After setting bounty to a question, if the question remains unanswered till the end of the bounty period.

  1. Why the bounties are not refunded as there is no one to award?
  2. Or why there is not a mechanism to extend the bounty period to some point to get an answer?

It will be nice, if anyone explains the reasons. Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    You spend the bounty points to get more attention to the question for a certain period of time. Whether or not you get answers, you have gained the benefit for which you paid. You can always add a new bounty after one expires. Mar 12 '13 at 17:50
  • Lolz, thats a compact answer! But I supposed, bounty is only to award someone (of the answerers). Did not think it as an investment for certain period of time, as stackoverflow does not need my bounties to consume. ;) Mar 12 '13 at 17:55
  • Incidentally, your question isn't really a good fit for Stack Overflow; it is very broad, and is basically asking for a tutorial or just 'general guidance'. I left you a comment on the question. Mar 12 '13 at 18:05
  • 1
    I think this is a bad policy. Why penalize users for offering a bounty? There's no cost to the community to have the bounty, in fact we want there to be lots of bounties available so that there will be a selection to chose from if you want to go for a bounty. If there's at least 1 answer then maybe we should be forced to award the bounty but if there's no answers then why punish the question asker? It's a bad incentive structure on a network with otherwise really clever incentives to promote quality contributions/activity.
    – Hack-R
    Sep 2 '14 at 13:23

When you assign a bounty to a question, you are pretty much "paying" for extra attention. Your question is shown on a separate tab on the homepage, and on the pages of the tags with which your question is tagged.

The Stack Overflow community, by going to this tab and viewing your question, spends time away from the other questions on the site. This time spent can range from a few seconds, to several minutes, as some bountied questions require quite elaborate answers. This is time that could have been used to answer non-bountied questions.

Therefore, bounties aren't refunded if questions aren't answered because you are spending rep to gain attention, not answers. The fact that you may get an answer is different, and a result of the increased attention you get.

It does flow from user to user if you get a good answer. The point is that bounties take up the time of other users on the site, reducing the chances of a non bounty question getting an answer. If bounties were refunded in the case of no answer, everyone would be putting bounties on everything. Right now, the fact that you don't get that reputation back no matter what happens prevents users from using bounties if they do not absolutely need it. They'll often research their problem more and find solutions instead of putting up a bounty.

  • My point is, stackoverflow is all about the users! bounties should flow from user to user (if possible, the users considering/trying to answer the question). Whats the point to consume bounties by stackoverflow itself? Mar 12 '13 at 18:07
  • @SazzadurRahaman I've edited my post to include an answer to your comment. It was too big to fit into a comment. Mar 12 '13 at 18:12
  • Yea, Now I've got it, thanks for the explanation... :) Mar 12 '13 at 18:13
  • @SazzadurRahaman No problem. Happy to help :) Mar 12 '13 at 18:14

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