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Bounties exist to motivate answerers, and help questions get the answers they deserve.

A few weeks ago I received my first bounty, +50 for my answer to this question. It was a two year old question, but soon after I posted my answer, NautArch put a bounty on the question. In the related banner, they said they specifically wanted to reward my answer, as it described my actual experience in implementing the suggestion. The reason for their bounty was clear, and at the time, would serve as a motivation for myself and others to write similar answers to other questions. (Now that the week has passed, I have collected the bounty but the banner is gone - it still motivates me, but it is not clear how it would motivate others no longer able to see Nautarch's intention. Regardless...)

Yesterday I received a +500 bounty for my answer to this question, an answer I wrote four months ago. The bounty is from "Community". If there was a banner listing the reason for it in the week prior, I did not see it, and I don't know how to see it now. +500 is huge - about 5% of my reputation total. Apparently the answer was well received by something or someone, but I don't see that I can know who, or why. I certainly appreciate the bounty, but am unclear on what it is supposed to motivate if I cannot know why I received it.

That particular answer was accepted, but it is by no means my only accepted answer. It received numerous upvotes, but it is not my most popular answer. It is currently my most popular accepted answer, but absent any other indication, I would hesitate to think that that is what the bounty is "for". For example, it is also my shortest accepted answer - perhaps the anonymous moderator or automated program that goes by Community has a fondness for pith?

In short, what behavior is this Community-awarded bounty supposed to be motivating, and how would I know?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akix related MSE posts: "Add bounty remarks to a question's revision history" and "If an answer receives a bounty, the bounty reason should be available alongside that answer" And the answer to the first seems to mean the record is publicly available, just use SEDE \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Apr 3 at 12:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is also currently possible to see the bounty reason and who placed it: It was user60913 (seemingly now deleted) wanting to "Reward existing answer", though any specific comment will not be available until SEDE updates. Note, I also know almost nothing about SEDE or how it functions \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Apr 3 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I guess you should post that an answer. That is a neat tool. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Apr 3 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 that info is also visible in the question's timeline and in its edit history. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 3 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 the comment will be available once it updates - supplying more information than available through the history. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Apr 3 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Ah right, I forgot to mention where I got the information; it was indeed from the question's timeline. I wonder if that's a bug since the bounty doesn't use the deleted user's ID but the post-notice application/removal both still do... \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Apr 3 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 If you can blithely say "just use SEDE", then at least compared to me I wouldn't say you 'know almost nothing about it' [you know that it exists] or 'how it functions' [you were able to use it to get an answer]. I understand that it involves running a script - I don't know where I would even input that script. Apparently bounties 'exist to motivate answerers', but only those who are 'professional and enthusiast programmers'. \$\endgroup\$ – Kirt Apr 3 at 16:42
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The laudable behavior is unknowable.

Because the user who started the bounty has deleted their account without ever telling you why they awarded the bounty.

So the bounty exists and you got it. And the system needs some user of record to have awarded the bounty, so Community gets the honor.

See also Who is the Community user? (meta.SE) See also Bounty notices are attributed to no one when the owner is deleted (old meta.SE)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The user wasn't deleted yet when the bounty was awarded, so I'd guess it was awarded manually. Otherwise it would have waited another 5/6 days, no? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Apr 3 at 3:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I thought I'd noticed the deletion earlier than this morning... but I could certainly be recalling incorrectly, and you (IIRC) have ways to check that timing. If that's the case I could rewrite with a bit less guesswork/confusion =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 3 at 3:08

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