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I may want to refuse it because one or more of the following reasons:

  • I don't deserve it
  • I don't like the user that started the bounty
  • I think it's not fair
  • Any other personal reason
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I think your decision to accept it was done when you posted your answer. In case you think other user made a better answer, you could upvote it, comment extensively in your own answer and/or leave comments. –  belisarius Feb 5 '11 at 9:48
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As an aside: what happens when deleting an answer that has been awarded a bounty? (And a reputation recalc is triggered.) –  Arjan Feb 5 '11 at 11:33
    
@Arjan: wonderful idea ;) –  user150926 Feb 5 '11 at 11:34
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I don't think deleting your answer is a good idea. It must have some useful information in there to be awarded the bounty. Other people may find that information helpful. –  Barry Feb 5 '11 at 11:40
    
@Barry: one technique would be to delete the awarded answer, do a rep recalc, then add a new answer (with the same content as the previous one we saved in a text file) –  user150926 Feb 5 '11 at 11:49
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@Pierre - Yes that would be one way. However, by setting up a new bounty there is the potential for new answers to be given and also you could reward other answers that people have already given. By deleting and then adding your answer again the bounty is simply lost. Other people may have put a lot of time and effort in to their answers in an attempt to win the bounty. Not awarding the bounty at all seems like a bit of a waste to me - especially if some of the other answers are very good. –  Barry Feb 5 '11 at 11:53
    
@Barry: thanks for your valuable input –  user150926 Feb 5 '11 at 11:55
    
I'm not sure about an auto-awarded bounty but normally it is awarded by Accepting and you cannot delete an accepted answer (w/o asking a mod). –  Henk Holterman Feb 5 '11 at 19:28
    
@Henk: originally, the bounty was tied to accepted answers, but that was removed. See the bounty faq for (what I think is) up to date info. –  yhw42 Feb 5 '11 at 19:55
    
@Pierre I can't wait to start a bounty on this. –  Benny Feb 5 '11 at 23:46
    
@Benny: I wasn't aware you could award bouties on question ;) –  user150926 Feb 6 '11 at 11:49

5 Answers 5

You can't refuse a bounty.

If you receive a bounty that you don't want then start a new bounty on the question for the same amount. Then award it to who ever think should get it.

Manually awarded bounties can be awarded to any answer regardless of when it was first posted or its overall vote count.

Auto awarded Bounties can only be given to answers posted after the the bounty was started and that have an overall vote count of 2 or more.

From the Bounty FAQ

Yes, you can award your bounty to any answer on the question. This makes it possible for users to reward particularly good answers with more rep than a standard upvote would provide.

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Can't you only award bounties to new answers? –  Box9 Feb 5 '11 at 10:48
    
@Box9 - see my edited answer –  Barry Feb 5 '11 at 11:03
    
thanks for the clarification. I got confused with automatic awarding of bounties, which is only on the highest new answer. –  Box9 Feb 5 '11 at 12:44

If you feel uncomfortable with that reputation gain, give it away yourself and wash your hands of it! Find valuable answers and award a new bounty for the same amount to them! If you thought another answer was more deserving, give it to them!

Note that this does not remove the bounty icon next to the answer, similar to how you can't remove the accepted answer check if your answer is accepted.

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Thanks for that elegant way to handle this issue. –  user150926 Feb 5 '11 at 12:42

Scrooge McDuck Reject sweet reputation points? Go see a doctor!

Seriously: It's not possible to reject a bounty as far as I know. Arguably, by answering the OP's question you agreed to potentially be awarded the points. Whether you deserve them or not is at the discretion of the OP. But as the other answerers already say, there is of course no reason not to start a bounty of your own!

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If you send me a box of chocolates, I'll accept them with pleasure. –  user150926 Feb 5 '11 at 9:54
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@Pierre now that would be an interesting bounty system! –  Pëkka Feb 5 '11 at 9:59

If the bounty has been awarded, there is nothing you can do, short of flagging the answer and requesting moderator intervention. You can, of course, set the same bounty amount on the same question and give it to the person you believe most deserves it, or on another question, but that won't remove the bounty award mark from your own answer. I haven't been able to determine how visible the bounty award is - for instance can I tell, by looking at your bounty awarded answer, who gave it to you and when. At the moment it doesn't look like that information is easily available, but I haven't looked at the data explorer, data dump, or some of the other features of the site (such as timeline).

If the bounty has not been awarded and you believe you might end up with it, delete your answer, and once the bounty period has passed undelete your answer.

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I think there's a problem here. The full text of the Creative Commons License under which SOIS publishes your answer has this clause in section 7b, Termination:

Subject to the above terms and conditions, the license granted here is perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright in the Work). Notwithstanding the above, Licensor reserves the right to release the Work under different license terms or to stop distributing the Work at any time; provided, however that any such election will not serve to withdraw this License (or any other license that has been, or is required to be, granted under the terms of this License), and this License will continue in full force and effect unless terminated as stated above.

I however don't have a clue what the provided part of the sentence tries to say.

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This is very interesting in the context of whether somebody can demand that their contributions to the site be deleted, but I'm not sure what it has to do with refusing a bounty? –  Pëkka Feb 5 '11 at 20:03
    
@Pekka - the implication is that SOIS cannot refuse a contributor from withdrawing his answer. Which rather automatically should withdraw the assigned bounty as well. Personally I have a use for withdrawing a post that was marked as an answer. It doesn't always land in the right spot. –  Uphill Luge Feb 5 '11 at 20:31
    
I see. Interesting. However, I think the text implies that SO does keep a perpetual right to publish the content, even if the licensor stops publishing it through other channels (something that may be important in other contexts but not SO's.) If that is correct, something posted on SO can be published by SO for all eternity. I would like to see this cleared up because it decides whether people who get pissed off about SO for some reason are allowed to vandalize their own contributions or demand a deletion - which would be terrible –  Pëkka Feb 5 '11 at 20:36

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