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:

  1. The OP is the bounty owner
  2. The question has only one answer
  3. The OP is the answer author too
  4. The answer has no downvotes
  5. 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.

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    No, it's like taking out a newspaper advertisement. The newspaper ran the ad, you didn't get any takers, that's the way it goes sometimes. – Robert Longson Feb 4 '18 at 8:18
  • @RobertLongson Granted, and the risk is that I blame the newspaper and choose another one for my next ad. Unless the newspaper offers me some kind of warranty that lets me recover at least something in such unfortunate cases. – Lucio Crusca Feb 4 '18 at 8:24
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    Do you know any newspapers or other advertisers who guarantee sales? They gave you the column inches you asked for in the place they said they would, it's not their fault the advert didn't work. Perhaps it was down to the advert's contents? – Robert Longson Feb 4 '18 at 8:26
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    You're selling something that the market isn't interested in buying. Try again in a week/month/year, maybe a new customer will have entered the game. – Nij Feb 4 '18 at 8:29
  • @RobertLongson That's not the point, real newspapers have no means to know how your ad worked. Here we do. – Lucio Crusca Feb 4 '18 at 8:29
  • @Nij, I think you are taking the newspaper example too far, here we do not sell anything, at most the bounty system is about buying something. – Lucio Crusca Feb 4 '18 at 8:35
  • @ShadowTheHedgehogWizard I think my question is not a dup. I'm not asking why and I'm proposing a new feature that's different from what is being asked in that question. I propose to recover only part of the reputation and that makes a great difference. – Lucio Crusca Feb 4 '18 at 8:38
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    @LucioCrusca "at most the bounty system is about buying something" Yes, it's about buying eyeballs on your question. – DavidPostill Feb 4 '18 at 9:53
  • Makes sense. I would agree for this criterion: If your self-answer is the only answer scoring 2 or more at the time the grace period expires, then it's totally fine to reward half your bounty back. (Optional: If there's another 1-score answer, the other half goes to it) – iBug is disappointed in SE Feb 4 '18 at 11:31
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    @iDebug I disagree; to have a shot at preventing OPs from gaming the system so they can have their cake and eat it too, we’d need a much more complex ruleset than that (sole answer, sole answer posted 5 days after the bounty started to give others time to take a shot, and so on). Plus it undermines the simple and direct philosophy of bounties: you pays your money and you takes your chances. So long as bounties are not refundable, and people go in knowing that, all’s good. Once you make a single exception, you have to prepare for a barrage of arguments to make more. – Dan Bron Feb 4 '18 at 11:48

A bounty is NOT paying for an answer. Your analogy to a plane ticket falls at this hurdle. A bounty is paying for increased exposure: your question appears on the Featured tab, and a little blue box shows there is a bounty on all the regular tabs and screens. These are expected to draw more people to look at the question.

Some of them may give you upvotes that earn you back the bounty. Some of them may choose to answer. All of these are good things. Whether you choose to answer the question or not, you got your extra views, and that is what you bought.

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