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I have a question which has not been answered the way that I want it to and I am thinking of setting a bounty on it, but the problem is, according to all of the answers, what I want is not possible.

I am just afraid to lose 50 rep or so if all my answers simply say it can't be done.

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You seem to be conflating "didn't get The Correct Answer" and "I don't like the answer". If all your answers say it can't be done, doesn't mean they're incorrect. Sometimes, it just means the correct answer is "can't be done" (e.g. reversing a hash). – Piskvor Jan 7 '11 at 9:46
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, bounties don't come with a guarantee of an answer.

Be aware that bounties can be automatically awarded (for 50% of the value) even if you don't manually award it.

If you do not award the bounty during the period, half the reward will be automatically be awarded to the top voted answer posted after the bounty start provided it has a score of at least 2. If no new answer matches this requirement, no reputation is awarded at all.

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The fact that you don't get your rep back might seem unfair if you think of bounty as paying reputation for an answer. However, if you shift your thinking to a bounty being a payment for publicity or advertising, then the whole thing makes sense. That, and the more practical reason that someone could offer a bounty and then not award it once they get a good answer, in order to keep their rep. – Cam Jackson Nov 9 '11 at 22:45

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