I am not sure if this is the first time it has happened to me, but I didn't get any answers on my bounty question but I have still been asked to award the bounty to someone. Is this a defect or some quirk with the system?

On a more practical level, what can one do to try and move forward when a bounty has been put up because the question hasn't received enough attention or no authoritative references have been provided?

UPDATE: Having read the bounty conditions again, I am aware of this particular part where it says:

A bounty does not guarantee a response, however, and reputation refunds are not available if no answers are received as a result of the bounty.

I take this to mean that the moderators/community don't actually investigate or work out whether this is still worthy for consideration, and are happy to just leave it at that?

My personal feeling is that the depth and scope of the forum is generally shaped more so by the questions that are not answered (when they are appropriate questions) compared to questions that come up all the time and are not subject to changes in technology or trends, so perhaps we should care more about providing some resolution/closure?

  • 2
    Can I be honest ... I often find myself confused by your questions. Things like repetitive stress in mobile apps, chatbot testing methods, viewport size vs responsive? I know what you're asking, but I don't understand the value to the community. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 23:18
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    @plainclothes honesty (much like ethics) is something to be valued in the UX community but unfortunately not often practised as much as it should be. I appreciate the comment, yet these are actually questions both raised by fellow UX practitioners and things that I have wondered about as well. Ultimately the value to the community will (hopefully) be reflected by the about of activity it generates. I just find it better to stretch the boundaries of the discussion rather than deal with questions about buttons or colours all the time.
    – Michael Lai Mod
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 0:45
  • More to the point, I'm not sure how to answer them in an SE way. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 1:12
  • Regarding the RSI question, I thought the one answer on that question was pretty good. I read it and thought - that seems pretty comprehensive, and I don't really have anything to add, so I upvoted it. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


By design the bounty is taken from your rep as you create the bounty, one can't get it back no matter the results. You can choose not to award the bounty or the site will automatically award the bounty to the highest voted new answer(with a minimum of 2 votes) during the bounty period. If no answer fits these criteria no bounty is given(but you still lose it for offering a bounty). What you are experiencing is not a defect. This is all covered here: https://stackoverflow.com/help/bounty

As far as having the issue of no new resonates such as you had hoped, I can think of a few reasons and a few solutions.

Why you may not be getting the new or updated answers you desire include:

  1. The answers already provide what you are looking for
  2. The question you have may not be "answerable" or known
  3. The site may not have enough traffic
  4. The site may not have experts with the necessary knowledge

What you can do about it:

  1. Offer a larger bounty
  2. Offer a bounty multiple times
  3. Ask some other users opinion in chat
  4. Research yourself and find the answer
  5. Try to contact the existing posters directly to see if they can help

Overall, nice job using the system as designed. Many users don't grasp the usefulness of bounties and it's great that you are trying to give it a shot. It can be a great tool to incentivize the community and get great answers.

I'm not sure which particular question you are referring to, but looking at your recent history I see a few trends that could be producing the lack of results you have:

  1. Lack of selecting an answer as accepted.
  2. Many open ended discussion type questions
  3. Many low view questions

The good news is that the first issue is likely very easy to resolve. For example, can you really not select an accepted answer on this question (What is the optimum button size of touch screen applications?) ? For open ended discussion or chatty questions, you may be better served by chat. And finally, for low view questions, it could simply be a result of the size of this community, but a bounty (or two) could certainly help get some eyes on a low viewed question.

  • In this instance, there were no actual answers provided for the bounty. I am not really interested in recovering the points as I understand the nature of the bounty, but I find it strange that if no answers were put forth that the last thing a person might want to do is to put up another bounty.
    – Michael Lai Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 23:00
  • @MichaelLai I covered that in my answer. Maybe your question isn't a good fit for the site? I have no idea what question you are talking about nor am I a user of this particular SE. But it may just be uninteresting, too challenging, or something similar. Again I would suggest offering a larger bounty. You have plenty of rep to do so. What fun is rep if you can't spend it anyways?!?
    – dpollitt
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 23:03

Not receiving any / suitable answers to a bountied question may not necessarily indicate a problem with the bounty system. To be honest it probably indicates that there is an issue with the question itself, rather than with the community or bounty system.

If people aren't answering a question, even when there's a reputational benefit to them for doing so, then it suggests:

  • The question is too difficult to answer, requiring specialist knowledge not possessed by persons who read the question. (More / Different bounties aren't necessarily going to address that).
  • The question is off-topic for the site (each site has a specialism, so it would be expected that questions would fit solely within that specialism)
  • The question is too broad / discussion-based, opinion based etc and not actually answerable with a correct answer in the first place.
  • The question is unclear and people reading it do not understand how to answer it.

Not looking into your questions specifically, but at the situation as a whole, if people aren't able to help you even when they get something back from doing so, then the first step is not to question the framework, but to look at the question itself and consider what could be done with that in order to solicit some responses.

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