I have a question for which I have set a 50 point bounty. What happens if I don't award anyone my bounty? Will the points be credited to my reputation? Or will they be wasted since I have not used them?

  • 3
    I notice that there's an accepted answer on your bounty question that doesn't have any upvotes. I can't help but wonder why if it's addressed your problem you at least haven't upvoted it (it was presumably useful) and why you wouldn't want to award the bounty...
    – forsvarir
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 9:19
  • Total waste as Sathya answered correctly below. If you get new answer I suggest to grant the bounty even if the answer is not perfect. Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 9:54

2 Answers 2


The bounty ends with no rep being allocated to anyone, unless the criteria for automatic awarding is met (in which case half of the bounty is awarded). Note that you don't get the rep back.

The criteria for an answer to be eligible for automatic awarding are as follows:

  • The answer must be given after the bounty was started
  • The answer must have a score of at least +2
  • If two or more eligible answers have the same score, the oldest answer is awarded the bounty.

If no answers meet these criteria, the bounty ends without it being awarded to any answer, and is not refunded to the bounty starter.

bounty on MSO

  • 81
    Man, this is unfair! Why shouldn't the OP get back his bounty points if no one was able to answer his question! Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 16:22
  • 7
    At least system should says no one answers to this question and bounty ends without it being awarded to any one. Any one.
    – Dr.jacky
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 11:49
  • 24
    If the OP got his bounty back if no answer was accepted, then that would be an incentive for nasty users to offer a bounty, reap the additional attention and assistance, and then never mark an answer. Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 18:07
  • 13
    A nasty user could also answer a not too relevant, but related answer, and ask 2 of his buddies to upvote his answer - this way he would get all the bounties because of the automatic awarding. So I totally agree with @Mr.Hyde, NO ONE should get the points if none has been selected. This automatic awarding system is not fair, someone who started a bounty and lost many of his own points for the sake of getting a good answer should have the right to decide whether the answer is good enough or not.
    – Sk8erPeter
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 20:53
  • @Sk8erPeter the score should be 2 - not upvotes. If the answer is not relevant, it can/should be downvoted. Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 8:53
  • @Sathya: "The answer must have a score of at least +2" Sorry, but I don't really understand - what's the difference between an answer's "scores" and its upvotes? One upvote means one "score", doesn't it?
    – Sk8erPeter
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 11:37
  • @Sk8erPeter upvotes - downvotes is score, so if the person got 3 upvotes & 4 downvotes, the score would be -1 Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 13:45
  • 2
    @Sathya: OK, that's obvious, I thought you'll mention something new. But the situation is the same and nothing relevant has been added: a user may get 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes (=2 scores) for his answer before the automatic awarding gives all the bounties to him. Why? The main question is this: why are all the scores given to him automatically if the user who started the bounty did not think the answer is worth it? And again: the user who started the bounty should have the right to decide whether he wants to award anyone. You know, he loses those scores anyway.
    – Sk8erPeter
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 13:56
  • 4
    How can we do anything to get this changed? I understand not getting the bounty points back. That's fine, but they should not be auto awarded. I didn't carve off my rep to reward what someone else comes along and up votes when it doesn't actually answer my question correctly.
    – bigtunacan
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 5:38
  • It's just points on a website - what does it really matter if someone gets some extra for a not very good answer? The person offering the bounty is (responsible for making themselves) aware of what will happen when the bounty expires and must accept that it may be fruitless. When you place a bounty you aren't spending rep to guarantee a good answer, you are spending rep to improve the chance of a getting good answer.
    – rg255
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 22:55
  • Why not split the unassigned bounty equitatively among highest voted answers?
    – a06e
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 17:09
  • 1
    @JonathanLaliberte you're free to not award the bounty Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 14:37
  • Yup my bad, you can start another bounty if no answer was given Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 19:48
  • This is not fair... I didn't know about the expiration. I made a bounty just before I was on holiday. I became a great answer but the bounty had been expired after I came back from holiday. This really sucks. I'm no SE-Power User. I look into this portal once a week. That was the last time I made a bounty. Makes no sense for me. Frustrating for me and frustrating for the guy who answers.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:52
  • 2
    Well, that is really crappy. If there are no answers to your question, you should get the reputation back. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 16:02

Is your question: dismissing Progress Dialog ?

YES NO->Use Sathya's answer


Did you accept it after setting the bounty?

YES NO->Use Sathya's answer


The bounty will be awarded to the accepted answer.

2011-05-16: When bounty is started by the question owner and the owner Accepts an answer during the bounty period, the full bounty will be awarded to that answer if the owner does not explicitly give it to other answer before the bounty expires.

(source: Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange)

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