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I have a question to which I have assigned a bounty. I want to break the question up into smaller ones and close the original as I think this will be clearer and more useful to other users. The question currently has no answers. Will I still lose the bounty?

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The reputation is taken from you in the instant you approve the bounty and can't be revoked under no circumstances - it clearly warns about this. Think of that as cash money you put in one-way deposit. – Shadow Wizard Jan 17 '12 at 12:17
I think if you get no good answers on a question then half the bounty ought to be given back to you. The current system heavily discourages large bounties on difficult problems as if there isn't a solution you just end up losing a lot of rep for nothing. – fredley Jan 17 '12 at 12:34
@fredley - I agree that full foriet is a bit harsh. Oh well you live and leaarn... – Shane Jan 17 '12 at 13:38
And who is going to decide if the answer is "good"? Could you get half the bounty back by just refusing to select an answer? – Bo Persson Jan 17 '12 at 17:38
@fredley - think of the bounty as an investment you're making to 'feature' the question, not a forfeit (maybe you'll disagree with this, but its the view that stack exchange as a whole takes). This is why it isn't wholly or partially refunded. – RobM Jan 17 '12 at 23:39
@BoPersson The community decides. If an answer has 2 upvotes that person would get half the bounty, as the system is currently. – fredley Jan 18 '12 at 9:55
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, there is no way to recoup reputation that you have offered as a bounty.

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Moderators can refund a bounty. They are only supposed to do that in exceptional circumstances. “I didn't get good enough answers” is not a cause for refund, otherwise bounties would mean nothnig.

If the bounty is recent, and you do repost a question and set an equal bounty on the new question (or several bounties spread over several parts, totaling the same amount), then it might be acceptable for a moderator to refund the bounty. You would have a moral obligation to spend the bounty again.

I don't think a refund is needed here though. I suggest that you edit your question down to the most important part, and leave the question open and the bounty running. Post the extra questions independently. Or, perhaps better (depending on how broad the question currently is), emphasize the most important part of the question, but leave everything; then, if even with the bounty you only get a partial answer, tailor your question to the answers you've given, and ask the rest as follow-up questions.

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