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When I bounty a question I'm often looking for something specific or a significant level of detail that deserves it. I'm only going to award the bounty to a question that satisfies the criteria of my hard earned points - I'd say many people are in the same boat.

With this in mind - why is there a time limit on how long it is before I can award a bounty? I wouldn't think people would be doing this unless they truly felt the answer met all the conditions of their having places a bounty originally. I understand it's this way for a reason - curiosity is killing me though and I'd love to know what that reason is!

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To avoid wholesale reputation gifting perhaps? I want to transfer rep to a friend, pick out a question he answered, put a bounty on it and immediately award it to the friend. No one else gets a chance to even answer the question to compete for the same bounty? – Martijn Pieters Sep 5 '12 at 9:15
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Bounties are meant to encourage new and great answers on a question.

The initial delay on allowing the bounty being awarded ensures that people have a fair chance of discovering the bounty and posting an answer. If there was no such delay, there is a tendency to just award it to the first comer, to the fastest-gun-in-the-west answer that might not be the best, unfairly favouring the quick bounty hunter instead of the thoughtful long-and-complete answer.

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Makes sense - now if only I could bounty this question already for the sheer irony of it :) – Codingo Sep 5 '12 at 9:22
    
+1 for the fastest-gun-in-the-west answer – SingerOfTheFall Sep 5 '12 at 9:37
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But how can I then award a bounty immediately for a very nice answer? When I start a new bounty on my question, I can select the reason "Reward existing answer", in which case it doesn't make any sense to wait for better answers... – leemes Oct 24 '12 at 14:51
    
@leemes: See Should the 24-hour timeout apply to bounties awarded for "exemplary answer"?. The delay prevents or at least discourages gaming the system. – Martijn Pieters Oct 24 '12 at 14:53
    
Ah, I see... thanks ;) – leemes Oct 24 '12 at 14:54

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