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This question already has an answer here:

I have a question for which I have set a bounty points of 50. Now my question is, What happens if I don't award someone with my bounty? Will it be re credited to my reputation? or Will it become a waste since I have not used it?

marked as duplicate by Cody Gray, Tobias Kienzler, hims056, Aziz Shaikh, Rory Aug 20 '13 at 10:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    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 Jun 14 '11 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. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jun 14 '11 at 9:54
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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

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    Man, this is unfair! Why shouldn't the OP get back his bounty points if no one was able to answer his question! – SexyBeast Feb 22 '15 at 16:22
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    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 Jun 24 '15 at 11:49
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    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. – Daniel Griscom Sep 5 '15 at 18:07
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    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 Jan 4 '16 at 20:53
  • @Sk8erPeter the score should be 2 - not upvotes. If the answer is not relevant, it can/should be downvoted. – Sathyajith Bhat Jan 5 '16 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 Jan 5 '16 at 11:37
  • @Sk8erPeter upvotes - downvotes is score, so if the person got 3 upvotes & 4 downvotes, the score would be -1 – Sathyajith Bhat Jan 5 '16 at 13:45
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    @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 Jan 5 '16 at 13:56
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    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 Feb 9 '16 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 Mar 15 '16 at 22:55
  • Why not split the unassigned bounty equitatively among highest voted answers? – becko Jul 26 '17 at 17:09
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    @JonathanLaliberte you're free to not award the bounty – Sathyajith Bhat Oct 1 '17 at 14:37
  • Yup my bad, you can start another bounty if no answer was given – Jonathan Laliberte Oct 3 '17 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 Sep 11 '18 at 7:52
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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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