I added a bounty for a question in order to find the canonical answer.

@Valorum found a plausible answer, however, as the wiki didn't referenced it, the answer was shared.

The bounty will end in 6 days and, even though there are some comments popping up, it seems like the answer is "We don't know" (from @ian-thompson).

I am aware that "We don't know" can be an approved answer, but in this particular case there is a bonus involved.

How should I proceed in this situation? Should I accept the answer or wait till the end of the bounty period?

  • 4
    I wouldn't accept it. We don't know is only acceptable (in my personal opinion) if it's accompanied by a list of the dozens of references that you checked.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 18:56
  • 9
    Definitely wait till the end of the bounty period. Even if you do eventually decide the "we don't know" answer is good enough for the bounty, you might as well wait to see if something better comes in.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 19:39
  • 4
    With almost any bounty, you're doing the question author and the users who answered a disservice if you award the bounty prior to the time it naturally ends. The bounty provides significant additional visibility to the question, which is a primary reason for bounties to exist. This extra visibility translates to more votes on the question and all answers. Ending the bounty early will result in the answer which gets the bounty not getting some of the votes it would have had the bounty been allowed to last for it's full time. Actually, there will be fewer votes on all answers and the question.
    – Makyen
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 20:26
  • Neither, you should have given it to the other guy ;) who told us what we do know.
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 1:02

1 Answer 1


Wait until the bounty ends

Bounty questions are special, in that they get more attention than normal questions. When you created the bounty you paid for that attention. Ending it early is a bit of a waste in that regard. Just let it ride until it ends. You might also get another answer. I would only end early if you got such a phenomenal answer that nothing else could top it.

Only accept answers you feel answer the question

If you think "we don't know" is acceptable, then accept it. If not, then don't. There's no right or wrong there, but I can tell you it's not a good idea to accept answers that you don't feel answer the question. I once asked this question on SO. I got a good answer, but it explicitly did not answer the question. I gave him the bounty (it would be a shame to waste that rep), but I never accepted it as an answer to my question.

  • 2
    Is it a good policy to give the bounty even if one doesn't find the answer acceptable? And can one give the bounty (for the effort - as you have done) without accepting the answer? Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 5:37
  • 2
    I gave the bounty reward because your two alternatives are 1. Let the system award a half bounty automatically 2. Award no bounty at all and the reputation you spent just disappears. Awarding a bounty and accepting an answer are two distinct actions, and neither depends on the other.
    – Machavity
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 17:16

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