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On the question Stack Overflow is doing me ongoing harm; it's time to fix it! there was some activity.

As indicated per homepage activity by a user.

So I clicked it and wanted to know what's going on.

Nothing —

visible to me changed.

So I thought, "Ah well, another post censored and deleted, poor low-rep-me will never know…"

But after inspecting the timeline I saw:

2019-12-18 20:39:27Z history notice removed Adam Lear♦
2019-12-18 20:27:52Z history notice added House- 'Reinstate Monica' -man Draw attention

Why was now that bounty removed? So quickly? Without explanatory comment?

Users invest their rep — in this case 500! — to "draw attention" and someone with power to push buttons just removes it? Usually, even questions about to be closed are protected from such actions by having a bounty.

What is the basis for such actions?

  • 7
    I'd like to point out that my habit is re-reading what I posted, immediately, once it's up. The fact that reading my own text took apparently much longer than the first DV to roll in leaves a very sour aftertaste, like sickness of the cow that milk came from. – LаngLаngС Dec 19 '19 at 1:07
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    Not only was the post bumped twice (once by me, the second time by staff), now there's a new question drawing attention to the post! The Streisand effect keeps demonstrating itself! – user245382 Dec 19 '19 at 1:37
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    I feel like anyone who insists on posting that GoFundMe link on Meta where they've been explicit that they will be removing such links is playing with fire. Disagree with the establishment all you want, but the establishment sets the rules here. – Makoto Dec 19 '19 at 2:51
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    @Makoto I inquired out of general & genuine puzzlement. – LаngLаngС Dec 19 '19 at 2:53
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    @Makoto The author (as far as I can tell) wasn't aware that the notice contained a GoFundMe link. (Especially since it was only up for 12 minutes.) – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Dec 19 '19 at 2:54
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    That is: lack of democracy and lack of transparancy is not something I'll encourage the establishment to expand on without criticism. – LаngLаngС Dec 19 '19 at 2:56
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    @SonictheReinstateMonica-hog I think that Makoto was referring to me as the one who "is playing with fire". – user245382 Dec 19 '19 at 3:00
  • While I agree with the reasons of removal, I think there should be a bounty on that question. So without giving them any reason to remove it, the new one was posted without any comment. – nvoigt Dec 19 '19 at 9:08
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    What makes you think removing prohibited content from bounty messages is new? Perhaps all that has changed is that someone thought putting something prohibited in a bounty message was a loophole, and they have discovered it is not. – Raedwald Dec 19 '19 at 10:03
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    'What makes you think removing prohibited content from bounty messages is new?' - @Raedwald I believe OP's point is that the whole notice was removed, though, I may be mistaken. – Script47 Dec 19 '19 at 10:32
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The bounty notice contained a GoFundMe link. (Source: I happened to notice the question during the few minutes the bounty was active.)

As such, the bounty was removed.

While they could have simply removed the message without clearing the bounty entirely, they either chose not to, or it would have resulted in the (new) notice rendering incorrectly.

It is also worth noting that if a moderator clears/removes a bounty, the bounty owner gets their reputation back.

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  • ?? I mean thanks. But wouldn't the least invasive thing be removing only the prohibited link, instead of the whole bounty text?? – LаngLаngС Dec 19 '19 at 0:55
  • @LаngLаngС That probably requires having to manually edit the database (which can result in the site crashing if you make a mistake), while removing the bounty would be the quickest and safest way to remove the link. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Dec 19 '19 at 0:56
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    Even comments and 'editing comment lines' can be edited cleanly, bounty texts not? Is that insight, experience, or guesswork? Haven't those 'who want to abuse' figured out this hole long ago? Is there anything like meanigfully notifying the bounty offerer? – LаngLаngС Dec 19 '19 at 1:01
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    @LаngLаngС The fact that their reputation is suddenly refunded to them is sort of a notification to them. Also, moderators can edit comments, a GUI tool exists for that, while users (including moderators) cannot edit bounty remarks using the system software. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Dec 19 '19 at 1:02
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    I didn't get a notification that I had a large amount of rep refunded to me, but the rep was refunded. – user245382 Dec 19 '19 at 1:35
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Why was now that bounty removed?

As Sonic said, the bounty description contained a link we are currently obligated to remove. To be fair, I forgot we could just remove the notice and leave the bounty in place. However, if I had done that, there wouldn't be any indication on the question that there was a bounty still active. And this way the bounty can be re-offered if someone feels that way inclined, so overall I think refunding the bounty was the better choice anyway.

So quickly?

Coincidence. I happened to see the post bumped to the front page and clicked through to see what changed.

Without explanatory comment?

In hindsight, yeah, I should've said something.

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    Fair on the bounty; however, don't you think a suspension for that is a bit much, maybe? – Sébastien Renauld Dec 19 '19 at 19:20
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    @SébastienRenauld I didn't issue it and, as far as I can tell, it's unrelated to this question. This was a perfectly fair thing to ask. The bounty wasn't put up by LangLangC either. – Adam Lear Dec 19 '19 at 19:22
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    In the old notices, the "question has an open bounty" notice would still remain, while the sentences below it would be removed, if you removed the post notice. Why aren't the new notices coded to do this? – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Dec 19 '19 at 19:45
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    @SonictheReinstateMonica-hog Oversight, probably. Wouldn't surprise me if others forgot that the notice can be removed separately the same way I did. – Adam Lear Dec 19 '19 at 20:29
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    Thank you for clearing the air on the matter. Though (on the evidently unrelated matter, in my opinion, from my perspective without all relevant detail available) it's disappointing to see one-year suspensions being given out (by whomever) like candy canes as of late. Someone will probably delete this comment, but again, thank you for the transparency. I was starting to wonder about current policy on bounties after recent controversy. – faintsignal Dec 19 '19 at 23:24

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