I think, should you choose, you should be able to return award reputation you obtained from a bounty, possibility in the first week. Why? (Well, why not?)

I would like this feature as I recently answered a question that had no answers around 6 days left. The author of the post (who did not own the bounty) gave me the accepted answer maybe 4-5 days left. With less than 24 hours to go (I think 5) another answer was posted.

I obtained the bounty, but I feel neither my answer, nor the other answer, were really the best possibly answers. While my answer was 'accurate', I was secretly hoping that someone who knew more about it than me would post. As such I can accept being 'accepted answer' as I answered the question, but as far as a bounty I don't feel it was informative enough.

There's probably reasons not to do this, but I figure if it was purely at the discretion of the person awarded the bounty it couldn't 'hurt'.

EDIT: As mentioned by droid you could answer your own question on another account and then send it back (thus getting answers, and maybe even easy attention for views / reputation). So I figured maybe require reputation to send it back (I was thinking same as setting a bounty (75), NOT counting bounty awarded). With this friends could still cheat the system, but if it was done often would seem easy to catch.

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    You can always put a new bounty on the question with the bounty you received. This would allow other to look at it, and you could see if any better answers show up. Jun 22, 2012 at 14:44
  • Of course, you need to be a more established user to do this... Jun 22, 2012 at 14:44
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    @DavidManheim Considering the bounty was placed in the first place probably means this would be a good 'use' of the earnings. In this case it's not an answer I'm really interested in (unless there actually is a complete fix answer), so I figured it would be nice to return my 'ill-gotten rep' (as ManishEarth tastefully put it :) )
    – Fewfre
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


Assuming you're talking about this question:

First off, the bounty was auto-awarded. See the revisions-- since the bounty was awarded by Community♦, it was an auto award.

If the OP does not choose a post to award the bounty to, half the bounty amount is awarded to the post with the most upvotes (having more than two upvotes) which was posted after the bounty period started. In this case, it was your answer which got auto-awarded.

Returning the bounty is slightly counterproductive--bounties are for getting attention, and the rep isn't "lost" if a good answer wasn't recieved. The rep was "payment" for the question getting "advertising" by being in the featured tab. See this post for more details.

So, if we're not going to refund bounties, all we can do at most is destroy the bounty rep you received. That seems pointless to me. Be happy with your ill-gotten rep ;-)

  • Fair enough. I could also put on another bounty if necessary (if not 3 already on), but I felt would be nice to be able to return it. But considering it as 'advertizement cost' is a good point, I just didn't see it that way as I got it.
    – Fewfre
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:19

It could hurt. If you have multiple accounts you could game the system by answering your own question and then awarding your other account the bounty.

  • ahh, I knew there would be a way it could be taken advantage of... hmm... and considering they wouldn't be 'gaining' reputation, might be harder to catch. Sounds silly, but maybe require 75 reputation? Would still allow friends to help them cheat, but make it a bit harder and not worth making an account for.
    – Fewfre
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:00
  • @droid That would take a bit of work, correct? To start a bounty you need 75+ Rep, and the lowest you could offer is 50. Which would reduce you to 25, thus needing to build back up.
    – Ryan B
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:05
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    @RyanB I thought he meant have the new account answer it and award it back to the real one.
    – Fewfre
    Jun 22, 2012 at 14:46
  • @Kyomu, I started my comment a little before you, but got a call that delayed my reply. I still think you would need several accouunts or people with a few hundred rep to pull it off. I only have 530 rep on SO, and put in a decent reply when I answer. I know I wouldn't just give it to my buddy/dummy account for kicks.
    – Ryan B
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:17
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    @RyanB My post is about possibly returning bounty amounts. With that train of thought, you could get all the attention / answers / possible reputation you need from a post, make a new account, hap-haphazardly reword the best answer, award the new account the award form the original, and then have the new account send it back to the original that would then have effectively lose no reputation without much effort. Or at least that's what I felt he was getting at.
    – Fewfre
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:27
  • @Kyomu Sorry to go OT. I understood what your post is. My point to droid's answer is basically, would that take more effort than it would be worth? AFAIK the only real power you get is either at 3000/5000 or 10k, right?
    – Ryan B
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:30
  • @RyanB Awarding a ten 500 point bounties would be 5000 points. If you could make 10 fake accounts and award them back to original through the use of sock-puppets, you could get a week of 'advertizement' for 10 posts at no cost. And assuming they are your questions / answers (or even both), you could gain a lot of reputation from it (or just an 'unfair' 'advantage' over other posts).
    – Fewfre
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:40

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