It might be from a bounty of 500, from a user who deleted his account. But the blue +500 flag is still attached to the question, so everybody who sees it will think that I have only about 300pt apart from that bounty.

What's the logic in deleting such a bounty at all? And: I would suggest to remove the bounty-flag as well.

Edit: A few hours later the graph was updated, and didn't show the bounty any more. Not 500 up, and 500 down, but as if it never happened. The question is still decorated with the 500-award, but its tooltip does not show any name either:

Missing author name

  • 2
    None that I can think of. Quacks like a bug. Apr 5, 2011 at 4:01
  • I find it surprising, as I thought bounty was cash: once you give it, it's not attached to your account anymore. Guess I was wrong.. Apr 5, 2011 at 11:30
  • @Shadow No, bounty isn't cash, it behaves just like every other form of reputation - it's tied entirely to the participating posts and users in the exchange. Break one, it all goes away.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 12:25
  • @Grace then why is it reduced from the member reputation when it's invoked rather then when it's given? Apr 5, 2011 at 12:38
  • @Shadow To represent an investment of the votes. Whether or not there is a recipient, there's still the initial investment.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 12:43
  • @Grace thanks for the new perspective, didn't think of that. Apr 5, 2011 at 12:53
  • 1
    @user, as it wasn't you who changed the title: are you sure you want the "or the indicator should be removed" in it? Despite Grace's explanation of how this apparently works, I'd say the only bug is that the bounty is lost. (Related, also a bug in my opinion: Keep rep from deleted posts that were valid when asked.)
    – Arjan
    Apr 7, 2011 at 11:03
  • @Arjan: Headline is nearly okay, since I had it as conclusion in my question. Since I don't appreciate the main decision, it should be somehow marginalized, for example: "..., at least the indicator must be removed". I'll do it myself Apr 13, 2011 at 13:26
  • 1
    I'd say: leave a lesser perfect implementation up to the developers, and don't ask for that ;-)
    – Arjan
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:27
  • 1
    I guess it's actually "When account is deleted, its awarded bounties should not be taken away from the recipients". (In your example, it was already awarded, and then taken away at a later time. Bug, I'd say.)
    – Arjan
    Apr 13, 2011 at 14:15

3 Answers 3


I say it must be a bug that the awarded reputation is lost. Nick commented March 28th:

Just FYI, community now takes over the bounty for users who are deleted but have an active bounty...to ensure it's awarded (half, since it has to be awarded automatically) correctly, since users did put extra effort into answering those questions in many cases.

This comment would not make any sense if the reputation would be lost after all?

  • It seems that kind of feature would be contradictory to other points in the system, as deleting a formerly bountied question also reverts the effects of bounties after a recalc. However, as revealed in another question, there's quite a few oddities when it comes specifically to bounties and deletion, unlike with other votes and such.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:44
  • 1
    By "active bounty" he means it's still attached to a question; it hasn't been awarded yet (hence "to ensure it's awarded") Apr 13, 2011 at 14:08
  • 3
    True, @Michael. But when doing the above to be able to award the bounty if a user is deleted before the bounty was awarded, then why remove the bounty when a user is deleted after a bounty has been awarded?
    – Arjan
    Apr 13, 2011 at 14:11

Going forward bounties from deleted accounts will be moved to (owned) by Community and will be awarded at the end of the period as they normally would (e.g. when the bounty starter doesn't award and 7 days is up).

While we can't fix history here, it will be more correct/fair in the future, especially since people put extra work into their bounty answers.

  • 1
    +1 I believe it's just fair. Good answers should be rewarded, not punished, even when the OP account is deleted.
    – Aleadam
    May 3, 2011 at 1:36
  • @NickCraver The other moderator (GraceNote) said that the bounty is reverted from having been awarded in the first place., and you don't say like her. What are we to understand?
    – AndréC
    Aug 23, 2019 at 15:59

Deleted users, like deleted posts, revert all reputation changes that they influenced. All of their votes are removed, thus any uprating or downrating no longer are in effect. And consequently, like what would happen if the bounty question were deleted, the bounty is reverted from having been awarded in the first place.

Bounty isn't some sort of cash exchange - it essentially represents one user earning the value of the votes another user earned. When a user is deleted, votes on their posts no longer provide any reputation value, thus the bounty can no longer have a source.

I'm inclined that in keeping with how the reputation system works (as a representation of earned votes, and keeping in mind that deleted users have their votes reverted), the former is not something that should be implemented.

I'm personally of mind that the latter is a bug that should be fixed, though. Acceptance is another facet that is visually retained post-deletion, but grants no reputation. I can see the logic of mirroring this behavior with bounties, but because of the explicit numeric representation of bounties, and the lack of any other mechanical influence they have (acceptance pins answers), I don't see any good benefits, mechanical or otherwise, to retaining the bounty marker from deleted users.

