This is not really a problem, but I still don't feel satisfactory.

I started a question, and then put a bounty on it. One answer showed a way to solve my problem, put the answerer can't explain how it works (kind of "magic line of code"). I'm waiting and hope for a better explanation.

But as the deadline for bounty draws near (about 1 day), I fear that I maybe too busy to give the bounty: at least the answerer helps me to solve part of the problem. So if there's no other response, I should give it to him.

But I also notice that only the near-deadline questions are on the top of the feature question list. So the nearer my question comes to deadline, the more it will receive notice. It means I'll get better hope for a better answer.

This paradox troubles me. Is there any way to resolve it? Or if it's the rule, what is the best time to give bounty to "acceptable answer"?

SUMMARIZE: My question maybe not clear enough. I want to ask about how long I should wait before granting the bounty (in case there's no helpful-enough answer yet). Because as I see, the longer I wait, the more notice my question will get. But that also create risks that I maybe busy on the day the deadline is due.

UPDATE: Up to now, it seems that my best option is trying to wait as long as possible after setting the bounty, and self-control the schedule to review it. Thanks for all advices.

About my bounty question, I take the remaining problems out and create another smaller question. I think that's also an acceptable way.

  • @Hoàng Long. Why didn't you tag this discussion? Aren't you asking the community?
    – bernd_k
    Dec 28, 2010 at 10:24
  • @bernd_k: I don't understand. I'm fairly new, so maybe there are some rules that I don't know yet. Would you mind explaining? Dec 28, 2010 at 10:39
  • 1
    @Hoàng Long. These may help meta.stackoverflow.com/tags/support/info and meta.stackoverflow.com/tags/discussion/info
    – bernd_k
    Dec 28, 2010 at 10:46
  • @bernd_k: thanks for your comment. Dec 28, 2010 at 11:06
  • you can press as well the black arrow (this is a great comment you must hoover over the blank area left to the comment to see) if you find a link helpful. BTW 1) that doesn't increase my reputation 2) there is no undo for that .
    – bernd_k
    Dec 28, 2010 at 11:14
  • Okay, when you refer to "accepting answers", are you referring to actual acceptance (green checkmark) or bounty award (give the rep)? I'm aware you're on a bit of a time-table here, but it is a bit confusing. Your language suggests the latter, but I don't want to pre-emptitively tag this if it turns out to be wrong.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Dec 28, 2010 at 14:13
  • @Grace Note: actually, I think that the bounty should be given to the accepted answer. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:26

3 Answers 3


I'm assuming you are referring to this question.

I try not to think of the bounty award as not the answer that solves my problem/answers my question completely, but rather, the most helpful of them all. In other words, the answer that helps put me in the right direction. If no answer is helpful enough and the community agrees (due to lack of votes), you don't need to reward, just let it go. But do update your question and/or put comments why it isn't as helpful as you'd like and add clarifications to what you are looking for. If it completely answers your question, you can accept it as well. You still have the option to not select it as an answer if it doesn't. You are in no way obligated to accept the most popular answer (though it's highly encouraged that you accept the most helpful to you).

IMHO, wait as close to the deadline as you can to see if there are any other answers that may come and let others view the answers for what they think about it. And award it not because you have to, but you want to. Even if an answer comes early and is an obvious awesome one that gains upvotes very quickly, let it soak so the answerer can reap the benefits for taking the time. Let him/her know you appreciate the answer with an upvote and comment. Maybe even say that you will accept toward the end of the bounty if no other comes close. When the time comes close, reward it.

If you don't get the answer you were looking for, offer another bounty if you are in the hopes of getting a more detailed answer. Just remember to update your question to reflect that, perhaps with requirements. If it leads to a complete answer, you can reward and accept.

  • +1 for your sharing. I understand, but I just want to effectively use the "bounty" privilege. Not everyday I can be on StackOverflow, and I don't want my bounty go off. So I want to know: after how long I can stop waiting the best answer and deliver the prize? Dec 28, 2010 at 8:25
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    @Hoàng: IMHO, if you plan on putting up a bounty, either plan to commit up to 7 days to provide feedback, or at least show up within that time; for the reasons I explain above, aim for toward the end of the bounty. But if that's not possible, you don't have to and can show when it's most convenient to you. At least you're around to provide that feedback which is much better to have than none I think. Dec 28, 2010 at 8:39

I would offer bounties when I have an urgent problem at hand.

Consequently I would ask myself, does the answer help me to solve my problem.

Whether it is the best answer to the question doesn't matter (others may upvote the answer).

When an answer helps to solve the problem it's OK to accept the answer.

  • actually, in my case, I just got the answer that solve a part of the problem. My problem here is not urgent, cause I found a dirty work-around, but I still want to work it out elegantly. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:30

There are a couple options. (I realize the bounty period is over for the specific question.)

  • Wait as long as possible (subject to your time constraints), and award the bounty to the answer that was the most helpful at that time. It's kind of situation-dependent, but most likely you won't get a better answer before the bounty period ends. In the unlikely event that you do, you can always start a second bounty and award it to the now-best answer.

  • Let the bounty expire (or auto-award if any of the answers qualify). A good way to think of adding a bounty to a question is for simply giving a question extra exposure. It's like paying 50 rep to advertise your question for a week. Even if no answer gets the award, you can still upvote and accept the best current answer (+25 points total).

Also, let me just put this out there since you're new: please do not add and/or accept your own answer saying something to the effect of "none of these answers are suitable" -- it would be more appropriate to leave a comment on the answer you think is best saying, "if a better answer than this is posted [be it a new answer, or the owner figures out why the answer is correct], I will award it appropriately."

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