I have a question with a bounty that will expire in a few days. It looks like nobody will get the bounty; only one answer was posted during the bounty period, and it has no upvotes. In cases like this, the bounty is thrown away. Why isn't it refunded instead, if no answerer has earned it?

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    You rolls your dices, and takes your chances. Jul 8 '10 at 15:54
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    I could have sworn this was a dupe, but I can't find it... anyone?
    – Pops
    Jul 8 '10 at 16:06
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    @Popular There have been off-hand "I should get refunded" comments in both actual comments and as asides in posts, but I don't recall seeing an actual one of these as the heart of the question. There are also questions asking if it does get refunded, as opposed to "why isn't it refunded". Possibly meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21609/…, though, but that's a feature request rather than an inquiry.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jul 8 '10 at 16:10
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    @Grace, thanks for the second opinion; I really thought I had seen an honest-to-goodness question about this, but maybe I am just thinking of one of the off-handed comments you mentioned.
    – Pops
    Jul 8 '10 at 16:13
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    Aside to @fahadsadah: you have over 200 rep at SF. If you manually deassociate and reassociate your Meta account with your SF account, you'll get 100 free rep here. Same goes for SU. Possibly SO and SF too, depending on when those accounts were associated.
    – Pops
    Jul 8 '10 at 16:19
  • @PopularDemand Thanks! Jul 8 '10 at 16:30
  • To whoever downvoted me: please can you tell me why? Jul 8 '10 at 16:35
  • Roll the bones. goear.com/listen/531a1db/roll-the-bones-rush
    – Tim Post
    Jul 8 '10 at 16:43
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    @fahadsadah a down-vote (not mine anyway) on meta just means "I don't agree" so for your question I guess it means something like "I'm against refunding bounties" Jul 9 '10 at 4:39

A bounty is not a guarantee. It's less risky in the new system, but it never has, nor ever will be, a guarantee for the answers you need. It's payment for a bid for an answer, not payment for actual answers themselves.

Remember that although you didn't get an actual answer, you did get 7 days on the Featured tab. If you got refunded, then you could keep your question on the Featured tab forever, which really reduces the benefit that placing a bounty has in the first place.

Basically, consider this like a parking meter - the reputation you spent is good enough for only 7 days. If you need more time, you need to spend more reputation. Of course, it's a parking meter where you can pay however much you want and get the same amount of time, but the extra payment is for the possibility of better quality attention during that same period.

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    Thanks, I understand why the points are deducted now. Jul 8 '10 at 16:31
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    Perhaps it should be that you place a bounty on a question, if there are no accepted answers then you are refunded. If you still want answers and are willing to permanently lose the rep you can place a bounty on the question again but all other bounties after the first will not be refunded. I just placed a bounty on someone else's question and shortly after doing that I found a solution so of course I submitted an answer. No other answers anybody posted were good. I want to be refunded for either having the correct answer or the question having no accepted answer. Original asker is inactive.
    – bowlerae
    Mar 21 '13 at 12:35
  • @GraceNote "If you got refunded you could keep your question on the Featured tab forever". OK but if you got only partially refunded you would stil be disinclined to abuse in the long run. Maybe there needs to be disincentive but maybe it is reasonable to be more even handed about it and not penalize well-intentioned people and making it a mere casino. Casinos would rather take it from you a little at a time until you're broke and leave with some hope of winning the future.
    – clearlight
    Mar 26 '15 at 18:28
  • Yeah, it really does not make sense. Say I pay 50 reputation points, and I get a good answer. The points get awarded to the answer, and advertising was essentially free. Now say I don't get any answers. Advertising was 50 points more then it would have been. I like what GolezTrol suggested, a "no cure, no pay" system.
    – user288670
    Mar 20 '17 at 11:49


Should a bounty be returned if there are NO answers at all

An excerpt from my answer:

Bounties are meant to generate interest and answers. If there are still no answers after offering the bounty, it might be time to consider whether or not the question is too obscure to be answered.

Consider bounties to be paying for advertising. Once you've purchased an ad spot, you can't get your money back just because no one bought your product.

Also Bounties and non-valid answers

If an answer gets more than two votes and is 'wrong' then you could worry about giving the bounty to the wrong person.

In that case, the best option is to engage the person who answered the question, if their answer isn't helpful to you, then add a comment to it explaining why. Also, if it becomes obvious that your question is unclear then you should edit it for clarity. This has the added bonus of popping you to the top of the active list as well, which would generate extra interest.

Bottom Line: The bounty is to generate interest and answers for your question, it does not necessarily guarantee that one of those will be the right answer.

  • I understand about the time on the Featured list having value - that makes sense. But if a question isn't even drawing additional views because its on less-used technology, maybe a partial (half) refund should be considered.
    – SteveWash
    Feb 6 '15 at 10:25
  • If this is what it means, then I severely misunderstood. I was shocked when I lost the reputation points even without an answer. Yes, I see now that the question is too obscure since no one got it even for the bounty. But, if all I am buying is literally just and ad for the question - then I won't ever do that again. I feel it should be renamed "buy an ad" rather than "bounty". Bounties can be withdrawn. Apr 30 '21 at 9:36

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