I placed a bounty on this question to reward an existing answer. But it neither bumped to the homepage, nor can be seen on the bountied list. Where did my bounty go? When will it appear on the homepage?

  • $\begingroup$ If I look at the list of questions tagged conic-sections, it is at the top. Are you sure that when checking the questions, you're looking at the active tab? (Of course, if you view the list of the newest questions, ti won't appear there.) $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ My bad :( but whenever I view tabs, I can see only these sections: i.stack.imgur.com/QIerv.jpg Then what is the homepage actually? $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ We're probably talking about two different things. (Also, maybe you're browsing on a mobile device?) I was talking about the tabs available in the list of questions? Are you talking about the questions displayed here - probably this is called the frontpage or the homepage. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 4:45
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    $\begingroup$ I will add that the bountied tab in the list of questions shows that there are 70 bounties and it has two pages. The bountied tab on the frontpage only shows about 50 questions - so some of them must be omitted. (I am not sure whether this is documented somewhere in detail. I found an answer here which mentions 48 questions: Bounty - Page 1 & 2 Differences.) $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 4:54
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding previous comment: Yes, I am using a mobile device. But I just logged out and logged in again to check (what is) the homepage and it showed interesting tab. (Before logging out I changed the tab to bountied).So I thought it to be the frontpage. And unfortunately there's no tab called active as seen in the above picture. And I recently noted this question on the so-called frontpage after it got a bounty. But mine didn't appear :( $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 4:58
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    $\begingroup$ Yours is on page 2 of the list of bountied questions (currently 71). I don't know for sure, but they seem to be sorted according to how soon the bounty is to expire. Probably that is explained on one of the pages Martin Sleziak linked to. I'm fairly sure that bounties don't affect the choice of question displayed on the front page, when the choice is either Newest or Active (two of the most common). Users following the relevant tags or bountied questions in general will see your question prominently placed. Make sure that the tags on your question attract the right people to it. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ (cont'd) I now see that your bounty is to reward an existing answer. You may still want to add a few tags to it to make sure that more interested users see it. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen , thanks for your suggestions. But unfortunately I have no idea about other proper tags except the current tag. If you know please let me know. $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ This and this questions now appear on the so-called frontpage. They have got bounties after mine. I don't know what's going on. $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ACB Those questions do not have answers. (See some details of the scoring algorithm I have added below.) Is seem quite likely that at least users who have (conic-sections) among their watched tags (or top scoring tags) should see that question on the frontpage. You can try yourself to see what happens if you add this tag to your watched tags. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


This isn't by any means intended as a complete and definitive answer. (At least for some things I mention, I do not have a link to some kind of documentation saying this - they are mostly observations.) Still, I think that some of these things are useful to mention - and it is better to summarize them in an answer rather then leave them in multiple comments.

First, I will explicitly mention that a bounty bumps the question - so it will cause it to appear in various lists sorted by recent activity. (See the tag-info for bumping or the FAQ post: What can cause a question to be bumped?)

List of questions

If you look at the list of the questions, i.e., https://math.stackexchange.com/questions, you have several ways of sorting them. If you choose the active tab, you can see also the question where a bounty was started recently. The questions with bounties are shown also on the bountied tab. However, the sorting here seems to prioritize the bounties which are about to expire. Since at the moment there are 73 active bounties on this site, the recent ones will be at the bottom of the list. This means that to see your question, you have to go to the next page, even if your setting is to show 50 questions per page. (But over time it will get higher.)


One can also check the questions at https://math.stackexchange.com/ - I believe that this is commonly called the frontpage or the homepage.

  • You have the tab of bounties, but it only shows 48 items. So your bounty will appear there later - I would guess that when this question will be among the top 48 in the list of bountied questions, it will appear also here.
  • Mathematics does not have active tab on the frontpage - it has interesting tab instead. (If the information in the corresponding tag-info is up to date, Mathematics is one of the three sites that have the interesting tab. For example, if you go to https://mathoverflow.net/ you can see that you can choose the active tab. (Sorting in the interesting tab seems to be different - and rather complex. Still the description linked below says that it takes question's last activity into account. So a question that was bumped by a bounty should have bigger chance to appear there.)
  • If you check active tab on some page that has this tab of even if you manually change the URL on Mathematics, you can see that a question appears in that list after it was bumped by a new bounty.

More details on selecting interesting questions.

This blog post describes in detail how the questions on the interesting tab are selected. (I do not know whether it was changed in some way since this was posted.)

In this process, several things are taken into account. Some of them are individual - top scoring tags and watched tags for a specific user. However, things such as score, number of answers, score of answers are the same for all users. You can see that this algorithm is more likely to choose questions which do not have highly upvoted answers. To be more specific, when counting the score, these are some factors:

factor score change
question score +200 × score, up to +1,000 total
total answer score -200 × score, up to -1,000 total
number of answers -200 × answers, up to -1,000 total

So in the specific case of the question you linked, you have +1000 since the question has score $\ge5$, then -1000 since the total score of the answers is $\ge5$, and then -600 since there are 3 answers. So if compared with a question where all other factors (tags, viewcount, last activity) are the same, this particular question automatically has difference of -600 in score.

Score can be increased if the question has some of your watched tags. Temporarily, I have added and to my added tags. (These are both tags which the question currently has - and they are not very frequent, so I did not increase score for too many different questions.) After this the question is shown to me in the interesting tab somewhere around the middle of the page. Possibly another contributing factor was that I was looking relatively soon after you have edited the tags - which means more recent activity on the question. (When I display that tab in an incognito windows - as an anonymous user, so that the watched tags are no longer a factor - I do not see this specific question.)

Relevant links

  • $\begingroup$ As an experiment, I have tried adding (conic-sections) to my watched tags - which is one of the factors in the sorting algorithm. However, that wasn't enough for me to show that question on the frontpage. (OTOH I have also many other watched tags.) $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot for your support. $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know what is wrong with these bounties and me. When I was going to start the bounty, the list showed 100 as the minimum bounty. But as I've heard, it should be 50. But that's another problem. So never mind it. Thanks again. $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ @ACB This is explained in the FAQ on bounties: "If you have already answered the question before, the minimum bounty offer is 100." (The same post also says that if you already offered a bounty on some question, the next bounty on the same question has to be higher. Those are the two cases when there is some lower limit on the bounty amount higher than 50.) $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2021 at 13:50

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