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I posted a question early this morning. So far it has very few views and no answers or comments. It's a complicated topic and I want to add a bounty to attract more attention and hopefully get an answer faster, but the system won't let me.

The "start a bounty" link is available for my older questions, but not this new one. Why is that? Is there a waiting period after a new question is posted, before a bounty can be added? If yes, what is the waiting period and is it listed anywhere on the site?

And why have a waiting period at all? Suppose somebody wants to provide an incentive to get an answer quickly, rather than waiting around for several days? Why not let them offer the bounty immediately?

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There are certain requirements to be able to set a bounty, as explained in the FAQ.

There are a few other rules around bounties:

  • Questions must be at least 2 days old to be eligible for a bounty.
  • Users must have at least 75 reputation to offer a bounty.
  • Only 1 active bounty per question at any given time.
  • There are a maximum of 3 active bounties allowed per user at any given time.
  • Once initiated, the bounty period lasts 7 days.
  • After starting a bounty, you must wait 1 day before awarding it.
  • There is a grace period of 24 hours after a bounty ends to manually award the bounty.
  • If you do not award your bounty within 7 days (plus the grace period), the highest voted answer created after the bounty started with at least 2 upvotes will be awarded half the bounty amount.
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    OK, I see it now. It was embedded in the hidden text on the FAQ page so I didn't notice it before. – Mike Rowave Sep 13 '11 at 21:12
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    What was the reason behind the mandatory 48-hour wait? I can understand not wanting to have complaints from new users losing nearly all their rep points because they don't understand the bounty system, but that seems too restrictive for more experienced users who should understand the system better and would have more points to spare. – Mike Rowave Sep 13 '11 at 21:15
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    The idea is that you should give it enough time to see if you'll get any good answers. If you haven't gone 2 days yet you haven't given it enough time to see if there'll be any responses. – nhinkle Sep 13 '11 at 21:16
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    For cases where it's important to get an answer more quickly, it would be good to have the option to offer a bounty immediately or within a few hours after posting a question. And it would make sense to have the rapid-offer bounty also expire fast like in 2 or 3 days, so people won't use it unless they really want a fast answer (and to increase the incentive to answer quickly). – Mike Rowave Sep 14 '11 at 0:00
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    I doubt there's enough of a usage case scenario for that, but you can always make a feature request for it here on [meta.su] or on Meta Stack Exchange. – nhinkle Sep 14 '11 at 0:02
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    Questions with bounty cannot be closed. We need a period of time to filter off-topic questions before users can protect it like that. Also, @Mike if you're in that much of a hurry, chances are your question is very specialized (read: too localized) to begin with and has little value to others. – Daniel Beck Sep 14 '11 at 8:14

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