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I set a bounty of 50 points on one of my questions last week. Unfortunately, it was never answered. After the bounty expired, shouldn't the points have come back to my account, since it was offered only if someone answered the question?

Are non-claimed bounties lost forever, even if they are awarded to no one? It seems counter-intuitive.

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    $\begingroup$ You have my sympathies. All you wanted was an answer to your question, which you not only didn't get, but you lost your points, too. Speaking for myself, unfortunately, I don't know the partial proportional odds model. I do know that Agresti--discussing other situations (eg, PO)--has suggested that people go ahead & make up values for your categories and run them as though they were continuous. I find this somewhat discomfiting, but his argument is that unless you're way off, the induced bias will be small. HTH $\endgroup$ May 9 '12 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it. I actually did go over Agresti and Harrell's books before I decided to code the categorical variables as continuous values. Harrell and his student Peterson have the seminal papers on the PO and partial PO models. But unfortunately, they don't discuss trend testing. I was just worried that the solution I posted might be too hacky and introduce some random bias. Please do post this as an answer to that question so the discussion can expand. Thanks again! $\endgroup$
    – Ariel
    May 9 '12 at 2:46
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    $\begingroup$ I answered a bounty question and I am hopeful to get it tomorrow. I felt I had given a complete answer and the poster explained that he wanted more. So I gave him what he asked for. But in thinking about it occurred to me that a poster could set a bounty just to make sure that more work is done on the question. Then in the end he could decide that no one deserved the bounty. It is his subjective choice. But if he got his bounty back then he could be playing games with the system. I think the policy not to return bounties may be a good way to discourage such practice. $\endgroup$ May 9 '12 at 16:21
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A link from our FAQ was provided when you created the bounty:

If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with at least 2 upvotes will be awarded half the bounty amount. If there's no answer meeting that criteria, the bounty is not awarded to anyone.

If the bounty was started by the question owner, and the question owner accepts an answer during the bounty period, and the bounty expires without an explicit award – we assume the bounty owner liked the answer they accepted and award it the full bounty amount at the time of bounty expiration.

In any case, you will always give up the amount of reputation specified in the bounty, so if you start a bounty, be sure to follow up and award your bounty to the best answer!

[Emphasis added.]

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    $\begingroup$ I recognize that is the answer, but the very last phrase does assume that someone had answered, which could make it somewhat confusing. $\endgroup$ May 9 '12 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer, but as gung has commented, what if the question receives no answers? It seems like such a waste to give up points accumulated purposely for setting bounties to hard questions and a good way to discourage setting bounties at all. Is there someway to appeal to stackexchange to reconsider the bounty situation for unanswered questions? It isn't really addressed in that FAQ well. $\endgroup$
    – Ariel
    May 9 '12 at 2:36
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    $\begingroup$ It is a bit of a waste, but no system is perfect. You could raise the issue on the big Meta, but this is likely the policy. I think they assume that someone will answer questions with bounties--I think this is a pretty rare case. $\endgroup$ May 9 '12 at 3:50
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    $\begingroup$ I checked out the big Meta as you suggested. A post there talks about the exact same issue. Some of the posters have argued that it is the "cost for advertising". Some also note that bounty questions are generally more difficult than the average so awarding/or losing bounty points at random is arbitrary. I am not seeing much hope of this somewhat unjust policy changing. $\endgroup$
    – Ariel
    May 9 '12 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Gung I cannot divine any assumption of the existence of an answer in the last paragraph of the quotation. Isn't "In any case" sufficiently explicit? $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    May 9 '12 at 14:09
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    $\begingroup$ The part I'm referring to is "... be sure to follow up and award your bounty to the best answer". To my mind, "the best answer" assumes that there is an answer, and "best" implies to me that there is more than 1. I do take your point, I just want to acknowledge that a person could be thrown off by this. $\endgroup$ May 9 '12 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ I was definitely confused by the wording which is why I started a question abut this very same issue before I found this one. This is apparently by design but I very much disagree with it. $\endgroup$
    – Gabriel
    Jan 10 '14 at 19:28

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