Do I have to award the bounty even if the answer does not deserve it and is downvoted? This is in relation to this question of mine where there is only one and that too downvoted answer..

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    $\begingroup$ Your bounty didn't work:( But wait, there is still a grace period, I think. And, I don't deem it apt to reward the bounty to a downvoted answer. $\endgroup$
    – user36790
    Nov 14 '15 at 12:18

You never have to award a bounty.

If you choose not to manually award a bounty, it may be automatically awarded to an answer, but not if that answer is downvoted. From the help center:

If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with a minimum score of 2 will be awarded half the bounty amount. If two or more eligible answers have the same score (i.e., their scores are tied), the oldest answer is awarded the bounty. If there's no answer meeting those criteria, the bounty is not awarded to anyone.

In your specific case, the bounty will not be automatically awarded.


Do I have to award the bounty even if the answer does not deserve it and is downvoted?

No you don't, but there is a certain "honour" at work here. I've offered a bounty before, and awarded it even though I wasn't happy with the answers. See for example this question. As a result people know that they can trust me. If you offer a bounty and then don't award it, next time you won't get one answer, you'll get none.

This is in relation to this question of mine where there is only one and that too downvoted answer.

You should ask the posters here if they downvoted that answer. And if so, why they didn't offer an answer of their own. Do note that there are some downvoting issues here on physics Stack Exchange, see this meta question. Always remember that physics is not a democracy. Votes don't make a right answer wrong, or vice versa. You should look to the evidence and explanation and references, and ask for elaboration in the comments. Or ask a new question to tease out the issue and get to the underlying problem.

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    $\begingroup$ The honour thing you wrote about was something I could not agree with. I am giving away some of my reputation to get a proper answer and then I get one answer which does not clear my doubts fully. I obviously am thankful to the person that he spared time to read the question and write an answer for me. But it does not help me totally. Still, for what you call "trust of people", I have to award the bounty? As for your answer to my question, I read the comments below and found them equally relevant. BTW I am not the downvoter of your answer here or on my original question either. $\endgroup$ Nov 21 '15 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ Some part of the second paragraph is rational advice. First one is quite irrational, IMO. Hence, my +1 and -1 respectively for these counterbalance, and I've decided not to vote on this post. $\endgroup$
    – 299792458
    Nov 21 '15 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Aniket : you gave away a lot of your reputation by not honouring the bounty. $\endgroup$ Nov 21 '15 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ That's your personal feeling, perhaps. Your response is getting very irrational indeed. In that case, you should stop reacting here in the comments' section and rather ask the mods to make it mandatory to award the bounty irrespective of whether the asker likes it or not- because of what you are calling "modesty","honour"."prestige" and blah blah blah... $\endgroup$ Nov 22 '15 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Aniket : there's nothing irrational about saying if you offer a bounty and then withdraw it, nobody will trust you again. $\endgroup$ Nov 22 '15 at 11:50
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    $\begingroup$ What trust are you talking of? Am I a politician that I need to earn everyone's trust to get their votes? I am a user on this site. I posted a question, it got closed, then it was reopened, I gave a bounty to seek a proper answer and I did not get one. Simple. And I believe people don't post answers just for rep..do they? There is something called "mutual help".. a satisfaction by helping a person who needs it really. That's why people post answers, apart from enriching their knowledge by participating in these discussion. I feel so, many others do too. So stop CRYING for a mere bounty. $\endgroup$ Nov 22 '15 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ Not awarding the bounty is not the same thing as withdrawing it - you give up your reputation the moment you award the bounty and don't get it back for not specifically attaching it to a specific answer. An answer that received a net negative vote from the community does not deserve a bounty and the design of the bounty system bears this out. In the end, the bounty is mostly there to encourage good answers: it doesn't guarantee that it will get them, but you pay for the "advertising" with your bounty. Only a deserving answer will receive it. I think it's fair. $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    Nov 23 '15 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Floris : science is not a democracy. Downvotes don't make a right answer wrong, and upvotes don't make a wrong answer right. How about if you try answering the question? $\endgroup$ Nov 23 '15 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield I agree, but we are working with a certain "framework" here: a community that gives its opinion on the correctness or otherwise of an answer (given the very low bar for being allowed to vote, this can no doubt lead to distortions). Within such a framework, not awarding a bonus to a net-downvoted answer makes sense; from the perspective of the OP, if they don't consider an answer helpful, attaching their bounty to it would be a worse breach of integrity than letting the bonus go unused. I looked at the question and don't feel qualified to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    Nov 23 '15 at 20:05

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