I have read various posts on bounties, as well as the help center. There, I find the following:

If you do not award the bounty within 24 hours of the bounty period ending, half the bounty value will be automatically awarded to the top voted answer posted after the bounty start, provided it has a score of at least 2. If no new answer matches this requirement, no reputation will be awarded at all, and the reputation used on the bounty will be lost forever.

Now I recently ran into a situation where an old question (to which I had posted an answer several months ago) was bumped with a (small) bounty from the OP. I decided to give it another shot, and improved my original answer with a substantial edit (which eventually led to my answer being accepted by the user, and several additional upvotes).

However - the user did not manually award the bounty; and given that my answer was not "new" (in the sense that I did not post an answer after the start of the bounty period), the fact that it was "new and improved" apparently does not make it eligible for the "automatic 50% bounty".

Now I don't care too much about 25 points - but I wonder: does this make sense? Would the "auto" rule make more sense if it was modified to award the bounty automatically to one of:

  • new answer with > 2 score
  • edited answer with > 2 score increase
  • accepted answer with > 2 score

in all cases, it would be awarded the highest-scoring answer that meets at least one of these criteria.

*) In the context of "the exception that proves the rule", the verb "prove" actually means "probe, test"; in other words, it is by examining the exceptional cases that one gets a better understanding of the (limits of the) rule.

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    $\begingroup$ It's difficult to automatically detect whether an edit is "significant" - the score increase might simply come from the answer getting more exposure due to the bounty, not from it having been improved. I fear this change might simply lead to all existing answers on a bountied question being edited by their authors in order to qualify for the bounty, instead of editing only when you actually have something to improve. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Jan 2 '17 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind - you make a fair point, but as long as the OP (or the person who awarded the bounty) follows through on their responsibilities, not much changes. And if they don't - would it be so bad if people made edits to their post, the entire question and answers got some more attention, and the answer with the most (new) votes got some of the bounty? $\endgroup$ – Floris Jan 2 '17 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ Surely this has already come up in / might be best posed in Meta Stack Exchange? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jan 2 '17 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I could not find a dupe - closest discussion I found was this one $\endgroup$ – Floris Jan 2 '17 at 13:46

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