So a couple of weeks ago I ran into something that I couldn't figure out, and I considered it a hard question. So I posted a question on stackoverflow like I sometimes do. I had planned on offering a bounty if there were no answers, because I wanted something urgently. However to my surprise, it was answered within 30 minutes with a suggestion that solved my problem. I decided to come back to the question and award a bounty to it because I was grateful.
When assigning the bounty, I chose the option "Award existing answer". In the message, I wrote something to the effect of "Hey thanks for this answer it really helped me out. Here, have 50 of my reputation."
Yesterday I was working hard, like I sometimes do. I had a lot of browser tabs open, opened another one to do a little google search for something. Wouldn't you know it, stackoverflow.com was near the top of the results, so I clicked on something that looked like it might be what I was after. When the window opened, it had a little red "1" indicating that I had something in my inbox. I assumed it was the person who answered my question commenting on the bounty I was about to award them. Since I was busy but I hate seeing that little red 1 inbox icon, I clicked it. Because I didn't want to lose my train of thought, I clicked the +50, confirmed it, and hit the back button to go back to what I was doing.
So it turns out that I made a mistake and accidentally awarded the bounty to a new answer to the same question. Then I asked this question on meta where someone suggested I ask the person to delete their question so that the bounty could be refunded. I did this, and the answerer obliged, but the deletion was undone by moderators to preserve the mistakenly awarded bounty.
I was also told it was a duplicate of this answered question. However what I do not understand is if "the whole point of raising a bounty on your question is to attract attention", then why is one of the reason options when starting a bounty to "Reward existing answer - One or more of the answers is exemplary and worthy of an additional bounty"? I had not created this bounty to attract answers, I had simply done it to award an existing answer.
Now it was only 50 points, and I also awarded 100 to correct my mistake as suggested, but I have given up trying to get anything back -- it's really no big deal. What I am still curious about though is why my attempt to reverse the bounty was thwarted by moderators. According to this, "When an answer that received a bounty is deleted, all reputation including the bounty are revoked. (This may take 5 minutes to be visible.) The bounty is not given back to the user who awarded it." This is what I was able to accomplish by requesting it from the user it was awarded to, but that action was undone by others. Why?
We all know that everyone makes mistakes. SO does a decent job of warning us with the
alert('CANNOT BE UNDONE'), but that's not really true because it can be. So, was my undo attempt undone because it would cause additional work for a developer to manually reverse the data? Was my attempt an exploitation of a loophole in the bounty system that needs to be closed? Is it because I am not really a SO customer, and that's who they are focusing on (ad placers and employers)? Or some other reason?