This is the question I'm talking about. I'm the OP, the bounty owner, the only one who answered and there aren't any real comments too. Wouldn't be safe to allow awarding part of bounty reputation back to myself (the bounty owner) in such cases?
I did all the hard work after all and reported back my findings to the community.
I think there's no risk I set another bounty on that question after recovering part of my reputation, thus artificially drawing more attention to the question, because there already is an accepted answer and because I still loose some rep each bounty I set. However maybe that, just now, opening a new bounty on that question would be technically possible for me anyways, but, even then, I think it's easy to make the system avoid that possibility: when the OP is allowed to award himself part of the bounty rep (only in selected cases like mine above), and he does so, his question is automatically closed.
This feature would encourage OPs who set a bounty to find the answer themselves (which I suppose they already are, admittedly, since they set a bounty), and to report it back to the community when the question hasn't received any other answers. We shouldn't understimate that last bit of knowledge sharing: there are so many unanswered questions here I harldy believe the OP really didn't find a solution for any of them. I'm more inclined to think the OP did solve its problem somehow, but he didn't bother to share the knowledge.
Maybe the system could make this feature available to the OP only after the bounty expired, and only if the question hasn't received any other answers except the OP's one, so that we are sure none else would have replied anyway.
The conditions this feature would be available could be:
- The OP is the bounty owner
- The question has only one answer
- The OP is the answer author too
- The answer has no downvotes
- The bounty has already expired
In this case I think letting the OP recover 50% of the bounty points would make sense.
It's like booking a flight after all: if you cancel the reservation you get something back, because for the company is better to return you a part of your money and KNOW they can sell that seat to someone else, rather than keeping all of your money and leaving the seat empty, just because you didn't bother to let them know, since you had nothing to loose.