If no one answers my questions, why can't I have the points for a bounty returned?

If someone offers a reward and no one cashes in, the person doesn't forfeit the amount.

So what is the deal?

  • 2
    Think of bounties as advertising. Placing ads costs, but doesn't come with any guarantees.
    – Mat
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


The main FAQ entry about bounties covers this, and there are a few existing meta questions on it:

The best explanation is probably from the FAQ entry:

What happens if there's no answer after the bounty period?

If after the end of the bounty period a question has no answers, no bounty will be awarded and the question will no longer be featured.

Bounties are best understood as exchanging reputation for higher question visibility and increased answerer motivation. A bounty does not guarantee a response and is not refunded if none are received.

As an answer on one of the other posts points out, if you got the rep back you'd be able to immediately start another bounty -- you could keep your question on the Featured list forever (until it gets an answer, anyway), and if a bunch of people start doing that it makes bounties less useful for everyone. You're paying for extra exposure, not the answer itself, although hopefully the former leads to the latter

  • if I wanted to offer a higher bounty, I have to wait now since I don't have many points whereas if it was returned, I could just tack on points to the existing reward.
    – dustin
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 15:27
  • @dustin Yes, but I don't see how it's a problem with the system that you don't have enough rep to offer two bounties in a row -- you just don't have enough rep. It's supposed to cost rep to offer a bounty, it's not a bug that you're unable to offer them over and over Commented May 13, 2013 at 15:35
  • The last paragraph is valid only if the Bounty offered is worth 500 points, since every additional Bounty on a Question requires double the previous Bounty amount.
    – tshepang
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 21:47

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