A. Doesn't a simple question like that deserve a simple answer? You'd think. But the world of Jewish baking has apparently not reached consensus on this question (bagels are boiled in water (sometimes including sugar, salt, and/or malt syrup) for a short time before they are baked, to make the crust chewier).
Here's what some prominent writers of Jewish cookbooks have to say on the timing:
The writers agree that if proofed correctly, the bagel will sink to the bottom of the pan and shortly rise to the top, at which point you start timing. If it takes a bit longer to rise, be patient, but don't start timing until it does. Then boil anywhere from 20 seconds to 6 minutes and you'll have done it correctly!