  • I don't see the analogy: 'consequently, as if the question were deleted ...'. The question is still there, the answer is still there. I cannot revoke any reputation, as long as I'm a registered user, but when I sign off, all reputation gets liquid, and vanishes. A curious decision, IMHO. Votes from a user, who, in contrast, never logs in again, but doesn't decline explicitly, stay forever. For the quality of a question or an answer I don't see a difference. Apr 5, 2011 at 14:56
  • @user If a bounty question is deleted post-bounty (a very rare event, but entirely possible), the reputation change is reverted. It's not a philosophical analogy, but a mechanical one. This is also the kind of reason in which we generally suggest that users do not get their accounts deleted.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 14:58
  • Looks like inverse logic to me. Users shall not get their account deleted as a kind of bugfix, instead of fixing the software. There are valid resons to close your account: privacy, for instance, or dispute with moderators. None of them invalidates an answer or question. Apr 5, 2011 at 15:37
  • @user A deleted user is the same as a user who just reads the site - their matching factor is that they have no account. I'm not attempting to try and logic this - deletion just means no account. Posts can exist without an account, but votes and reputation do not. That's how the system works. And as such, we've always preferred people to not delete their accounts if it can be avoided. It's not intended as some sort of retroactive bugfix.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 15:41
  • @user I'm not saying that deletion is a bad thing, and it's certainly justified and acceptable. But deletion because means the destruction of the account, it simply carries with it all of the consequences that having no account produces.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 15:45
  • Well, you don't call it a bugfix explicitly, but your whole argumentation is about technical consequences from deleting the account as an empirical fact, and not about reasons which justify the behaviour of the software. Why shouldn't the reputation reflect what users did, when they were users? Apr 5, 2011 at 16:01
  • @user Reputation, as currently designed and has always done so, does not reflect that meaning, regardless of whether it should or should not. It represents the current state of the system, not the history of interactions. This is what makes it traceable and represent something that people can determine what every point comes from when looking at any user. This is what lets us do things like delete our own erroneous answers, so as to remove the penalty of accrued downvotes.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 16:11
  • @user I'm here to explain to you why the current system removes bounties from deleted users, which is tied to this design of reputation as a measure of the visible present. To make reputation reflect the history of contributions, the effect on bounties is but a fraction of that kind of change, so I feel that discussing the merits of what reputation should represent will be far out of the scope of this inquiry.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 16:15
  • @user I'll also take this point to give an advance "sorry" in case the above comes off as dismissing your argument. I don't mean to do so. The fact remains, though, that as long as the reputation system does run on its current state model as it is now, then that is the basis on why bounties, like everything else, are retracted.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 16:29
  • The description "The system is meant as it is" disallows any improvement, if taken seriously. You know it is tautological, and don't feel comfortable with this explanation, I guess. But it is inconsistent. If I look at the questions, answers and comments from a deleted user, the up- and downvotes are still visible. So if somebody earned points to do a donation, it could be traceable where he earned the points to do so. It was a decision to implement the system the way it is, and I think that I'm not the only one having difficulties to accept the underlying logic. (...) Apr 5, 2011 at 18:42
  • (...) A deleted user could be marked as deleted. <p> I can live with the 500 point loss, I was warned before, and knew that the donation was made as a kind of harakiri-good-bye. But please understand that I'm not going to mark your answer as 'accepted'. I think, for later people in similar situations, the system should be different. Apr 5, 2011 at 19:06
  • @user I don't mind the lack of acceptance, this is Meta after all, so acceptance needs your sanction. But I believe that in order to change how this works, it requires a fundamental change to how the reputation system as a whole works. And that is out of the scope of a bug report/support question that this inquiry is. I actually do believe in the current system's functionality, but this is not the place for me to argue that point. I welcome you to suggest that we change how reputation as a whole with regards to deleted content, it will get more visibility than our exchange here ever will.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 19:08
  • 2
    @user To tackle the specifics for this inquiry, though - the votes are visible on their posts, but they have no effect because there is no account with which to associate them to. Mentally, it's traceable. Mechanically, it isn't. It's likewise that votes are still visible on deleted posts - these votes have no impact on reputation, though, because the corresponding post does not exist. One can definitely see what impact those would have had, but once again, they mechanically are not traced.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 5, 2011 at 19:10
  • I have already understood, that the system, as it is now, doesn't allow to trace the points with an deleted user. I upvote your comment to honor the work of explaining it (while a single explanation would have been sufficient). :) Apr 5, 2011 at 19:22

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