if the bounty was not started by OP but by somebody else and answer was accepted by the OP? Will the bounty be automatically awarded to the accepted answer still?

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No, the answer will not be automatically awarded just because the answer was marked as accepted. Automatic awarding of the full bounty amount to the accepted answer is reserved only for bounties set by the person asking the question.

That's because the system assumes that if the person setting the bounty marked an answer as accepted, then they also meant to award the bounty to that same answer. It is a decision by the person setting the bounty that leads to the automatic awarding. If someone other than the OP sets the bounty, they cannot make that same decision and it could be that they don't agree with the accepted answer in the first place.

If the answer was posted after the bounty started, has a score of 2 or higher and is the highest scoring answer among those that qualify, it'll be automatically awarded half the bounty though.

  • can the person who awarded the bounty, can accept the answer, i think only OP can accept the answer? right? – harishr Oct 30 '14 at 9:01
  • Only the OP can accept, yes. – Martijn Pieters Oct 30 '14 at 9:55
  • "If the answer was posted after the bounty started" Scenario: A question is asked. An answer is provided. The questions is modified and the answer is extended. Then a bounty is offered. The question is modified again and the answer is again estended. The question is accepted and up-voted three times. The bounty is not awarded by the OP and expires. The bounty is not automatically awarded. It seems to me that just because I started helping the OP before the bounty was created I am not eligible to receive it? That seems to wrong because it penalizes me for my initial help. – zaph Feb 24 '15 at 11:53
  • @Zaph: Yes, the bounty will not be automatically awarded. The system cannot detect intent here. I do agree that marking the answer as accepted should really award the bounty automatically, I've been bitten by this too before, but the SE devs apparently do not agree. See Bounty not awarded automatically — bug? – Martijn Pieters Feb 24 '15 at 11:55

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