I wasn't sure it was possible, but last night I tested it out. You can place a bounty and then immediately accept an answer for that question.

Purpose of Bounties

The primary function of the bounty system is to:

  • Feature a question so it doesn't have to be bumped repeatedly
  • Give people an additional incentive to add new and perhaps more comprehensive answers

I would also argue that a secondary function exists: provide other users an opportunity to gain a significant amount of reputation for a thorough and comprehensive or deeply researched answer (as generally the questions are hard to answer, or require special expertise or knowledge). This is a particular help to those that don't have much time to spend daily on answering smaller questions.


As implemented, though, it can be used without the top two benefits, and disallowing others the opportunity to provide a better answer by starting a bounty and immediately accepting it.

Further, as an accepted answer with a bounty cannot be changed, it should require additional consideration.

Worse, it is possible that it may be considered gaming the system, or provide people a way to engage in other undesirable behavior.


  • Disallow acceptance of a bounty until 24 hours after it was started.

While some might use this functionality to provide an 'extra' reward to a particularly good answer, that answer will still be there in a day, so it won't prevent this functionality. It should only affect those that seek to short circuit the purpose of the bounty.


Isn't this already implemented?

we are adding a 1-day delay between the time a bounty starts and when it can be awarded.

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As Jeff has said on another question (and S.Mark in this one), there's now a 1-day delay between when a bounty starts and when it can be awarded.

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I agree completely.

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I'm fine with this. Bounties have special rules, including that an accepted answer to a question with a bounty can't be changed - probably worth encouraging users to put some extra thought into their choice...

Alternately, allow users to accept whenever they like, but don't apply the bounty for 24 hours - and let the user change (revoke, move to another answer) their acceptance during that 24-hour timespan. Essentially, a grace period, such as exists for many other actions on SO.

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  • 5
    I have to say I don't like your second paragraph. That just complicates things unnecessarily, I think. – mmyers Mar 17 '10 at 22:38
  • @mmyers: probably; just figured I'd throw it out there because I like grace periods. – Shog9 Mar 17 '10 at 22:41
  • Thanks for pointing out that bounties should encourage extra consideration for selection - I've incorporated that into the question. I'm not a big fan of grace periods though. Either the answer is featured immediately, garners some interest for a day, then the bounty is pulled, or it isn't featured for the grace period, which delays getting featured, and possibly delays getting a perhaps ASAP-ish answer. – Pollyanna Mar 17 '10 at 22:44

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