12

Ever since I started contributing to SE I was always told, that a bounty is not refundable under any circumstances. And yet one of my WPSE questions was marked off-topic and my reputation used as bounty was returned to me (to my extreme surprise).

Why we are calling bounties "not refundable under any circumstances" if there is at least one circumstance, when they're refundable and reputation used is comming back to the one who offered a bounty?

16

It means that you can't ask for your reputation back.

Emphasis here is on ask for it to be refunded. It will not be refunded.

If the post is deleted, it is as if it was never there, so as if a bounty was never posted on it (if undeleted, you would lose the reputation again). That is not a manual refund.

The point of the phrasing is so people will not ask to get the reputation back ("I made a mistake", "I didn't get an answer", "I didn't realize I would lose reputation", etc...).

  • As in my comment to Patrick Hofman: Sorry, but I can't understand, how adding sentence like "If your bounty-question is closed or deleted your bounty-reputation will be returned to you" can result in users asking for manual refund, extensive moderator time etc. There are two completely different cases for me. On contrary, for me saying "Bounty is not refundable under no circumstances" means, that I will not get it back ever, even if my question is closed or deleted. – trejder Jun 7 '16 at 9:58
  • Well, that's the point of that phrasing. So people do not expect to get it back. Getting it back under edge cases is a nice surprise, but should not be expected. – Oded Jun 7 '16 at 10:03
  • I don't 100% agree. On rare cases where it was really honest mistake, users can flag and ask moderator to cancel the bounty. I'm pretty sure I've seen couple of those cases in the past. Rare, but possible. Also, this might happen with bounty started on off topic question that should be closed. (then those who want to close will flag) – Shadow The Burning Wizard Jun 7 '16 at 13:51
8

Because if we tell there are some circumstances that allow bounties to return to the sender (if a moderator closes the question or migrates it for example), everyone will ask to get their bounty refunded. This will cost precious moderator time. Or someone could beg to delete their question, also costing unnecessary time from moderators.

If you place a bounty, you should expect to lose the reputation forever. If a moderator manually refunds the bounty to you, or anyone else, that user is just lucky.

  • The moderator did not refunded anything to me. Refund was (as I understand it) automatic after my bounty-question was found off-topic. Sorry, but I can't understand, how adding sentence like "If your bounty-question is closed or deleted your bounty-reputation will be returned to you" can result in users asking for manual refund, extensive moderator time etc. There are two completely different cases for me. On contrary, for me saying "Bounty is not refundable under no circumstances" means, that I will not get it back ever, even if my question is closed or deleted. – trejder Jun 7 '16 at 9:56
  • 3
    A question can't be closed by regular users during a bounty period, only a moderator can. So he refunds the bounty and closes the question. – Patrick Hofman Jun 7 '16 at 9:59
6

It's primarily intended to put some sense into users, since they should realize they can't simply ask back their reputation points invested in the bounty, if:

  • they don't like / don't use the answers they get
  • they don't get any answers at all
  • they find the answers themselves

Your circumstances are quite rare (maybe a moderator can find out how many times this happens?), as the 2-day waiting period usually allows for enough time for off-topic questions to be identified and closed. Not all edge cases are described in the rules.

For example, if you fail too many review audits on Stack Overflow, you'll get banned from review, but sometimes if you appeal a questionable audit on Meta Stack Overflow, the moderators may lift your ban, but this procedure isn't mentioned prominently in the site rules.

  • I think finding those occurrences back is difficult, since the entire bounty is just entirely removed as far as I know. – Patrick Hofman Jun 7 '16 at 9:12

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