I've seen some behavior from the bounty system that I did not expect, though it couldn't be called official unexpected behavior. One example is this question. I've been working on it for about 3 months, and if I remember correctly I've had at least one bounty on it in the past with no results.

This time I hit gold. I placed a bounty for +300 and received two excellent answers. I wanted to award points to both. I've learned here that there are anti-gaming measures in SE that have the result that whenever you add a second bounty to a question the number of points must be higher than the first.

Since I'd seen progressions in steps of 50 before, I assumed that the next bounty I could generate would be +350, but it wasn't. In fact I only had one choice, +500. So I generated it.

Now there is a third answer that is also potentially bounty-worthy. So I would like to ask ahead of time, in this case is it possible to generate a third bounty, or have I "run out" at two?

What about if I had started lower, would I have had more bounties available and it's only because I've started at +300 that I've run out?

Why were choices between +300 and +500 no longer available for the second bounty?

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  • $\begingroup$ If there had been a mechanism such that I could have just done 3 $\times$ +300 and be done with it in this particular case, that would have been ideal. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 14 '17 at 9:04

The help centre says the following about bounties:

Additionally, if you offer multiple bounties on the same question, the minimum spend doubles with each subsequent bounty (50 reputation on the first bounty, 100 reputation on the second, 200 on the third, and so on).

This is slightly misleading as it gives the impression that the first bounty is anything equal 50 or above, the second 100, third 200, etc.

However, it is not a "minimum spend" that doubles each time, it is the actual spend! That means if your first bounty was for instance 150, your second bounty must be 300 or higher.

There is one exception from this: Once you have "maxed out" your bounties, you are still able to place as many 500 bounties as you wish (as long as you have the rep, that is).

This explains the behaviour you observed:

  • You placed a bounty worth 300 rep, causing the threshold for the next to double to 600. As that is more than the maximum allowed amount, the only option left is the unlimited number of 500 bounties.
  • $\begingroup$ Is that one exception stated/documented? That I will still be "...able to place as many 500 bounties as you wish..." I'd just like to be sure I'd get a third one. Is "...on the third, and so on..." the only evidence of this, or does it say somewhere explicitly that you can add at least three (one at a time of course)? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 14 '17 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ It worked. I guess that could be considered additional evidence. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 23 '17 at 3:24

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