I previously asked this question: Hide votes for answers on questions with bounties? and this is also related.

I suggest excluding any answers submitted before the bounty was offered from being able to be awarded the bounty. They are obviously not what the OP wanted.

If a significant edit is made to an answer, then I can become eligible to receive the bounty.


An answer submitted before the bounty was started already cannot be automatically awarded the bounty This is confirmed by Jeff's answer here, with exactly the same rationale that you use:

It is not possible for an answer prior to the bounty start to be auto-accepted.

The assumption is that the bounty owner was not satisfied with any of the existing answers at the time the bounty was started.

You would have to award that answer the bounty manually, and I really can't see a compelling reason to prevent users from deciding to apply the bounty to any answer that they want.

This is especially true when you consider that bounties can be started on questions by users other than the person who originally asked the question. What they find most useful may be very different from what the original asker found helpful (and/or decided to accept). thanks Arjan for reminding me of this!

Also consider that some people might start bounties on their questions as a way of rewarding a second person who posted a helpful answer. Since the system only allows you to accept a single answer, people who don't think a mere upvote is sufficient use bounties to provide extra "bonus points" to a second answerer who was especially helpful in solving their problem.

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    Especially true for bounties started/awarded by someone else than the original question asker. – Arjan Jul 22 '11 at 12:53
  • And also true if the OP does not get any better answers after starting the bounty, and then decides to award it to an earlier answer — even though the OP apparently was hoping for a better solution. – Arjan Jul 22 '11 at 12:58

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