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I recently made a 500 reputation bounty on this question. As I was really interested in getting an answer I crossposted it on MathOverflow. On MathOverflow I got an answer and for completeness reasons I copied that answer on MathStackexchange. This answer got several upvotes but it remained the only one. So the bounty expired and noone got the reputation.

In the description on the privilege it says

If you do not award the bounty within 24 hours of the bounty period ending, half the bounty value will be automatically awarded to the top voted answer posted after the bounty start, provided it has a score of at least 2.

Maybe this should be modified and the information added, that this is not rewarded to the OP. Another question is what happens when there is a answer from the OP with for example 4 upvotes and another answer with 2 upvotes. Will the second most upvoted answer receive half of the bounty?

Please note that I really think it is important that you can't manually award the bounty to yourself.

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    $\begingroup$ The description says "The reputation you're using for the bounty is immediately and irreversibly deducted from your reputation." and "Please note that once a bounty is started, the reputation is non-refundable under any circumstances." I think it is clear that the person to award the bounty gets nothing back. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker May 13 '13 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker Even though it doesn't stand so, it sounds to me more like you can't cancel a bounty. And I wouldn't call it refunded, because (well not in my situation) but the OP can earn the bounty too $\endgroup$ – Dominic Michaelis May 13 '13 at 12:01
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The unstated restriction "bounty shall not be awarded to the bounty setter" is only one of several unstated restrictions, and is more intuitive than most. It is consistent with other rules that prevent a conflict of interests: users do not gain +15 from accepting their own answers, for example.

It would be impractical to state all bounty rules within the UI, because there are so many. These are just the rules for automatic awards:


Approximately twenty-four hours after the end of the bounty period, if the bounty starter has not manually awarded the bounty [...] if there are eligible answers, the highest scoring is awarded half the bounty amount. The criteria for an answer to be eligible are:

  • The answer must have been given after the bounty was started
  • The answer must have a score of at least +2
  • The answer must not have been written by the bounty starter

If two or more eligible answers have the same score, the oldest answer is awarded the bounty.

If neither of these conditions apply, the bounty is not awarded to any answer, and is not refunded to the bounty starter.


The UI states only the most essential rules; users wishing to know how SE platform really works should keep in touch with meta.SO.

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