First time I ever did this.

I asked a question, there was only one answer, and it was exemplary. I accepted it as the correct answer. (Did I mention it was the only answer?)

Because it was SO good and would be helpful to many others, I created a bounty to award that sole answer. I was surprised that I could not just award the bounty - it wanted me to wait for x number of hours. I don't go onto Stack Overflow every day, and when I next looked the bounty had expired and the points -- deducted from me -- were not awarded to that sole answer.

What can I do to award that bounty to the deserving answer?


  • 1
    The mandatory delay after "reward existing answer" is an endless source of frustration to me as well, but it exists, and for good reasons, so alas.
    – Jason C
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 21:16
  • 3
    I've started a new bounty on your question. I'll award that bounty to that answer when the system lets me.
    – rene
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 22:00
  • That's very kind of you, @rene. Much appreciated.
    – Gordon
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:12
  • @crashwap I've nothing more to add to the existing answers, so I'll not be writing an answer.
    – rene
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 15:32
  • @Scott Just looked it up and according to this, I was indeed incorrect. I'll remove the comment since Cai's answer seems to cover everything I was trying to say anyway.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 19:18
  • @HanSeoul-Oh Yes there is a reason other than "the answer may receive more upvotes" (which isn't one of the reasons, and I'm not even sure that happens appreciably but I dunno): To discourage certain kinds of toxic behavior and gaming of the system. -- I feel like you added your own negative words to my comment then argued against them, so even though you tagged me, it doesn't feel like I am actually relevant here...
    – Jason C
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 7:34
  • @JasonC To clarify, I wasn't pretending to quote you, I was quoting the FAQ that the top answer links to, which I take to be the official reasoning, and which does not describe any toxic behavior or gaming of the system this is intended to discourage nor how it would do so. If the reasoning in the FAQ was not what you meant by "good reasons", what are the good reasons you meant? What toxic behavior and gaming of the system would be discouraged, and how? Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 7:25
  • @HanSeoul-Oh I really don't have much interest in this topic or in typing explanations, sorry. Off the top of my head I think I remember preventing bulk transfer of rep between accounts as one of the reasons, maybe? 🤷‍♂️ But you could ask in a new post or in the Tavern, if this mechanic is really offending you for some reason. Good luck! :)
    – Jason C
    Commented Apr 23, 2021 at 3:46

2 Answers 2


It's all explained in How does the bounty system work?

If the answer had been posted and accepted after placing the bounty then it would have been auto awarded to that answer, but answers posted and/or accepted before the bounty period are not eligible to be awarded to automatically....

Not a lot you can do about that now; once the bounty is gone it is gone. If you really want the answerer to get the bounty you'll have to start another and award it manually.

  • 5
    Are you saying that the system is supposed to work in exactly this way? Where there is a single answer, a bounty is started to award that one answer, and the system cannot figure out what answer to award it to? Why does this not qualify as a bug? Surely outright losing the rep into the void is the least optimal of all possible outcomes?
    – crashwap
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 21:41
  • 3
    Yep, working as intended—so not a bug. I guess the main reason for bounties is to attract attention to get further answers so assuming a previous existing answer is worthy of the bounty isn't the best default assumption...
    – Cai
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 21:47
  • 1
    @crashwap you're verging on being rude now. It is not a limitation of C# that a human didn't decide to add an if checking both the bounty reason and the number of answers to induce yet another auto-award possibility, for people who set bounties and then ignore all the notifications about them. What's more, I think you know that and just felt like saying something mean while pretending to be polite. Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:27
  • 1
    An interesting side effect is that the bounty attracted a lot of interest (I presume from bounty hunters), so my answer received more upvotes than are common in that obscure region of SO. So it's kind of surprising it works this way but I'm grateful all around. :)
    – Gordon
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:40
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the OP had a full 7 days (168 hours) during which he could have awarded the bounty.  Starting at 24 hours into the bounty period, and extending to the end of the grace period (24 hours after the bounty expired), he could have awarded the bounty at any time, right? The fact that he didn’t log in “every day” should not have been enough for him to totally miss his window of opportunity. Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 19:17
  • 1
    @crashwap: See also this feature request to make the system work as you say it should (i.e. to make existing answers eligible for auto-awarded bounties when the chosen reason for the bounty is to "reward an existing answer"). Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 12:57
  • 2
    @KateGregory OP was being neither rude nor mean and you are verging on gaslighting. What in the world do C# limitations have to do with this? Being confused and frustrated with how the system behaves, and explaining why that's confusing and frustrating and should surely qualify as a bug, is neither rude nor mean, it is constructive and productive. Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 7:13

Your bounty reason is only text to show to humans. It is not used by the system for any purpose. Specifically, the auto-awarding code doesn't consider your bounty reason.

From How does the bounty system work?

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 (provided that the answer was also posted during the bounty period). Answers created or accepted before the bounty period are not eligible to be awarded the bounty automatically.

Emphasis mine.

  • 1
    It is a just result. It works as it should. Failure to read the FAQ is not a good reason to ask mods to break the system. Also, mods can't :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:12
  • No; just reading it is more then adequate
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 15:44
  • @RoryAlsop This is a just result? Someone lost points (that they had previously earned by contributing to the community) for failing to satisfy an arbitrary requirement after taking time out of their day to recognize an exemplary contribution to the community, and a deserving answer didn't get rewarded or promoted to future visitors—that's a just result? And no one here appears to be blaming the mods, they're just asking for help. I thought the whole point of Stack Exchange is asking and answering requests for help. Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 7:32
  • @HanSeoul-Oh - there is an expectation that folks will read the help pages before using any site. It's not an arbitrary requirement - it's not only all in the help pages, but the text when you set up a bounty also tells you most of this. Also, I didn't think anyone was blaming mods :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 8:07
  • @RoryAlsop My bad, you didn't say anyone was blaming the mods, you were just saying mods can't do anything about this question, I apologize for that. However, a surprising, confusing, frustrating, net-harmful design decision doesn't become a "just result" even if it's documented in help pages—possibly less surprising to someone who read the help page, but confusing and frustrating and net-harmful all the same. Also, it's silly to suggest everyone we'd ever want to contribute to SO is expected to read every 2200-word, 28-question FAQ on every feature they use beforehand. Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 7:51
  • 1
    How is it a "surprising, confusing, frustrating, net-harmful design decision", @HanSeoul-Oh, that the auto awarding can't read your mind? People should award their bounties. Especially those created to reward an existing answer. Create the bounty, come back when you can award it, award it, done. Complaining about auto-award rules is ridiculous. They are a backstop. The bountier should award their bounty. You are over-reacting, big-time. Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 14:16
  • @KateGregory No mind-reading is necessary, I am more than happy to click "Reward an existing answer" and then click on an answer to award the bounty to. Is it not self-explanatory that the OP losing points despite not hurting the community in any way, and the deserving answer not receiving the bounty either, is net-harmful? What value is added by the abusive FarmVille-style "come back in 24 hours" mechanic? Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 3:15

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