Consider these history-events shown in the timeline of some question for which at some point one of its answers was granted a bounty (as in this example for which I ever got a bounty granted):

  • notice added
  • bounty started
  • notice removed
  • bounty ended

If however, for whatever reason, something caused the bounty of a question to be returned to the user who started the bounty (as in this example), then only 2 out of 4 of these history-events about such bounty are shown:

  • notice added
  • bounty started
  • notice removed
  • bounty ended

And by looking at the reputation history of this user (around Dec 7 '19), it seems that at some point (Dec 5 '19) this user started a bounty for that question, which was later on (Dec 7 '19) returned instead of granted.

I know, and understand, that there may be other timeline entries that are only shown to moderators. However it seems to me that something is not quite right in the timeline for questions with returned bounties:

  • either the notice added and notice removed related to such bounties should also be removed (or hidden except for moderators),
  • or the bounty started should also be shown, but then combined with something like bounty returned (instead of "bounty ended").

Or am I'm missing something?


This, I believe, is for technical reasons.

When a bounty is removed, what essentially happens is that the bounty is cleared - any existence of it is erased from histories. This, in turn, has the side effect of returning the bounty rep back to its previous owner, as their reputation is recalculated as if they had never placed that bounty. (This is why in some documentation pages, this is referred to as "clearing" a bounty.)

Overall, it works very similarly to the "clear migration history" tool - that clears any existence of a question having been migrated from a revision history.

I'm not entirely sure why they opted for this approach over something else that keeps the full history, but I think this was the simplest to implement technically, and they decided that the post notice history (which on a technical side has nothing to do with bounties) keeps the public record anyway.

| improve this answer | |
  • Most of these tools were built long ago to address very niche situations, and the easiest thing to do was "just delete everything". It didn't make a lot of sense to invest time making these tools do pretty things when they're rarely used. We just needed something quick that would solve the problem right now, and that's what we still have. – animuson Jan 2 at 19:43
  • Hm, interesting (+1). However, if that's the case, such "erase" appears to me as the first ever example on SE sites where "erase" (or "delete") is not used as a synonym of "hidden from low rep users" and/or "only visible for mods" (such as deleted posts, comments, etc). – Pierre.Vriens Jan 2 at 19:47
  • @animuson Does that mean that for mods such "bounty started" is also NOT visible anymore?. – Pierre.Vriens Jan 2 at 19:49
  • @Pierre.Vriens Not the first example. When the question merging feature was implemented, it used to be that merging a question would hard-delete the merged question (remove it from the database completely), and rewrite history as if the answers were posted on the destination question. This was changed after a little while to the current model of leaving a merge stub behind. – Sonic the Masked Werehog Mar 19 at 6:02

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