I always wonder why bounties are irreversibly spent and can't be claimed back in the following cases:

  1. the awarded question is appreciated by many upvoted (suggestion for full claim)

  2. the question is answered after very short time of spending bounties and the OP has no more interest in getting more attention to the question (suggestion for partial claim)

Recently, I haven't needed to use them, but I would like to know the reason behind this strict requirement of irreversible spending.

  • 8
    I would have thought the strongest case for a refund would be one where you pay the bounty but the question gets very few views and no useful answers. So the advertisement failed - it got very little attention - and the outcome was disappointment - no usable answer. Both (1) and (2) seem to be cases where the bounty works - the question gets attention (1) and a fully satisfactory answer (2).
    – cfr
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


Technically, a bounty may be reversed or cancelled, if it can be justified...

However, the bounty systems acts like an advertisement in the real world. You pay for something to entice visitors/viewers, but there is no guarantee that such an investment will result in people buying more of your product. In a similar vein - the non-real SE world - there is no guarantee that your bounty will reap the rewards you intended when sowing it.

The reasoning behind this is supported in the way the bounty reputation is removed from the user placing the bounty at the time it is placed. Payment up front, they say. The system also warns you that you cannot revert it once it's placed, putting this under the umbrella.



Well, regarding point 1, if you post the bounty on your own question, then, if it is upvoted a lot, you will get a good chunk of rep from that which might well pay back some of the bounty. For example, if you post a 50 points bounty and the question then shoots straight to the top of the homepage and spends a weak on the featured tab, it could easily get 5 or 10 upvotes, which would repay 50-100% of the bounty. Recouping 250 or 500 points is much harder, though.

Secondly, if you post the bounty on your own question, the idea is really that you're doing it because you want to get a really good answer - the forthcoming answers should then be your reward, not meaningless rep points.

If (as you don't seem to bring up in your question) you don't actually get the answers you're hoping for, that is unfortunate. However, the word 'bounty' has always been a bit of a misnomer, it's really more of an advertisement. You've put up your rep, your question has been given attention, people have been given the incentive, and that comes at a rep price. You can't undo the fact that it went to the top of the homepage and took its place on the featured tab.

If, of course, you post the bounty on somebody else's question, well that is supposed to be a charitable act, an act of generosity. Also, again, either you post the bounty because you really want to know the answer to the question as well (in which case the answers are the reward, again), or you're trying to help or reward somebody else.

To my satisfaction, at least, 2 is also essentially covered there. You put up the bounty that you think it's fair to pay. If you then get an answer, well fantastic, that's what you put the bounty up for, isn't it? You can award it quickly, or you can wait it out and allow yourself the possibility of being surprised by an even better answer that might yet come along.

  • Well said. Thanks for your input.
    – Diaa
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 17:23

They don't want to have the pranks related to putting the bounty and after having the interest pulling it back.

Rep points don't mean anyth.... anyways, that's why.

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