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I recently posed a question on stack exchange biology about how viruses persist outside the body, and HPV in particular.

The question received some upvotes initially but no answers. After putting a bounty on it views increased a little but still no answers.

The subject is difficult. Not much is known definitely, and the studies I have found in the meantime are not easy to interpret as a layman.

I would like to pose a possible answer, and ask for input to understand the science of the study it is drawn from, to encourage more speculative engagement from the community. If there are no clear answers, what's a good guess?

Can I answer my own bountied question, when there are 0 answers, without it being automatically accepted as "the" answer and the bounty ended?

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    Besides your specific question about the site mechanics with bounties, which Glorfindel has answered well, I'd just think about making sure that your answer is actually an answer rather than further discussion. "Speculative" is generally not ideal, though for the specific question you've asked I think the best answer you're going to get is one that actually explains why you'll not find a definitive answer like you're looking for. Very little in biology is known "definitely", we are a science of exceptions, probability, and rule-breaking. Apr 16 at 16:11
  • I take your meaning. With the complexity of biology, findings of probability is usually the gold standard. I should have been clearer about the type of answer I am looking for. Apr 16 at 19:33
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Yes, that works. Acceptance is always a deliberate choice by the author of the question, unlike bounties which may be automatically awarded under some circumstances. Since it's your own answer, it also does not qualify for the bounty.

I'm not sure if this is formally documented, but one of the Help Center articles says it's an option, another one says 'you can', unlike the one about bounties which indicates automatic awarding:

If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with a minimum score of 2 will be awarded half the bounty amount (or the full amount, if the answer is also accepted).

Another option, since (as @BryanKrause says in the comment) it's debatable whether your answer qualifies as an answer or not, is to edit the question with additional information instead of posting it as an answer. This will bump it and draw renewed attention, without needing to post a bounty.

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  • I'll redefine the question to fit the scope of knowledge more closely, to encourage answers that reflect the state of scientific inquiry. Apr 16 at 19:38

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