I posted a question to StackOverflow about an unusual issues I desperately needed help fixing. When I didn't get any relevant answers and the project deadline was approaching, I created a 500 point bounty. Since then I have received only one other answer, and it was just a suggestion on how to clean up my code, it had nothing to do with the core issue.

The project went live even with the issue. I found a workaround, but it's far from perfect. I posted my own workaround as an answer, hoping that it would provide more information about the issue, and that if anyone finds the question in the future at least there is a workaround in case no answer is found.

The bounty expires in 4 hours. My own workaround has received +1 votes so far. I doubt anyone will provide an answer in the next 4 hours. My question is, what is the best action for me to take? Should I just let the bounty expire? Should I accept my own answer, even though it's incomplete? Should I accept one of the other answers even though they had nothing to do with the issue, just so that the 550 rep points don't go to "waste"?

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    I tagged with discussion, not sure if that should have been support... – The Unhandled Exception Mar 12 '10 at 14:29

I think it's up to you.

You already lost the reputation; if you feel you can reward some answer that helped you in some way, you can award it to it... if not, you can let it expire.

It's your decision.

If it was me, I wouldn't just randomly award it, if no answer helped me, I'd let it expire.

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  • But it's just my opinion – juan Mar 12 '10 at 14:39
  • I agree. My opinion is let it expire. Chris Norton game me some good code which I used and I think it would be cool to help a new user along, but his code didn't solve the issue. – The Unhandled Exception Mar 12 '10 at 14:50
  • Unless something changes in the next hour, this is what I'm going with (letting the bounty expire). It's actually going to be the same as Cory and Robert's suggestions because suddenly, my own answer is the highest voted answer with +3. So this seems to be the best solution – The Unhandled Exception Mar 12 '10 at 17:52
  • I agree it's the best course of action @josh – juan Mar 12 '10 at 17:58

I think the dominant issue should be how the question/answers will help those who come after. The vetting (voting, accepted answers, etc) is a big part of that.

Selecting an answer is supposed to be your claim that "this solution solved my problem." Faking that just to award a payment would defeat the whole purpose of vetting. If someone did not provide an adequate answer, don't just select one arbitrarily. Bounty awards should not factor into your selection.

If you do not accept an answer, the system will select the "people's choice" for the best answer. But even auto-selected answers have to meet some minimum criteria. And none of your answers meet that minimum criteria. That would seem to support your decision not to select an answer.

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    This seems to be one of the best rationales I've heard, and it confirms to me that I should either do as @Downvoter suggested and left the bounty expire, or accept my own answer which was the closest. I'm leaning towards the second because after posting this question on meta, there's now a lot more upvotes on all the answers to my SO question... – The Unhandled Exception Mar 12 '10 at 16:33

This is the risk you take when starting a bounty.

You said in a comment:

Well I'd like an answer more than my bounty points.

Which is a good attitude to take. However, given that, I'm not sure why you're posting this question. There are many discussions about this topic already on Meta.

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  • @Jon: I'm posting this question because I doubt I'll get an answer to the bountied question, and after reading the multitude of other questions similar to mine, I was still unsure what to do. And I still have a little bit of time to make a choice, so I wanted some realtime advice. – The Unhandled Exception Mar 12 '10 at 14:46
  • @Josh: Okay, fair enough. – Jon Seigel Mar 12 '10 at 15:08

Personally I wouldn't let it expire as then you end up with a useless question that can never be answered and most likely will not help anyone. My suggestion would be to accept your own answer and explain that at the time you only have a workaround and are still looking for a better solution. Now the important part is to mark your answer as community wiki so hopefully someone can edit it later with a better answer. The whole idea of a non-claimed bounty "killing" a question seems flawed to me.

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