Why is reputation offered up as bounty taken away even if the bounty is never awarded? Even after offering a bounty, I received only one answer to my question. In fact, the "answer" mostly just asked more questions, and really should be a comment. If I didn't really get any help from posting the question, why should I lose rep?

3 Answers 3


Partly to prevent gaming the system.

Also consider that one of the features of the bounty is that your question is featured. You could look at this from the perspective that you are paying to have your question be advertised like a sponsored link. Just because you didn't get a good answer doesn't mean your question wasn't listed in the featured tab.

Why aren't bounties refunded if they are not awarded?

  • Thanks. This explanation makes a lot of sense. Still a little frustrating, but I get the advertising analogy. Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 13:45

This is covered on the SO blog, in detail. Note the reference to non-refundable rep.

  • Thanks for the link, but this still doesn't really explain WHY rep offered as bounty is immediately lost. Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 4:22
  • @michael, because you're spending it on a service. If you hire someone to give you advice, you have to pay them, even if you don't like the advice. Except in this case, the bounty system holds it the cost in escrow, and you don't have to pay anyone if you don't want, but you still have to pay the money into the escrow account. Otherwise, I would set a 500-rep bounty on all my questions, get heaps of well thought out answers by users hoping to get paid, then take my bounty back and leave them in the cold. You can still do that, but at least you don't get your money back. (Money being rep, btw) Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 20:41

The reputation is taken when the bounty is started, regardless of whether it actually gets awarded. So that reputation is "gone" as soon as the bounty starts.

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