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I recently put a bounty on a question, but still no one is answering it. When the bounty period ends, will the bounty just go to waste? If no one is answering I would prefer to just answer the question myself and get my 50 rep back, but I don't know if this is possible or allowed. Any advice would be appreciated.

Here is the link to the question:

Are there exact analytical solutions to the electronic states of the hydrogen molecular ion $\mathrm H_2^+$?

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    $\begingroup$ There is no way to recover the rep. Placing a bounty should be understood as buying exposure for your questions. It gets bumped. I goes in the featured tab. There are people who actively hunt bounties so they will definitely look at it. But there are no guarantees that you will get anything worthwhile. I think I'm personally running a little behind 50/50 on getting what I wanted out of bounties network wide, so caveat emptor. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Mar 30 '17 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ Related on Meta Stack Exchange: bounty expired with no answers… wasted reputation?, along with multiple duplicates. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Mar 30 '17 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate your bounty on that question, but to be frank I think that given the question's age and score it is relatively unlikely that it will receive an answer (or, at least, the barrier to it getting answered is higher than average). Adding a bounty buys exposure for the question, but beyond that there's nothing to do. If it makes you feel better, you're not alone. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Mar 30 '17 at 13:02
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Yes, if the bounty expires with no answers with positive score, it goes to waste. And yes, it is possible and allowed to answer the question yourself, but you cannot award a bounty to yourself, even if the answer is posted in someone else's post. You can get a bounty for an answer to your own question, but only if the bounty was offered by someone else.

In any case, don't worry too much about it: it's only been two days since you offered the bounty, and there are five more days left. It is not unlikely that the question will get an answer in the next few days. But even if it does not, there is nothing you can really do: the reputation will just go away. This is one of the factors you have to take into account when you choose to offer a bounty: you must be willing to let those rep. points go away if there are no good answers after the seven-day period. That's just how things work.

So my advice is: if the question gets a good answer, award the bounty to it (but please don't award it to a bad answer just so that the points don't go away). If it does not get a good answer, forget about it and move on.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great, for the info. Yes, if there is no good answer provided I suppose it's best just to let it go and move on - I'll keep this in mind for next time. I read somewhere that I might only be allowed to manually award my bounty in the first 24 hours, or am I allowed to do this for the entire week? $\endgroup$ – Inertial Ignorance Mar 30 '17 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @InertialIgnorance Bounties cannot be awarded in the first 24 hours, and after that you can manually award them at any time, until 24 hours after the bounty ends (at which point it will be automatically awarded or discarded). $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Mar 30 '17 at 13:07

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