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If I'm a sheriff in a small town, and I have a bounty for some common thief, I don't have to bury the money if nobody was able to find that thief.

Alternatively, if I'm a big tech company, and I have a bounty on some bugs, I don't throw that money away if those bugs didn't get fixed.

I think the use of the name "Bounty" is misleading. Even though it sounds much nicer, as long as the user doesn't get refunded when the question wasn't answered, it's not a bounty - it's a Promoted Question.

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    It is actually a "featured question", which is precisely what the UI calls it. Your argument is rather silly, though. If you're a fictional sheriff in a small town who pays a bounty-hunter in magical beans, then you do have to bury those beans even though he wasn't able to find the thief. No one plays Stack Overflow with real money. – Cody Gray Sep 7 '16 at 10:47
  • The town doesn't bury the money if nobody catches the criminal. You're actually pointing out an inconsistency in the UI, where on the question itself it's called "bounty" but when listing the questions it's called "featured question". – Asaf Sep 7 '16 at 10:53
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    This question has also been asked & answered on EL&U. Short story is "bounty" is an appropriate and apt word from an English semantics perspective. – Dan Bron Sep 7 '16 at 11:26
  • Related (MSO) meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/332721/… – Bart Sep 7 '16 at 15:01
  • It's both a promoted (actually "featured") question and a bounty. The question itself is promoted, the bounty is the reward. I don't see the issue. – Cai Sep 7 '16 at 16:29
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Promoted question doesn't make the benefit clear for the user that posts an answer to featured questions (as they are called already).

You are right, the name bounty doesn't cover the part where you lose the money, but in my opinion, that isn't too important since it is very clear stated in all messages and documentation about bounties.

  • "very clear stated.." Maybe, but I think the concept is misleading, and there seem to be a lot of questions regarding bounty refund, likely due to this confusion. – Asaf Sep 7 '16 at 10:58
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    @Asaf: None of those questions were at all confused about the issue at revision 1. They knew what the system did and wanted it to work differently so it would cost less rep to use bounties. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 7 '16 at 11:16

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