Apparently there is a whole host of reasons why you don't actually ever want to offer a bounty:

  • You get -50 reputation even if you don't get a proper answer.
  • You can't accept an answer after the bounty expired.
  • Your accept rate (the percentage) is permanently reduced because you can't accept an answer.

Taken together, these factors mean that I will never ever offer a bounty again. But I'm annoyed because now there is a question with no accepted answer which brings my accept rate down for the rest of existence, and I had no way of knowing that beforehand. This is stupid.

  • Actually, you get a -[bounty_quantity-50*-1*-1]
    – juan
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:24
  • You get -50 reputation even if you don't get a proper answer. -- No, you lose the amount of the bounty.
    – mmyers
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:25
  • Is it possible to close that question? Also related are these proposals: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4508/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/90/…
    – RomanSt
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:26
  • @mmy, minus 50 (see my previous comment for the formula)
    – juan
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:27
  • 2
    @Downvoter it is simply -(bounty_amount-50). The -1 cancel
    – HAL 9000
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:42
  • That's what she said
    – juan
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:49
  • And: 4. People will hate you forever if you let the bounty expire without accepting an answer.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:52
  • @Downvoter: "the amount of the bounty", where "amount" is the amount that you gave up to start the bounty. But that's pretty clear from the interface, one would think.
    – mmyers
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:53
  • @mmy, by "amount of the bounty" I understand the amount of the bounty, not the amount you offer for the bounty. But ok, I was just messing around anyways...
    – juan
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:56
  • I would advice you not to fret any accept rate over 50%, and to openly mock anyone who suggests that 93% is a problem. And it looks like you are batting 500 even offering minimal bounties (and you may have gotten the correct answer to the "bad" question in the comments). So, what's the problem? Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


I can't say I am all that happy with the bounty system after burning 450 rep on this question - Outlook unable to synchronize SharePoint library - error 0x80004005

I don't really care so much about losing the rep, but now that the bounty period is over the question is essentially dead.


I think these things are reasonably clearly stated in the link you get shown when opening a bounty.

To wit:

... If there is no answer meeting the above criteria, and you as the question owner have not opted to accept an answer, you forfeit your right to ever accept an answer to your question. ...

... In any case, you will always give up the amount of reputation specified in the bounty, so if you start a bounty, be sure to follow up and accept the best answer! ...

I agree that the link text could be changed to something really clear like "Make sure you read the bounty rules before posting a bounty!!!". It could be argued, though, that the person opening the bounty should simply read it beforehand to learn how things work, and not open a bounty and complain afterwards.

  • 1
    requiring always ends badly
    – juan
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:50
  • @Downvoter I don't mean required in the technical sense, more in the sense of "make sure you read and understand this".
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 18:52
  • 1
    Sure, you can argue that it is clearly written in various areas how the bounty process works. But the fact that this comes up pretty often, and with people so piping hot about it would indicate that something is going wrong somewhere. Additionally, even if the wording was made completely non-ambiguous, having what happens clearly spelled out is a poor substitute for having a better system.
    – beska
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 19:27
  • @beska I agree with you that the system is not perfect, but mostly people come piping hot because they were sure a bounty paid for from their precious rep points would yield a perfect answer - which it often won't. Having started a lot of bounties myself, and not always having gotten a perfect answer, I say suck it up. If rep points are so important to you that you can't lose some of them, stay away from bounties.
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 19:55
  • Hmm. I disagree about what I've seen people get upset about (though perhaps my view is tainted by my own viewpoint). Relatively few people seem to get upset about the quality of answers they get...but they would like to be able to have more control over the bounty they're spending. Being able to accept a different answer after an answer is auto-accepted...being able to reinvigorate a question with further bounty. These kinds of things would help a lot. I think people can handle it when things go wrong, but they get mad when something goes wrong and there's no obvious good reason for it.
    – beska
    Commented Mar 2, 2010 at 13:53

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