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I need feedback and an authoritative answer for my question on who/whom, but I now feel my current bounty is a little small for the purpose. How can I increase the bounty I just posted on this reopened question.

Reading up in this topic, I found that there have been many previous feature requests, especially at meta.SE, asking why a bounty cannot be increased after setting it. In fact the bounties FAQ don't seem to make it explicit that a bounty cannot be increased.

So I originally thought 100 points is a good bounty and I could raise it to 200 if required. I just don't understand how it could possibly be unfair to the first answerers: increasing the bounty would certainly not make their answers 'ineligible' in any way to receive the increased bounty, would it! [In fact if picked they would be better rewarded with a higher bounty.] Because any answer being not good enough is not my reason for increasing the bounty: I just felt I should have posted a bounty of 200 in the first place, but I realized it a few minutes after posting 100.

Is it true that a bounty cannot be increased once set; and if so, why not?

I have added the feature-request tag and am willing to raise it as a separate feature request here if required.


The Question is reopened, and now there is a 100 point bounty.

How do I choose between ‘who’ or ‘whom’ when the subject pronoun is murky?

  • Original comment transferred from main site: I "think" only a mod has the power/ability to increase or delete a bounty. If for example you want to withdraw a bounty (this happened once to me) ask one of the mods to do this, explaining the reason. As for increasing the bounty, same thing, ask one of the mods in chat, or ping them in meta and explain that you would like to increase the bounty. – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 9:02
  • See meta post about chat: Chat: how do I use it right? – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 9:28
  • This SE Meta post explains who can be "pinged" Who can be notified with this feature? – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 9:35
  • @Mari-louA I have contacted tchrist at the linked page for help increasing the bounty to 200 points. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 9:54
  • You have 3000 points and you couldn't afford a serious bounty you know like 400 or 500? What are saving those points for? – green_ideas Jul 21 '17 at 2:21
  • @Clare yes, I clicked 'set 100' and within minutes felt I should have set it higher. I was under the impression that the bounty could be raised with doubling while still active: 100 to 200 to 400 was what I intended. – English Student Jul 21 '17 at 8:52
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The existing answers by Mari-Lou and NVZ are entirely correct. The canonical FAQ is on MSE: How does the bounty system work? This answer is correct as of the time of posting, and is specific to the circumstances described.

Bounties are bounties, and it's not possible to alter them once they have been set. Moderators do have some abilities, but they don't cover amending bounties.

In some circumstances, it's possible to cancel bounties, but the only circumstances where a bounty might be cancelled are to allow an egregiously off-topic question to be closed, or where the bounty notice is offensive, or some similar exceptional case. Your question is on-topic and there is no reason to cancel the bounty.

A bounty can be manually awarded by the donor after its period has ended, to the answer the donor feels deserves it. If that doesn't happen within a reasonable time, then the system makes the decision: half of the amount is awarded automatically to the highest-voted answer written by someone other than the donor, scoring at least +2, which was posted after the bounty started. The bounty donor cannot receive the bounty, even if his answer is otherwise eligible.

In this case, there is an answer which is eligible for that half-bounty award, so it's not appropriate for moderators to take action which could prevent that happening. That is, it would not be appropriate to cancel the bounty only to find that you didn't reinstate it. Indeed, if mods were to cancel the bounty and you did reinstate it, that answer would not be eligible for an automatic award based on the increased amount, because it was posted before the new bounty.

Currently, one answer will get half the bounty if you don't award all of it. There is nothing stopping you starting another bounty; and, if you want to award the new bounty to a specific answer, there is a bounty notice which explicitly indicates that ("One answer is exemplary..." or similar wording).

So: if you think the existing eligible answer is worth more than +100, award the existing bounty explicitly and then start another bounty with the intention of awarding that as well. As NVZ has written, the new bounty will need to be double the previous one.

If you don't think the existing eligible answer is worth even +50 of the 100 you have sacrificed, I'm afraid you're out of luck. That's the gamble with bounties: a bounty effectively buys an advertisement, and someone who answers the ad well is eligible for a reward which comes out of that fee.

Note that if you wait for the current bounty to end and then start a new bounty, only answers posted after the new bounty starts are eligible for the automatic half-award. So if you feel that it may be possible to get even better answers with a new bounty, you can encourage them. It's not necessary to post a new question; but if you do feel another question would help, it needs to be sufficiently different that it's not a duplicate.

  • Thank you for the clear and detailed explanation. The only question that remains: is it possible to add another bounty of 100 points to this active bounty such that each answer is eligible for award of both bounties? If not, I will wait for the bounty period to expire, take an appropriate decision how to award the bounty, and post another 200 point bounty if required. – English Student Jul 20 '17 at 10:48
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    No. A question can only have one bounty at once. (And for completeness, any donor can only have three bounties in play at once). – Andrew Leach Jul 20 '17 at 10:49
  • Thank you. I am satisfied that the current bounty serves the intended purpose of drawing sufficient attention to the question, and I'm hoping that a senior or expert member will notice the Q because of the bounty and post an authoritative answer 'in the interest of future users' or at least critique my answer & suggest corrections/improvements, which is the purpose of asking this question. – English Student Jul 20 '17 at 10:53
  • Actually, if mods were to cancel the bounty and you did reinstate it, the answer which is currently eligible for the half-award would not be eligible for an automatic award based on the increased amount (because it was posted before the new bounty). So there are two reasons not to do it. I'll see if I can work this into the answer as well. – Andrew Leach Jul 20 '17 at 10:55
  • In other words, once a bounty is set, it is not fair to allow any change that could possibly prejudice an answer from receiving the bounty. Since I believe in perfect fairness, this answer is perfectly satisfactory! So I accept and upvote. – English Student Jul 20 '17 at 11:02
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    Thanks for settling the matter. There is another situation where the mods can withdraw a bounty, it happened to me. I had set a sizeable bounty on somebody's question, but almost immediately the OP edited his question, and changed it so much (despite my reproach) I no longer wanted to be associated with the post. Oh, yes... he started asking two, three more questions. I contacted the mods at ELL and they cancelled the bounty and my rep was returned. – Mari-Lou A Jul 20 '17 at 11:36
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    @Mari-LouA Yes, that's a rather unfortunate exceptional case. I wasn't aware of it, but that seems entirely justified. – Andrew Leach Jul 20 '17 at 11:37
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I think you'll have to wait for the current bounty period to end, and in case you want to offer another one, it will have to be double the previous bounty, and that's by design.

