I don't understand the reasoning behind having to wait before putting a bounty on a question. It may help in a very rare case where I ask a question and while waiting for a response, I manage to find an answer myself (but I usually look for an answer myself before asking a question) and save myself the reputation. Perhaps there is also a worry that people with lots of reputation start throwing their weight in order to get quick responses, but honestly I think this is fine (note that this is coming from a user with not much reputation) because if someone's reputation is high/increasing their net input to the site is positive, they're going to be answering more questions than they are asking questions with a bounty. So a user putting bounties on a destructively large amount of questions is very unsustainable for that user.

The reason I ask this is that I am in a particularly frustrating situation now, where I have an exam tomorrow and cannot offer a bounty for a question that would help me for that exam.

As a disclaimer, I'm not trying to say that we should change the system, if it has worked in the past, I am just trying to understand why it is the way it is. However, perhaps an "early bounty fee" of $\approx$ 20% of the bounty could be applied to bounties set before the two day period rather than not allowing it to be posted.


Offering a bounty on a question has the side effect that close votes can no longer be cast on the question while the bounty is still active.1 Being able to set bounties immediately could create an environment where bounties are offered on off-topic or very poor questions for this express purpose. In part, the two-day delay between asking and setting a bounty is a period where the community vets the question itself.

Also, bounties should be set on questions which are in their "final" form. We often see questions which have not been asked as intended (or have simply been incorrectly transcribed from their sources). Even without the added bounty bonuses we have cases where users realise that they have submitted the wrong question after answers have been submitted. This sometimes creates an unfortunate atmosphere where the asker wants to edit their question to ask the correct question, but the answerers don't want their answers to become invalid. The delay then also allows everyone to ensure that the question being bountied is the question that was intended.

Finally, removing this delay would undoubtedly result in a dramatic increase in the number of bounties being set. The amount of extra exposure granted a question by being listing in the "featured" tab is inversely related to the number of questions with bounties. A question that would naturally be answered within 24 hours would additionally be wasting a spot in the featured tab (noting that bounties cannot be awarded within 24 hours of being offered).

1 Moderators can remove (and refund) active bounties, but this is something we do very infrequently.


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