Adam Lear has been digging into the circumstances behind this feature request, and determined that the behavior described there is likely an oversight: it should not be possible for a bounty to remain both awarded and refunded when a question is deleted.

Reputation removed from those who've awarded bounties on deleted questions where the award is retained by the answer's author

So we've patched that up: starting today, when a question is deleted and has had bounties awarded to answers, the bounty amount will be refunded to the person who offered the bounty only if it was not also retained by the author of the answer to which it was awarded (reminder that bounties don't migrate - they're always refunded to the offerer). This also applies retroactively to older deletions that were subject to the previous rules.

Once recalculated, this will affect the current reputation of around 4,000 users network-wide. If it affects you, I apologize for the disruption; please let me know if you observe a change not reflected in the bounties you've offered in the past.

New restriction on authors' ability to delete their own questions

While digging into this, we stumbled upon a more insidious problem: folks offering bounties on their own questions, awarding them immediately upon getting an answer, and then immediately deleting their question. This was allowed in cases where the answer had not yet received any upvotes and no other answers had been posted, and fortunately has been extremely rare... However, it is such an overtly hostile behavior that we've taken steps to block it as well: starting today, authors may no longer delete their own questions if a bounty has been awarded to an answer by anyone (unless that answer was already deleted).

  • 12
    "such an overtly hostile behavior that we've taken steps to block it as well" - agreed, did you also take steps against those who did it, at least undeleting the questions so that the points are redacted again? Feb 13, 2018 at 21:54
  • 10
    No, I'm waiting for this change to settle in so that they don't get immediately re-deleted @Shadow [2/14: this is done now]
    – Shog9
    Feb 13, 2018 at 21:55
  • 3
    Good to hear! Never been a victim in either of those exploits, but when I saw that bug report I was like "oh, oh goodness..." +1 on the patch! Feb 13, 2018 at 23:21
  • 5
    folks offering bounties on their own questions, awarding them immediately upon getting an answer, and then immediately deleting their question. Why would they do this? Were the bounty points refunded? Feb 14, 2018 at 0:21
  • 4
    See unix.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4626 and what it hyperlinks to for an aspect of questioners deleting questions once answered.
    – JdeBP
    Feb 14, 2018 at 0:29
  • 34
    Since you're already fiddling with the machinery, how about some close votes on bounty questions, eh? ;) Feb 14, 2018 at 1:46
  • 3
    That's a lot more machinery
    – Shog9
    Feb 14, 2018 at 1:48
  • 1
    So, will post owners also not be able to delete if half the bounty was awarded automatically? Feb 14, 2018 at 6:10
  • 4
    Mind you, the precondition for half the bounty being automatically awarded (the answer must have a 2+ score) has prevented deletion by the asker even before this change. (cc @Ano)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Feb 14, 2018 at 6:26
  • 1
    @ShmuelBrin: It is my understanding that the bounty would be refunded (and not awarded to the answer's response) in this case. In short, it's a scam: place a shiny bounty to attract answers and delete to get a refund and rip-off the answerer as soon as you get the information you need. Feb 14, 2018 at 7:41
  • 12
    Can we fix questions not being able to be closed when there's a current bounty? How is that even relevant? It just keeps bad questions open for longer. Feb 14, 2018 at 7:51
  • 1
    I'm confused, can you answer who the reputation from an awarded bounty will stay with after deletion. The author of the answer or the person whom offered the bounty? Feb 14, 2018 at 8:24
  • 8
    @curiousdannii no, this helps to close such questions faster if you know how to write a compelling mod flag message. :) "Please close this blatantly off-topic <explain what makes it close worthy>. Using custom flag because bounty on this question doesn't let me cast a close vote." I did it a few times - works like a charm... and mod close spares me from having to wait for 4 more regular close votes
    – gnat
    Feb 14, 2018 at 8:56
  • 1
    I trust (actually hope) that it never happened so far, but about that "New restriction on authors' ability to delete their own questions", and just to double-check the way such things are QA-tested: what if the author is a moderator? Feb 14, 2018 at 9:23
  • 2
    @gnat afaik, there has been cases where by the time the moderator got to the flag, the bounty already ended and they decline the flag because, well, there's nothing to do.
    – Braiam
    Feb 14, 2018 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


Personly I think a question should not be able to be deleted by the author if the author has put a bounty on the question (regardless of the awarded state).

If I do the work to provide an answer, I should know that the bounty will still be on the question when I post the answer a short time later.

  • What if the question became obsolete in the meantime (because the author solved it by themselves)? Wouldn't you rather waste only half the time?
    – Raphael
    Feb 14, 2018 at 11:49
  • 7
    Questions with an active bounty cannot be deleted by the author, or even by trusted users. If a blatantly off-topic question gets a bounty, a moderator can clear it (resulting in a refund) and delete it. Feb 14, 2018 at 12:03
  • 5
    @Raphael If the question was valid to begin with, the author solving it doesn't make it obsolete. The question should still have value to anyone else having a similar problem. The author deleting it, rather than sharing what they did to solve it, would be harmful behavior.
    – Beofett
    Feb 14, 2018 at 12:45
  • 1
    This thread is announcing changes to the handling of expired bounties. If you do the work to provide an answer but you miss the deadline and the bounty does not get awarded, and the author then deletes the question before you can post the answer, how is the situation different to any other question which gets deleted before you can post your answer?
    – E.P.
    Feb 14, 2018 at 13:49
  • 3
    Active bounties already prevent author deletion; expired bounties with no answers and no awards are kinda meaningless - in theory, you could keep re-asking the same question and applying the same bounty, but in practice I could only find one or two examples of this and the questions ended up improving. My guess is there's generally too much visibility (and too many restrictions on bounty timing) to make this a productive strategy.
    – Shog9
    Feb 14, 2018 at 15:19
  • @Raphael If someone decided to award a bounty on something, I would argue it's not obsolete. Solving problems never goes out of style.
    – corsiKa
    Feb 14, 2018 at 18:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .