I placed a bounty on one of my questions, expecting to select the bounty winner after the 1 week period had ended (assuming that this would allow everyone who might be interested to have a chance at providing a possibly winning answer.) This morning I went to choose the bounty winner and discovered that the bounty had disappeared and I can only select the winning answer but not assign the +100 bounty to the submitter.

What happened to that bounty? Why can't I wait the full 1 week before selecting the winner?

  • I can see a +50 on this answer. Perhaps it is related? – MrHen Mar 31 '11 at 15:47
  • I saw that too. – oosterwal Mar 31 '11 at 16:44

The 1-week time period is an upper limit. If you don't select an answer before it expires, a winner will be auto-selected to receive half of the bounty; the winner is the highest scoring answer which was posted after the bounty started (if there is a tie, the oldest wins). If the would-be winner has fewer than 2 votes, no answer receives the bounty.

You can see in the revision history that Community chose an answer. That is how an auto-award is displayed.

See also How does the bounty system work? and the bounty section of the FAQ (a link to which is shown when you start a bounty).

  • +1: I was just responding to my own question when your answer popped up. – oosterwal Mar 31 '11 at 16:48

I think I found the answer here.

What happens if there's no answer after the bounty period?

What is automatic awarding?

At the end of the bounty period, if the bounty starter has not manually awarded the bounty, eligible answers can be automatically awarded half the bounty amount. The criteria for an answer to be eligible for automatic awarding are as follows:

* The answer must be given after the bounty was started
* The answer must have a score of at least +2

If two or more eligible answers have the same score, the oldest answer is awarded the bounty.

If no answers meet these criteria, the bounty ends without it being awarded to any answer, and is not refunded to the bounty starter.

An accepted answer that does not meet the above criteria is still ignored by the automatic-awarding system.

I'm guessing the 'Wife' answer was selected automatically because it had the same score as the 'Limerence' answer but was a little older.

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