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How does the bounty system work?

After I start a bounty, is it possible to award it to an answer that was posted before the bounty started?

Is there anything that prevents me from saying in the question, "I'll really appreciate if you help me with this, and if I like your answer, I'll start a bounty two days from now and I'll award it to you retroactively"?

  • 1
    Good question! This wasn't in the FAQ, so I added it (and, yes, am voting to close this post as a result, to keep things centralized/organized). – Pops Jan 5 '11 at 17:11
  • @Pop Consider linking the FAQ in your comment. – Grace Note ModStaff Jan 5 '11 at 17:12
  • @Grace, thanks. I expected the close vote to auto-comment with that link. Not sure why it didn't; am I missing something about that behavior? – Pops Jan 5 '11 at 17:14
  • @Pop It's not a bug, just some goofed witchcraft. You can blame me for this instance. – Grace Note ModStaff Jan 5 '11 at 17:21

2nd paragraph

Sure you can make such a note, but why even bother? Sounds to me like you wanna throw your rep needlessly. You can start a Bounty anytime (24hrs after asking), so such an incentive/promise is just not needed. The Bounty system was done so as to attract extra attention to the Question, in case the existing Answers aren't satisfactory.

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    Well, yes and no. You can start a bounty only 24 hours after the question was asked. If you need an answer urgently before that, promising a bounty is fair game – Pekka Jan 5 '11 at 17:22

Yes, you can award a bounty to any answer regardless of when it was posted. This is in fact an often accepted practice for rewarding particularly liked answers.

The only restriction based on the timestamp of the posting is the eligibility for the auto-award when the bounty period elapses.


Yes . You find it in link text

Can I award a bounty to an old answer?

Yes, you can award your bounty to any answer on the question. This makes it possible for users to reward particularly good answers with more rep than a standard upvote would provide.

  • Actually, I just added that text to the FAQ after seeing this question. – Pops Jan 5 '11 at 17:15
  • That's a race condition. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/73468/bounty-points-refund/… proves that knew the FAQ before. – bernd_k Jan 5 '11 at 17:29
  • that wasn't an attack on you, sorry if it sounded like it was. I just kind of felt bad about having an answer pointing the OP to the FAQ when, if the OP had checked the FAQ before asking, she wouldn't have found the answer. – Pops Jan 5 '11 at 17:34

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