I recently asked a relatively well received question which was not getting any answers. I placed a bounty in order to get some more attention.

Finally I received one answer within the bounty period. However I did not feel the answer was sufficient to claim the bounty, it was relatively generic and the poster themselves implied some of it might "seem like nit-picks".

Although the answer was useful and I upvoted, I decided I wouldn't give it the bounty, to convey the message that I was after an answer which went into some more specific-depth.

I feel bad now, because a second upvote meant the answer automatically got half the bounty, but I had made the decision not to award it. I could've just as well given all the bounty to the answer.

What should I have done here? Is it fair not to award the full bounty if an answer is deemed by the community (through voting) to be worthy of receiving it?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "Is it fair" Does it matter? The bounty system wasn't introduced to make the SE system more fair. What is it that's really bothering you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 16:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mast Partly that it's wasted rep, partly that it might annoy someone to receive half when their answer passes the community threshold. Partly that maybe because the bounty is awarded at all, it gives the impression that I'm fully satisfied with the answer or the answer is somehow the right one. (Hosch's answer touches on the idea that maybe in CR, a different threshold would be more appropriate to stop the bounty being awarded at all in this context) \$\endgroup\$
    – Greedo
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I made the answer in hopes it would generate more answers (by being active), but it seems to have backfired there, instead attracting votes. That's certainly not a bounty-worthy answer. I'll bounty you back some rep, but you don't have any answers I can offer to. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate that you aren't offended, @Raystafarian. I was a little worried that this question would get sidetracked into a flamewar when I saw it, even though it is the most interesting meta question I've seen in a long time. \$\endgroup\$
    – user34073
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hosch250 no worries. Something that we do focus on at CR is several people posting several aspects of review - giving an entire review cumulatively. Bounties aren't really the best tool in that environment. It's almost as if they are something that should be offered to an answer after it's deemed worthy. But then, what tool is there to attract attention? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 21:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's well received because it contains a nice animation... and it doesn't get any anwers because it's VBA and hardly anyone uses it unless there is no other choice ;-] \$\endgroup\$
    – t3chb0t
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 18:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @t3chb0t hey, us VBA users are at least trying ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 0:14

3 Answers 3


I would have done the same thing as you. There is a reason the answer only gets half the bounty in this situation--it covers the case in which the OP is just being a jerk or forgets to award the bounty, but considers the fact that the answer may not be worthy of the full bounty.

The real problem here is how SE handles this case. We are a high-voting site. It's a bad answer that doesn't get 2+ upvotes. On SO, you are lucky to get 2+ upvotes. On PPCG, you are unlucky if you don't get 10+ upvotes on a participating answer that meets the requirements. This 2-vote auto-award needs to start taking this into consideration. Whether it will start taking this into consideration is another question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess it depends on what language, I never really see 10+ upvotes. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't think I deserved the bounty the OP is talking about, but if you look at [VBA] you'll see that less than 5% of all answers have 10 votes. (57 / 1287). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's certainly true that voting trends vary substantially between sites. It's good to remember when looking at someone's rep from a different site, but this is the first instance I've heard of where an absolute vote threshold is applied without renormalization across all sites, and certainly a great candidate for a discussion of taking this into consideration. Maybe some day we will have "universally normalized reputation" or unirep ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 7:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ "On PPCG, you are unlucky if you don't get 10+ upvotes on a participating answer that meets the requirements." This isn't entirely true. I have 185 answers on that site, of which only one has more than 10 upvotes (to be precise, it has 11). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 23:28

I would recommend giving a comment to the answer and saying that you deliberately did not award the bounty because it didn't meet your expectations for a bounty-worthy answer.

I would have done the same thing. It is up to the bounty-poster to award the bounty or not - as long as you know what you are doing and why, and explain that to others, it is your decision to award the bounty or not. If an answer is not worthy of the full bounty, then it should not get the full bounty.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought it's better to award the bounty anway so it's not wasted and later if someone else posts a better answer you can just move it there. \$\endgroup\$
    – t3chb0t
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 18:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @t3chb0t AFAIK you cannot move a bounty after rewarding it, at least not for an unlimited period of time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 21:42

Is it fair not to award the full bounty if an answer is deemed by the community (through voting) to be worthy of receiving it?

Two upvotes is not exactly the whole community deeming it worthy of bounty. Particularly considering that you gave one of the upvotes, reluctantly. After all, should you have not upvoted just so as to avoid the appearance of community approval? It would be somewhat different if it were twenty upvotes or something like that.

People posting answers on a bountied question have no right to reputation. Would you be worried about them if someone posted a better answer? If not, then why are you worried about them when they are guaranteed to get half the bounty? They'd get nothing if you awarded the bounty to someone else.

The bigger question is the waste of reputation. Because you lose the bounty reputation either way. Would you rather it disappeared into nothing or go to someone else? If you'd rather waste it than award it, that's your prerogative.

  • \$\begingroup\$ sunk cost fallacy: the reputation is already lost/wasted/you name it. The only question that should logically remain is whether the answer is worthy of the extra reputation or not. Not whether you should waste it or not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 21:03

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