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I placed a bounty on a very old question, to encourage new answers as it was overlooked at the time. There are a few new answers as a result, but the attention has resulted in new upvotes on both the new answer and the old answers. I said I would assign the bounty to the highest voted answer when the time is up, but the bounty is due to expire and the highest voted answer is from 2011, thanks to its recent new upvotes.

I would like to assign the bounty to that old answer in recognition of the appreciation finally shown to it.

I would also like to assign the bounty to the highest voted new answer, which I find the most impressive.

Is there a general guideline to which would be preferred?

In future I will always specify whether the bounty is intended for new answers or all answers, but since this (my first bounty) doesn't specify, I want to know the general feeling, or any relevant rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's your bounty from your reputation, so you can award it to whoever you want regardless of what you've said previously. I think you should award it to the answer you feel deserves it most out of the two you've narrowed it down to. \$\endgroup\$ – Gareth Apr 23 '14 at 13:41
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It is your own bounty, so you may dispense it as you choose. You can change your mind from what your intensions were when posting the bounty. If you radically change your mind, you might explain it in a comment if you wish.

But after the bounty is awarded, all of the supplementary text is removed. So you do not need to strictly adhere to any of the bounty criteria. There will be no record.

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Seeing as you said:

I will award the bounty to the highest voted answer when the time is up.

you don't really have much of a choice, do you?

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's what I'm trying to find out. Out of context, this would mean the highest voted answer, new or old. However, the context is a bounty because "this question has received insufficient attention", which suggests the best new answer will be rewarded. That's the conflict which I'm looking for feedback on. I'm very happy for either of the answers mentioned to be rewarded, but I'd like to make a choice that fits with how the community views bounties. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Apr 23 '14 at 12:27
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The approach I went with was:

  1. Answer some questions
  2. Make some rep
  3. Assign bounty to both answers

This seems to wrap it up nicely.

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