I set a bounty (50 pts) on someone else's question, as I found it quite interesting but there had only been one half-answer. I posted an answer, but felt someone else may have been able to put in more input.

After about 5-6 days or so, only one extra answer had been posted - and it wasn't as complete as mine. As no one else seemed interested and my answer was the highest voted, I 'awarded' the bounty back to myself.

...as I've now read, this loses the bounty? I don't understand this policy - I wouldn't have been 'gaining' 50 rep - I would just have recovered it (and on the highest rated answer too).

Even if I had cheekily awarded the bounty back to myself unjustly, I don't see that this would do any harm. The community would have voted up the best answers and the asker would accept the best question... so anyone trying to abuse the system wouldn't gain anything.

At the very least, I feel like I should have been prompted that awarding the bounty to my answer would lose it.


2 Answers 2


If you award a bounty to yourself you don't receive the bounty amount - this is to prevent people gaming the system.

If this was allowed then people could place a bounty on a question to generate more interest then post their own answer and award the bounty to themselves.

When assigning a bounty you are risking some of your reputation in order to get an answer. It generates more interest if there is an additional reward.

See the Bounty FAQ for how the system works

  • Thank, I'd read that question already though. I still don't understand what would be to gain by just getting your own bounty back on someone elses question?
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 9:34
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    @Mikaveli: That you don't lose that reputation. Example: You want badly an answer to a question, so you're awarding a bounty of 500 rep to it. After much work somebody figures it out, posts the answer and hopes to get the 500 rep as reward. But since we're cheating, we'll create now our own answer "xyz is right, but also blablabla..." and award the bounty to ourselves. Voilà, we have an answer and didn't lose reputation. Feb 7, 2011 at 10:08
  • @Bobby: I'm not convinced - if I badly need an answer to a question - why would I find someone else's question to stick a bounty on? Also, even if it was my own question - if my answer is the highest rated, wouldn't I deserve the bounty?
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 10:15
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    @Mikaveli: Of course you would deserve the bounty, if you've actually answered your own question. But the chance that somebody is trying to trick the system is way higher (like my example). So you don't get your own bounty. Feb 7, 2011 at 11:26
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    @Bobby: berry120's suggestion that the highest rated answer could be automatically awarded the bounty seems like a good approach. In my case, at least the up-voting of my answer recovered a decent percentage of the bounty I set.
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 11:36
  • @Mikaveli: The highest voted answer does not necessarily answer the question. Feb 7, 2011 at 12:02
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    @Bobby: That's why accepting the answer is a different thing. From my understanding, on a normal bounty question that's automatically accepted you get half points for highest voted answer (+2) and the other half for a accepted answer - couldn't we just use that system?
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 12:05

What you gain is the fact that your question has inevitably received a heck of a lot more attention than most over the period of time the bounty has been in place. Whether this produced any more good answers or not is kind of beside the point, if everyone could do this and not lose anything then we'd see every man and his dog with their question on the "featured" page for as long as they like without losing anything.

Only thing I can perhaps see is that if you don't manually award the bounty and you've got the highest answer, perhaps it should go back to you in the full amount (after all, I think that's fair if you genuinely have got the best answer to your own question.)

In terms of manually awarding bounties to yourself though, I think the system should stay as it is.

  • The point here, is that it isn't my question - so I don't gain anything by getting the question loads more attention. I've tried to promote someone else's question - and just happened to end up providing the best answer. Although I can see how this could be abused for your own question.
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 10:07
  • Yes, but whether it's your question or someone else's the point is similar. By "your question" I was referring to one that you wished to receive more attention, not necessarily one that you'd written. If this is a question that's particularly useful to you, there's plenty to gain by making it a lot more popular for a while!
    – berry120
    Feb 7, 2011 at 10:43
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    Maybe so, but if my answer is the highest rated - why shouldn't it deserve the bounty? The community usually upvotes the first correct answer highest etc, so I'm not sure how it's open to abuse?
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 11:06
  • If it's the highest rated and the bounty is automatically awarded as such then I agree, it makes sense for you to get the bounty back. Perhaps that's a corner case that could have its behaviour changed?
    – berry120
    Feb 7, 2011 at 11:32
  • I think that would be fair behaviour.
    – Michael
    Feb 7, 2011 at 11:34
  • I'm with you on this. I just lost over half my reputation due to putting a 50-point bounty on link. When I saw it was going to go unclaimed and unanswered, I did a source dive on ncurses and various terminal emulators myself. It's a complete and correct answer of a highly esoteric question, but I lose. Sigh!
    – nick black
    Jun 29, 2012 at 11:02

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