I am curious as to how the bounty was awarded on Is Greatsword superior to Greataxe?.

  • All four answers were posted before the bounty was placed.
  • The top answer was accepted before the bounty was placed.
  • It appears that the top three answers received the same number of up votes during the bounty period.

So I am curious as to why it was awarded to the third most popular answer?

PS: I'm not digging for more rep. Just curious as to if there is something I'm missing.


3 Answers 3


In this rare case, we know the exact reason.

That's because the bounty-offerer posted a meta about that bounty a few days back. Quoting the relevant portion:

The third answer I find really great, and I wanted it to get some attention.

(I think I recall in conversation with the user that it's the presentation and depth of analysis in the third answer that knocked their socks off.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree it is a well done answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 4:03

Bounties are awarded by users, and not by some democratic process or measure of correctness.

Bounties may be awarded for any reason, or no reason. The user may decide to award a bounty to an answer simply because it looks like the answerer spent a lot of time on it. They may decide to award a bounty an answer they feel has some particular insight despite not being entirely correct. They may decide to award a bounty to an unpopular answer as a consolation prize.

So you would have to ask the user their personal reasons for choosing to give the bounty to that particular answer.

However, there is the exception when a bounty times out. Bounties have a time limit, and if the user does not specify an answer to award it to, then automatic awarding takes place:

What happens if I feel my question is still unanswered? / What is automatic awarding?

Approximately 24 hours after the end of the bounty period (once the grace period ends), if the bounty starter has not manually awarded the bounty, the bounty may be awarded automatically.

If the author offered the bounty, and accepted an answer that was posted after the bounty was started, that answer is awarded the full bounty.

Otherwise, all or half of the bounty is awarded to the highest-scored answer out of those which...

  • ...were posted after the bounty was started, and
  • ...have a score of at least 2 (at the time the automatic awarding takes place), and
  • ...were not written by the bounty starter.

If the chosen answer was accepted by the question owner, it will receive the full bounty. Otherwise, it will receive half the bounty. If two eligible answers have the same score, the older answer is chosen.

If no answer meets any of the above two criteria, the bounty is not awarded to any answer, and is not refunded to the bounty starter.

For more info on how bounties work, check out the StackExchange Meta question "How does the bounty system work?".


I awarded the bounty

While I really think the awarded answer is great, and obviously a lot of time and effort went into it, I consider those the norm on this site, so I would not have spent 50 points just for this.

The question lacks the optimization tag, but it is only relevant for those who care about being as effective as they can.

What really motivated me was how much I disliked the accepted and most popular answer, because it was a non-answer answer*. I downvoted it, but it did not seem enough.

Netzach Sephira's answer is very deep and thorough, but it is mostly about a niche case, relevant for less than 5% of all potential Greataxe users.

I awarded the bounty to Jack Aidley to highlight the answer most people will find useful: if you are not a Half-Orc Barbarian, Greataxe is simply inferior. He also provided very sound reasoning.

*I have the feeling it comes from someone who does not like or understand the importance of math in RPGs. The summary makes the difference between Greatsword and Greataxe seem mostly decorative.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am well versed in math and the graphs supplied in Jack's answer actually support my answer not refute it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ravery where did you say "Greataxe is inferior"? \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 21:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "The greatsword has a high chance of average damage making it slow but steady". Over all in the long run, the greatsword only has a 5% advantage over the greataxe.... most people would call that negligible. You would call 4.5 hits vs 4.75 hits at 40 HP a great advantage? In a case by case probability, the greataxe has a twice the chance of killing in one fewer hits, but that comes at a price. both of these situations are demonstrated by the graphs you gave the bounty to. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 23:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note: those "averages" given by his table give an 8.8 average damage per hit for the greatsword, and 8.6 average damage for the great axe. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 23:44

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