Yesterday I replied to a question that had posted a bounty of +500. Today I don't see the bounty - how is this possible?

This is the question: Sort a Python dictionary by value

I am confused, for I am fairly certain there was a bounty offered - and that was not from the OP but a 3rd person. The question is asked long time ago but the bounty was placed during the last week. I even think this was the only question "featured" for tag python. The value +500 seemed high indeed for fairly simple question, so I refreshed and double-checked... a few times :). I think it was saying something like 5 days remaining or such.

Alas today there is no trace from bounty... Is it possible? Aren't such events 'journaled' to the question - bounty offered, bounty canceled etc?

There was activity by others on the question yesterday (Daishiman, mykhal) which makes me think i am not the only one confused.

So... is it possible at all a bounty placed to be canceled?

PS. I have not seen the 500 marker by the most popular answer, so i did not know the bounty has been awarded. While it makes me look stupid, I have an excuse:

The reason was that i had answers sorted by "Newest" and not by "Votes", so that answer was next to last, at the very end and i did not see it! The reason of the sort order was, I was thinking - since someone adds bounty, they must not be happy with the existing answers and we are interested only in the new ones. Also, i searched in the web page (ctrl-f) for "bount", "award" etc. While now i know the blue 500 indicates bounty award, in general there is no marker how to search for bounty of any amount....

I had even found the https://stackoverflow.com/posts/613183/timeline page (don't even remember how i found that URL but doesn't that tell you I did a lot of due diligence!) for the question but there was no trace of any bounty ever existed, nor who offered it and was it canceled or awarded... isn't that weird, the lack of journaling of such events?

  • Note that the question timeline view is still a work in progress and isn't fully supported yet. (See also: this question and answer if you're curious.)
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 0:14
  • @Jon Seigel: i figured as much (that its unofficial) but i find it useful already to be able to see timeline at a glance
    – Nas Banov
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 2:26

3 Answers 3


The highest voted answer got the bounty awarded, so I guess the one who set the bounty just wanted to leave a very special "thank you". It however be interesting to find out who set the bounty

  • Yes, thank you - your answer helped me realize what happened, since you put a link straight to that answer and then seeing the 500 in blue was obvious. Still, Still i find the no trace of bounty event frustrating.
    – Nas Banov
    Commented Jul 7, 2010 at 23:55

Did you read the bounty section of the /faq?

  • Yes, I had read the FAQ and no - it did not answer my question. The closest relevant thing there i saw was "the highest voted answer created after the bounty started" - but do read my PS above to see I have not see that 500 by the oldest answer nor was there any indication that there has been a bounty or what happened to it!
    – Nas Banov
    Commented Jul 7, 2010 at 23:52

While this won't cover the scenario that you personally encountered (as someone did get awarded the bounty and it is quite visible), there are some scenarios where a bounty will, in fact, find itself in the vast nothingness.

  1. The most common scenario is that the auto-award occurs with no valid target. That is, no answer since the posting of the bounty has at least 2 upvotes. When this happens, the bounty will fade away. While being the most common, it requires all 7 days to pass and for no one to like answers, so it can be seen coming unlike the other scenarios.
  2. This is ideally a temporary concern only that will be fixed. Awarding the bounty to one's own answer will yield a bounty of +0. In some cases, this is visible, but there are some circumstances where it doesn't display. Those circumstances are unknown currently, but when bounty history is available this will no longer become a problem. For now, though, this is a possible method for a bounty to abruptly disappear with no trace, but you might be able to figure this one by noticing an answer by whoever posted the bounty.
  3. This is the rarest case, but moderators can cancel a bounty. As stated, though, this is only done with exceptional circumstances. This is the only method for a bounty to be literally cancelled, and it refunds the original bounty poster so it is as if the bounty never happened. I do not believe there to be traces left behind for the public to see. There is absolutely no way for a normal user to predict or protect against this scenario.
  • Thanks, i was confused and i was thinking that #3 must have happened, because the user offering 500 bounty did not have extra-high reputation - his was like 1000+ or so. See in Q above the PS about what caused my confusion.
    – Nas Banov
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 0:01
  • @Nas Banov: So maybe the user who awarded the bounty decided to quit SO and award his rep to the answers that helped him most... Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 7:54
  • 1
    @Tobias Kienzler: well it came to my mind, this actually can make for a great schema for "featuring" your questions for free :). Say user Joe registers a shill user Jill and brings both users to score 500+. Then Joe adds 500 bounty on his question, collects answers and at the end awards the bounty to Jill (who posts shill answer). Next time it will be Jill offering the bounty and bouncing those +500 back to Joe ...
    – Nas Banov
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 0:47
  • @Nas Banov: you're right! I hope you don't mind I quoted you to make this a separate discussion here? Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 4:07
  • @Tobias Kienzler: i dont mind, not at all - rather, i am flattered :)
    – Nas Banov
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 8:17

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