[...]If two or more eligible answers have the same score (their scores are tied), the oldest answer is chosen.[...]

See https://stackoverflow.com/help/bounty

In the case where the system will automatically award the bounty, a bounty hunter could deliberately downvote answers that they wouldn't have necessarily downvoted in other circumstances, for the sole purpose of breaking the tie to get the bounty.

When people start downvoting for personal gain it is a disservice to the community as a whole IMHO.


  • Should bounty hunters be allowed to vote in the bounty they participate in?
  • Should we stop automatically awarding a bounty?
  • Are there any metrics that suggests that people's voting habits are somewhat influenced when they try to get a bounty?
  • there is a bounty announcement for a reason, (which according to me includes: promoting interest among other visitors to check on bountied quesns) Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:31
  • Is this abused often?
    – rene
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:32
  • 5
    That only matters if the person awarding the bounty decides to let the system award it automatically (and then only half the bounty is awarded). Usually, if you wrote an answer that the person offering the bounty finds the most helpful, they award you the bounty regardless of the votes. Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:34
  • @rene yes...ofcourse ....I have seen negative scores on the other answer right after the next one comes in (in my case, the first answered explained better) Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:34
  • @PrimReaper That's true and I should have mentioned that too. But the problem is still there. Even if the person chooses to attribute the bounty, some answers may have been downvoted for the wrong reason in the process. As to whether this is abused often, that's a good question. I don't know. Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:47
  • 2
    @Cagliostro well, I assume anyone that write a second answer by definition feels the other answer wasn't any good. Down voting is the right tool in that case. I don't see why we now have to call that abuse. Not sure if I want to base whether this is indeed a problem on anecdotal evidence. We need a CM to crunch some numbers on that cross voting.
    – rene
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:49
  • @rene Good call actually. I didn't mean to call that an abuse btw but I can see how it can be interpreted that way. Perhaps I should be asking for numbers instead? Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 17:57
  • Bounty hunting is itself a conflict of interest.
    – Kevin B
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


The problem with people voting on answers inappropriately isn't limited to bounty competitions. If someone chooses to vote on anything other than the content of an answer or question, there isn't much that can be done about it until someone invents a machine that can read minds over the Internet. It's not just downvotes that can be cast inappropriately. Someone could also get their friends to upvote their answer unfairly.

Bounties by their very nature should mitigate some of the damage by drawing more attention and, hopefully, more votes. One person's bad faith vote should be offset by other people voting correctly.

The solution isn't trying to limit someone's ability to cast a vote by assuming they will cast it for the wrong reasons, but trying to encourage more voting so that bad faith votes get lost in the noise.

Getting rid of automatically awarded bounties isn't fair to the people who took the time to answer the question with answers the community felt were valuable. If the person offering the bounty can get a good answer AND get their reputation back just by not awarding the bounty, that will lead to bad faith bounties that would also be a problem. If the reputation just disappeared when the person offering it decided not to award it even though they got up voted answers, that might cause people to start ignoring bounties and dilute their effectiveness. The half award seems like a good compromise to me.

  • This. Just this.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 18:45
  • Fair enough. Thx. Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 19:25

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