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I don't care about the points - just curious how it works.

Looking at my profile, I saw a drop of 200 points on July 16th, for this question, which has no comments and only one answer, which is from me, and which I deleted (immediately prior to offering the bounty, IIRC (in fact, I think that was teh second time I had offered a bounty on that question, to no avail)).

This question had no answers and no comments, and this one which had no answers and a few comments. Both of them had 100 bounty points deducted.

I am curious - what is the reasoning behind this? What did I get in return for my deducted points?

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    Bounties are practically never refundable. It doesn't matter if no one answers. Under very rare circumstances, diamond mods can refund your bounty. (Usually if they have to close or delete your question.) – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Aug 24 '16 at 18:48
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These show up in the timeline as "non-winning bounties". In general, once you start a bounty, the reputation used for it is gone. It may be awarded to an answer (if you pick one, or the bounty ends and an answer meets the criteria for automatic awarding.)

What you are 'buying' with a bounty is exposure - a spot on the 'featured' tab, the '+100' blue badge next to your title, etc. That exposure may or may not cause an answer to be created.

See https://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/help/bounty for more information. Bounties are weird.

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  • Thanks for the clarification :-) I don't regret the points - the exposure was worth it – Mawg says reinstate Monica Aug 24 '16 at 19:17
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The bounty procedure is a bit messy if you ask me.

Actually you agreed to it on the very first page if you were able to read it because it's so small:

Bounty message

However, it is not deducted immediately: it's only deducted two steps later, so you have two cancel buttons in between.

This sentence should be moved on page 3 of the "bounty wizard", to the place where the Next button really applies the rep change. The button there should not be called Next but "Deduct rep and start bounty now" or similar (at least "Finish").

What did I get in return for my deducted points?

Attention. People certainly looked at it - yet, unfortunately, there seems to be no answer at this time.

Consider thinking of a bounty like walking 100 minutes through a city, asking all kind of people for help. You go home without an answer. Nobody will refund the 100 minutes you spent.

That said, bounties work well on Stack Overflow, because you can work on a solution: do research, do some coding, post the result. I don't think they work well on this site, because there's no way of working on a bounty: you can do research, but that's it. Either you know an answer or not. Therefore I'd consider keeping the rep and using the resulting privileges to do useful stuff like moderation (or winning T-shirts, hey, when will they be shipped?).

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