Is there a protocol for/anything you can do about a bounty expiring simply because the OP has not revisited the question?

I recently posted my first answer to a bounty question, for which I was pretty excited since the bounty q's are generally quite involved. I was proud of my answer and it was generously up-voted, but it seems the bounty expired before the OP saw my answer.

  • $\begingroup$ Others would know better, i think there is some sort of grace period, then the system awards the bounty if there is only one answer. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ I see, the grace period just started like an hour ago, so I will update this post tomorrow night... Thank you @WillJagy $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 2:45
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What, the 50-point bounty on the probability measure question? The points you get from upvotes on that question will probably measure more than the points from the bounty. (Yeah, weak pun, I know). $\endgroup$
    – Mr. Brooks
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 22:25
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Mr.Brooks or a weak$*$ pun?? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see, I had to reread the question details. Yes, I suppose. $\endgroup$
    – Mr. Brooks
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done about a bounty setter who has abandoned their bounty. Note that the bounty setter is notified via the site notification system, and email, if possible, that their bounty is about to expire. Beyond that there is a fail-safe, of sorts.

First, the bounty period does not end at the end of the bounty period (huh?) but instead is automatically extended by 24 hours, a so-called grace period during which the bounty setter can still manually award the bounty. If, at the end of the grace period, the bounty setter still hasn't manually awarded the bounty then we get into possible "automatic awarding".

  • If the bounty setter accepted an answer that was posted after the bounty was set, that answer is awarded with the bounty.
  • Otherwise half of the bounty is awarded to the highest scored eligible answer, where an answer is eligible if it

    • was posted after the bounty was set;
    • has a score of at least +2; and
    • was posted by a user other that the bounty setter.

    If two or more answers fit all the criteria, the half-bounty will be awarded to the answer that was posted first.

(This, and more, information about the bounty system, can be found in the Meta Stack Exchange bounty faq.)

  • 12
    $\begingroup$ A sidenote: the bounty setter awarded bounty to charlestoncrabb about an hour after this question was posted. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:19

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