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I found a fantastic answer that saved me tons of time. Really, we are talking a lot of time and effort.

So naturally I wanted to do more than just upvote it. I thought, "sweet, they changed the bounty system a while back to allow me to "tip" a user who really helped me out".

I made a bounty of 100 on the question then tried to award it to the answer. I was then told I had to wait 24 hours...

Why do I have to wait 24 hours? Now it looks as if I am looking for better answers. I am not, I just want to tip a great answer.

I would like to suggest that if the question is old, that the bounty time limit be removed.

Something like: if the question is more than X days old and there are no new answers for X days (or some such thing). That will allow for tips to be directly applied, but also protect trigger happy new askers from accepting the first answer that gets applied to their new bounty question.

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Did you try leaving a comment saying "Thanks for the best answer so far! This really helped me!"? While seemingly doubtful in this case, you might actually receive a better answer. The system tries to make sure that everyone who can answer has a chance at answering. –  Tim Post Jul 22 '11 at 16:44
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@Tim - the thing is, I am not looking for a better answer. What was asked was perfect. It fit my need 100% and I have moved on. I just wanted to say thanks to the great answer with more than an upvote. (I plan to actually "say" thank you via a comment when I award the points.) –  Vaccano Jul 22 '11 at 16:48
    
Because a year ago I got rid of 3,000 reputation within a day or so by placing and awarding multiple 500 point bounties on meta, and it was determined that allowing users to do that was probably not a good idea... ( meta.stackoverflow.com/users/2915/… ) I did so on many old questions (in fact, since you can't place a bounty for the first 36 hours, they were all at least that old) so I'm not sure that your "old question" requirement will allay the fundamental problem. –  Adam Davis Jul 22 '11 at 17:50
    
@AdamDavis: Why the apparent aim to get rid of reputation? Is that just something you do for fun on Meta, or is it some kind of statement you're making because of some fundamental problem you have with the system? –  Cody Gray Jul 22 '11 at 18:07
    
@Cody For whatever reason, I don't want my meta rep to be larger than my stackoverflow rep. I've been able to break the addiction I have with stackoverflow, but not, apparently, with meta. So I'm now marking my answers cw, and occasionally performing a random bounty due to residual rep gained on older posts. I can only assume it's my vanity coupled with some sort of irrational belief about what the ratio of meta to SO rep says about oneself. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42501/… for more thoughts on this... –  Adam Davis Jul 22 '11 at 18:33

2 Answers 2

Because another (arguably the most common) use case for bounties is to encourage answers to questions, especially old questions.

And waiting a minimum of 24 hours is just courteous to those of us who like to sleep occasionally. You have to give us at least 24 hours to come back to the site and see your newly-featured question, complete with a bounty. Otherwise we don't even have a chance to answer the question before you start and award the bounty.

Also, what if someone else comes along and has an even better answer to post than any of those that you've already gotten? Wouldn't you want to award them the bounty?

If you're made up your mind that you absolutely do not want to award the bounty to anyone else but a particular user who has already left an answer, then I suggest adding a comment or some text to your question that indicates this goal. But in general, I would discourage that practice. The point here is always to get the best answers that you can, not to artificially discourage people from answering.

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Here is the genesis of the current delay:

Is bounty rep-dump gaming? (subtitle: Pollyanna lottery!)

we are adding a 1-day delay between the time a bounty starts and when it can be awarded.

It might be good to address this issue when you request that the limit be changed.

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