5

It seems weird that it's only awarded to answers posted after the bounty was posted, regardless of the overall quality of answers. If there's already an answer before the bounty is posted and in the course of 7 days that answer turns out to be the best one, it still won't get the bounty.

This is a bit of a rambling first question I know, but this aspect of the site doesn't quite make sense to me, could someone explain?

9

I guess the reason is that usually you start a (new) bounty to get the answer you didn't get before (except for the bounty reason 'award to an existing answer').

Automatically awarding it to the existing highest scoring answer defeats that purpose, and might not do what the question poster actually wanted (there would be no way to prevent this behavior too). If there isn't a new answer that has a +2 score, it is not automatically awarded. Of course, the original poster might still think the answer is worth the bounty, and he may award it manually.

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