This question is in response to marmot's leaving of the site as discussed in the comments of this post. Comments are disabled there, so I ask this as a separate question.
In the comments Stefan Kottwitz writes:
To the fact, that you are moving your points to others, thousands already: I saw the answers with the bounties and they are great and deserve appreciation. Why didn't you set the bounties earlier? Just to clarify then: you are now misusing the bounty system to move points massively. That can be considered as gaming the system and reputation manipulation.
I'm actually quite surprised to read this. Bounties to me serve two purposes: Either to raise attention to a question that doesn't have fully satisfying answers yet, or to show appreciation to a certain answer that you consider worth more that just a 10-points-upvote.
Users with a lower reputation score will certainly have to consider more carefully how much points they award as bounty and how often they do to not lose certain site privileges. But users with a 100k and above reputation clearly are able to award extra credits more generously.
While I still hope marmot changes his mind about leaving this site, if he finally decides to do so, I really appreciate that he wants to give back some of his points to others before doing so. I know answering questions shouldn't be about collecting points, but it's sometimes still a bit frustrating when you put a lot of effort or time into solving a problem and writing an answer (usually an old one) that pops up in the recent activity list for a few minutes and then forever vanishes in the depths of the site. It leaves you with that uneasy feeling no one cares about what you have written and the time you have spent on this. Receiving a bounty for such answers will certainly give you extra motivation.
So I really don't follow the insinuation that giving credits to others, especially in this case, could be considered a "reputation manipulation". I can't tell what criteria were considered to award the bounties, all of the answers seem TikZ-related, but it's not that bounties were given to random, low-quality answers or with the intent to push the reputation of certain users. To me the motivation just seemed to be "my credits will disappear after leaving the site, why not giving some of them back to the community before that happens?" That doesn't seem a bad intent to me at all.
@Stefan: Why do you consider the awarding a misuse of the bounty system in this case?
@All moderators: What awarding behavior in general is considered manipulative or a misuse of the system?