For a concrete answer, let's hope for one from a moderator.

See FAQ for more info

  • I read the Help pages and bounties FAQ but found nothing specifically preventing the bounty setter from increasing it before it expires. Maybe it is not common, but if nit forbidden by the current rules then why not do it? I have stated this and flagged my question for moderator attention. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 20:34
  • @EnglishStudent my guess is that moderators can maybe remove the bounty under exceptional or rare cases, but they cannot place bounties for you. You'll have to post your second bounty with the doubled amount then. – NVZ Jul 19 '17 at 20:42
  • Wellm if they remove the bounty I can post a new bounty for 200 myself! That would be a solution if they feel it can be done. I await their response to the flag. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 20:46
  • @EnglishStudent although I said they can cancel bounties, I don't think you'll get it back. – NVZ Jul 19 '17 at 20:50
  • in that case I should like to wait for the response -- I did not ask for cancellation of the existing bounty anyway. The text of my moderator flag can be found in my comment to Mari-lou A's answer here. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 20:52
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When no answer is forthbringing, sometimes you gotta hunt it down.

The OP would like to increase his bounty from 100 to 200 on his question.

Unfortunately, according to the answer posted on Stack Exchange meta: “Opened a bounty for lack of attention, now I want to increase the bounty because answers lack quality,” once a bounty has been set, it is too late to change it.

You can't change an active bounty after offering it. Besides technical complications, I imagine it would be unfair to the users contributing answers at the time the original bounty was offered, because by changing it you're telling users that their once-eligible answers are no longer acceptable, thus wasting their effort in a way. […] @BoltClock's a Unicorn, Jul 7 2012

Currently, there is only one answer eligible for the bounty and I highly doubt the poster would protest or be overly upset if the bounty offered were doubled.

An even older answer on SE Meta shows that this rule governing bounties has not changed since October 2009.

Increasing the value of a bounty after setting it

To answer your question, no you can not change the bounty after offering it. Your options are to :

  • Keep modifying your question every day of the bounty with new things you've tried to keep it active
  • Allow it to run out; award the bounty and re-ask with new question
    @George Stocker

But on rereading this answer carefully, I would not recommend either solution! It is not advisable to modify a question once users have posted answers, I would opine that it is unethical. And it is against current guidelines to ask the same question twice. However, the answer posted in 2009 did receive 9 upvotes, and no mod intervened to clarify or correct the statement.

  • Thanks for enlightening me. I originally thought 100 points is a good bounty and I could raise it to 200 if required. I just don't understand how it would be unfair to the first answerer: increasing the bounty would certainly not make their answerer 'ineligible' in any way to receive the increased bounty, would it! In fact if picked they would be better rewarded with a higher bounty. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 16:01
  • @EnglishStudent I only posted and answer to see if a mod would now be motivated to reply and provide further light. We shall see. – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 16:03
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    @EnglishStudent There's nothing to stop you from letting this bounty run, then setting another at 200 rep (the minimum, or your previous bounty on the question; see faq). – Laurel Jul 19 '17 at 16:11
  • @Laurel it just seems a waste of time, the OP wants to increase it now. Why should he wait eight days? OR he could award the bounty tomorrow, and on the same day set a new bounty of 200 points but that means he loses a total of 300 points. – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 16:18
  • @Laurel that's a good default idea which is already possible within the current rules. 100 points is not a bad bounty: it certainly serves the purpose if making it a 'featured' question with the resultant distinctive attention. it's just that who/whom seems to perceived by many as a dreary and complicated topic: quite unpopular! However I'm hoping that a senior or expert member will notice the Q because of the bounty and post an authoritative answer 'in the interest of future users' or at least critique my answer & suggest corrections/improvements, which is the purpose of asking this question. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 16:29
  • @Mari-lou explained the question in greater detail, including the observations I had made in that comment. – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 16:45
  • @EnglishStudent much, much better question. It now deserves an explanation and an answer from the powers that be. – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 16:48
  • @Mari-louA thanks; it makes sense that we ought not to decrease a bounty or retract but does it actually say anywhere in the Bounties FAQ that we can't increase a bounty once posted? And do you think the apparent unpopularity of the who/whom topic is the reason for the low response? – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 16:55
  • Yes, to your 2nd question, which is why I had suggested a juicier bounty in a comment which I deleted. As for Q1, I think I have done more than my fair share of helping you out. Ask these questions to a mod. – Mari-Lou A Jul 19 '17 at 17:00
  • So I went back to the question that now carries a 100 point bounty, @Mari-lou A, and flagged it for moderator attention with this message: "I posted a bounty of 100 points but feel that I should have posted 200. I can''t find anything in the Help pages or bounties FAQ that says an active bounty cannot be increased. So I request you to raise the bounty to 200 points or give me the opportunity to do so. I have also raised a meta question to better understand the situation." – English Student Jul 19 '17 at 17:38

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