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Zoe the transgirl added a bounty, but animuson removed the bounty message

A bounty message posted by Zoe the transgirl was removed by an employee (the bounty still could go on). However, looking at a Wayback Machine archive of it, it doesn't seem offensive or anything. Why was the bounty message removed?

An archive with the message:

Will you please just reply already? We need answers. This being ignored will not improve relations between users and the company, nor will it increase your already low trust.

I was originally not linking to the archive because I don't want to get in trouble. However, animuson says it was just a mistake and I’ve thus edited it in.

  • 8
    It was simply a mistake while fiddling with another answer.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Oct 6, 2019 at 17:22
  • 2
    Oops. Fat Finger strikes again.
    – user102937
    Oct 6, 2019 at 17:23
  • @animuson oh ok, cool. Oct 6, 2019 at 17:28
  • 43
    Then why was it not added back? And why did you not comment this to Zoe at the time to apologise & explain? This caused some consternation at the time, as I'm sure you've seen. First I've heard any staff engagement about this. Oct 6, 2019 at 17:47
  • 1
    @Stormblessed: Also interesting is that the archived version disappeared (for precisely the days the bounty text was visible on the real site) until this was spotted and noted. Oct 6, 2019 at 17:48
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I am doubtful about the archive thing being purposeful. The IA can be weird and glitchy. Oct 6, 2019 at 18:05
  • 7
    @animuson Perhaps post that as an answer, since it's clearly the only valid answer to this question.
    – Erik A
    Oct 6, 2019 at 18:32
  • 4
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit It's worth noting that WayBackMachine no longer responds to robots.txt, so in order for a page to be taken down the owner has to specifically contact them. From what I've seen, it takes a lot of time for those requests to be handled. Oct 6, 2019 at 21:32
  • @SonictheReinstateMonica-hog I had a takedown request handled in a matter of hours. They're actually pretty fast.
    – Zoe
    Nov 3, 2019 at 15:18
  • 1
    @Zoe - removed bounty messages can't be readded
    – Mithical
    Mar 1, 2020 at 12:46
  • @Zoe hi! Are you back on SE now? Mar 1, 2020 at 19:30
  • @Stormblessed for the time being, yeah.
    – Zoe
    Mar 1, 2020 at 19:53

2 Answers 2


I don't know why I never came back and answered this, but it was an honest mistake on my part.

I was trying to lock the deleted answer for various reasons and was trying to remove the post notice because it wasn't relevant. In the process of doing that, I accidentally triggered post notice removal on the question instead of the answer. I didn't notice I had done this until someone pointed it out to me later.

Keep in mind there's also no undo button for bounty messages. There's no undo button for any post notice, but at least with lock reasons you can simply just attach a new lock to the post.

There wasn't anything wrong with the bounty message itself and it wasn't removed for reasons of moderation. If we had found something wrong with the bounty itself, the normal course of action is to just refund the entire bounty, not to only remove the notice.

  • 9
    Thank you for answering. Also nice to learn some stuff about the system from time to time ^^" I'll award the bounty as soon as the system lets me
    – Zoe
    Mar 1, 2020 at 15:42
  • 2
    Always great to see an official response! That said it's a bit funny to get ~900 rep for pressing the wrong button then forgetting to explain what happened 🙃 dropping some 500 bounties on a couple of Zoe's posts might be a nice gesture? 🙂 Mar 2, 2020 at 9:47

I'm not one to give up a free bounty.

As per Animuson's comment

It was simply a mistake while fiddling with another answer. – animuson♦ Oct 6 '19 at 17:22

We're mortal, fallible and made of meat.

But that's a boring answer.

While I'm not staff, I'm a moderator here, and at the end of the day, with things like thus, shaping the policies of the site are part of my role.

I'm also not one to pass up on a chance to clarify policy

Will you please just reply already? We need answers. This being ignored will not improve relations between users and the company, nor will it increase your already low trust.

While a bit informal, seems fine to me in general. Its a bit of an odd bounty to earn by the letter of the bounty message but... it reflected the feelings of the community at the time pretty well.

Using bounties to get attention and to try to get an issue resolved faster while, IMO completely pointless, is part of meta culture. There should be no real issue to addressing the company in a mod message.

Essentially - a bounty getting refunded ought to be incredibly rare. If there's a problem with your bounty reason, we ought to be reaching out to you in some way to let you know why the bounty in question was problematic. In the cases where I have, I've personally made an attempt to, and it ought to be best practice.

I've literally never seen a bounty message removed on its own, and there's no neat UI. Seeing how... terrible, some tools ported to mod use from CM use are initially, I can believe the fatfingering). If it was possible, I still do think letting the user know precisely what was wrong from our perspective makes sense.

There have been cases where bounties were used in an attempt to stir up drama, or pillory members of the community and staff - and those are not acceptable.

This wasn't one of them.

Healthy constructive disagreement has always been a pillar of the culture of SE and MSE.

So, if we intentionally remove a bounty, or its associated message, we ought to let you know why. I'd personally go with something private - its an appropriate use of a mod message IMO


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