The current bounty system is broken.

I ran into the issue listed in this question: Can MS Certificate Services be a Subordinate to CA created with OpenSSL

The only answer was "you are using the wrong tool for the job". I know that's not a true statement, so I created a bounty hoping someone would come along and give a better answer.

Now I get an e-mail from serverfault saying that my bounty will be automatically awarded.


  1. The bounty is being auto-awarded to the answer that claims openssl isn't the correct tool for signing certificates.
  2. There are no other answers (valid or not)
  3. I can't 'retract' my bounty
  4. Why can't a bounty stay open indefinitely until someone actually answers the question? Especially if the asker hasn't marked any answer.
  5. I don't care that 4 other people up-voted the answer--it's still a bad answer.
I have similar concerns - although I disagree with you on some points. It's important to remember that a bounty does not guarantee an answer (of any quality), however I think the threshold for auto-award of the bounty is far to low. I'd would like to see it moved to five (or more) upvotes before the bounty system can automatically award a bounty. –  kce Sep 27 '11 at 3:18
Let's be really clear here. The poster NOT say "you are using the wrong tool for the job". He said "but I don't think OpenSSL is quite the tool for the job". –  John Gardeniers Sep 27 '11 at 3:39
One thing I can't quite work out. Why did you post a bounty when you don't like the terms? Why do that and then come here and complain about it? –  John Gardeniers Sep 27 '11 at 3:44
Wow, I didn't notice he bounty on that. Been a bit busy. If nothing good comes up I may add another bounty. Feel free to propose edits to make the question better. –  Zoredache Sep 27 '11 at 8:54
Since we're on this topic. I had a question where the bounty had expired and no one was awarded any points. Would it be worth to have some kind of silent bounty (by silent, I mean not show up on the publicity board) if the points go unawarded that they can still be given if someone in the future gives the answer? –  Nixphoe Sep 27 '11 at 14:39
@Nixphoe, I like that idea. The bounty would in effect be held in escrow, rather than simply being thrown out the window. –  John Gardeniers Sep 29 '11 at 1:37
To answer some of the comments--I breezed through the FAQ barely reading it. I'm not blaming anyone for losing points (or reputation or whatever it's called)--I don't care about that. I care about the term bounties being misrepresented. 'Bounties' in every other sense of the word are awarded upon delivery or completion of a task. Here, they are just handed out to the highest voted answer regardless of accuracy. It's not a huge deal though--if that's the way the community wants to function, so be it. :) –  Aaron C. de Bruyn Oct 5 '11 at 2:55
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2 Answers

I don't think you read the bounty rules. The email links to the bounty rules; click that link.

Auto-award can only occur when

  • answer is provided after the bounty begin
  • answer gets at least 2 votes

The one answer isn't eligible because it was provided long before the bounty started.

(you can mouse over the "in 22 hours" part of the bounty message to see the start and end dates of the bounty, but since bounties only last 7 days, and that answer is from more than 6 months ago it's kind of obvious in this case...)

I've read the FAQ and like I said--I still think it's broken. Regardless of what re-definition of 'bounty' is put in the FAQ, a bounty is a sum that is paid on delivery (in this context) of an answer. –  Aaron C. de Bruyn Sep 27 '11 at 2:48
@Aaron what is delivered is publicity -- this is like complaining that you took out a classified ad in a newspaper (it's like a blog, but printed on dead trees) and had to pay in advance. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 27 '11 at 4:29
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Hmmm...I was under the impression that a bounty would only be awarded for an accepted answer. To do otherwise seems a little unfair to me, as the bounty could be awarded for something that although was interesting did not answer the original question.

Half of the bounty amount will be awarded to a question if it has two upvotes, to award at least part of the bounty to (theoretically) good answers - if it doesn't answer the question, hopefully it doesn't get upvotes. Without this in place, there's less incentive to answer bounty questions, as there would be a chance that an accurate answer would get none of the bounty due to abandonment. Case in point is my answer to the question at issue - you'll see that it only got +25 of the original 50 point bounty. –  Shane Madden Sep 29 '11 at 0:45
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