I just saw something for the first time where the user Community posted an additional bounty on this question. As it turns out, this user (Community) is a bot. I thought this was amusing, but I'm also curious how is a background process empowered to do this? What criteria must be met by an answer to trigger the bot to do post a bounty? How big can these bounties be?
Information systems that associate an owner with all objects in them need to account for what happens to those objects when their original owners go the way of all things.
What happened in this specific case is that someone posted a bounty and then self-deleted their own account.
Whenever that happens, the orphaned bounty is adopted by, or if you would, “re-owned” by the Community user (
user id == −1).
This is like how when the parent process exits while it still has running children, those orphaned child processes are adopted by init (
process id == 1), so that there are never any unowned processes.
It remains an open question whether the moderation team or the SE team will be manually awarding those bounties before they expire, or whether the default 50% unawarding process will be followed. My bet is on the latter, but I may be wrong.