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I added a bounty on a question simply because I wanted to reward an answer. Why must I wait 24 hours before awarding the bounty??? It seems as though I should be able to award a bounty any time I choose.

I perhaps understand some reasoning as a need to slow a user down to allow other answers, but really, if a user wants to add a bounty and then award it 10 minutes later, why are they prevented from doing so? Especially where the "reward answers" is the option chosen for the bounty?

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The 24 hours period for awarding bounties is designed mainly to attract attention to a question, rather than recognizing someone's great answer. This is why there is a waiting period, it's because of the way the bounties feature was designed. Bounties are seen more as a last resort for question that either requires more research and effort or needs a last chance before it's forgotten.

From the meta post mentioned in the comments:

The bounty system is specifically made to draw attention to a question and rub people the right way into answering it. The reason there is a period in which the bounty cannot be awarded is to allow people to spend some time into providing a great answer -- which sometimes requires some thought and research. If a bounty is awarded quickly, it discourages other potentially better answers -- people would be significantly less inclined to provide a great answer to a question for which the bounty has already been awarded.

Another reason for some seemingly unnecessary restrictions on the bounty system (i.e. bounty amounts, maximum number of outstanding bounties at any particular time, bounty times etc.) are there to prevent abuse, for example continuously transferring some of your rep to a buddy of yours.

So, I think it's good to add bounties as a recognition of effort, but because they were designed with other uses in mind, there are limitations to it (the 24 hours waiting period being the main one).

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  • The only thing to add to this is - while a bounty's open on a question, the question is listed more prominently, and more people see it. So, if you think an answer is great, it's good to have the bounty open for a little while: so other users are more likely to see it, and more likely to benefit from that great answer. Feb 4 '15 at 17:22

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