@dakre18 is wrong. Users are free to reward bounties to any answer they feel deserve it, they're not just intended to draw more attention to a question. One of the default reasons for bounties makes this obvious:
One or more of the answers is exemplary and worthy of an additional bounty.
If @dakre18 thinks another answer is more deserving of a bounty ...
I'll nominate this answer to a league-of-legends question.
This was during the ggClassic contest, a dark time for all of us who remember it. This answer was a great turnaround to both the quality of answers we were getting on all questions in the tag, and also a turnaround in the quality of answers on that specific question, as evidenced by tzenes's comment ...
You're required to wait 24 hours after posting a bounty to award it to an answer. Beyond that, it's up to you. Personally, I tend to wait the full seven days, even if I've selected the "reward an exceptional answer" bounty reason. The reason I wait is because until I actually award the bounty, the question remains in the Featured questions list, increasing ...
I am going to nominate this answer by Wipqozn. I love it because it gives a very detailed answer to my question, complete with pictures and stars and a map and everything. This was something that had vexed me for a while, so getting an incredible answer like this was just total awesome.
What you've described is how it works already.
When the asker doesn't manually award the bounty, it goes to the highest up-voted answer posted since the start of the bounty. If no new answers have been posted (or none have received upvotes), the bounty fades away into the ether.
I'd like to nominate this answer by badp. When this question was initially written, it was incredibly localized and was quickly closed. Even after being reworded to be more generic, I figured the question was unanswerable without a list of current values for all items (which would in turn need constantly updated).
By providing many links to sources of ...
If you don't manually award the bounty to someone, the awarded value will be automatically cut in half and will go to the highest-voted answer that was posted after the bounty started, given that it has a score of 2 or greater.
So, if you really, really want to avoid seeing your bounty given to an answer that is bad, your option is pretty much only to ...
I'd like to nominate this answer posted by Sadly Not to a League of Legends question.
Let's face it, it's extremely rare that we get quality content posted in this tag. When we do manage to get a gem like this, it is often overlooked due to the small number of LoL players active on the site.
I'm nominating this answer posted by FAE to a recent Guild Wars 2 question.
She's been a pretty valuable member of the community, providing a lot of quality content, and she puts a lot of time into answering questions for games about which she is passionate (I mean, look at her City of Heroes or Dear Esther answers!).
A bounty offered on a question cannot be awarded to the person who offered the bounty. See the help page.
How is a bounty awarded?
The bounty period lasts 7 days. Bounties must have a minimum duration of at least 1 day. After the bounty ends, there is a grace period of 24 hours to manually award the bounty. Simply click the bounty award icon next to each ...
No. Bounties are not refunded when they expire:
When does a bounty expire?
Bounties expire after seven days. You will receive several notifications a few days before this happens.
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 ...
As far as awarding bounties go, your rep is effectively yours to do with as you please. (After the imposed waiting period, of course.) You don't have to justify your awards to anyone.
That said, just like with down-votes, close-votes, etc., it is polite to leave some sort of explanation as to why you've awarded a bounty in a particular way. This especially ...
You can't start a bounty on per-site metas, as those sites don't have a reputation system, they just copy the reputation of the main site. Meta Stack Exchange does have its own reputation system, so bounties can be started there.
For main sites, bounties can only be started at least 24 hours after a question's creation.
Bounties cannot be refunded. It looks like the answer was given it because it met the criteria for automatic rewarding:
They were posted after the bounty was started, and
They have a score of at least 2 (at the time the automatic awarding takes place), and
They were not written by the bounty starter.
So half the amount was given to the person who got it ...
Because the cap is based on total rep gained from upvotes per day (possibly also suggested edits if your rep were lower) not net rep gain per day.
Reducing your reputation by any means does not alter the fact that you have gained the rep cap worth of upvotes.
Some things, like being awarded a bounty, or having rep returned due to serial voting reversal ...
"Association Bonus" is a 100 rep bonus given to all site accounts of a given network user, if the user has more than 200 rep on any site throughout the network. This is to unlock basic privileges without extensive participation.
I would like to nominate this answer by skovacs1.
It involved excellent research, and superb original pictures. The achievement the question was based on required many repetitive attempts on instanced areas, so this answer provides an excellent concise reference on where to look exactly. I referred to it many times while working towards the achievement.
I'm going to nominate this answer by Fluttershy.
It's a super detailed answer, with pictures and numbers and research, for (as far as I can tell from some brief internet research) a rather obscure game, and I think it is an awesome example of the quality content that he brings to Arqade :)
I would like to nominate this answer by Sean.
he did a well structured answer and with good references. He has being a great contributor for our community, not only with good questions/answer but also reviews and edits that improve our quality.
When you set make a bounty, you're allowed to pick one of several bounty reasons.
You're also granted a free form box to write things out in greater detail.
So, yes: you can set "whatever" requirements you'd like on your bounty (within reason). Just be aware that, once you do start the bounty:
You can only award it in the next 7 days
You cannot cancel ...
You should award the bounty if you are satisfied with the answer. I think the two main reasons for bounties placed on questions are: Giving the question more attention for better or more accurate answers or for rewarding high quality content.
Now one thing to note: Bounties are "paid" from your personal Rep. May it be for helping the community or for ...
No, there is not a way to add more rep to an existing bounty.
However, I think somewhere along the line you've got a little confused about how bounties work, and what they are for. I say this because you've put a bounty on a post you've already answered at length (a 500 word post!), having deleted your long answer.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing ...
Apparently you can't bounty a question you self answered for 50 reputation. The minimum bounty amount doubles with every successive self-answer bounty.
The idea is that such a bounty attracts upvotes to your answer and question and... it might just pay itself off. That's not how it should work.
Thanks for the assist, Yannis Rizos.