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I'm thinking of going down the route where members can actually get paid to answer questions. Here's how I am thinking the concept might work, and you tell me if you think it makes sense:

Currently, when you create a new thread, you can donate $1 to have the article featured, which increases your chances of receiving a response. I want to take that to the next level. Not only does it get highlighted in the listing, but by members seeing that you spent money to get it highlighted makes people think like you spent more time putting your thoughts together to come up with a well thought out question, and might be more inclined to click into it and read it.

Here's my new idea: I'm thinking that after posting the new thread, it can make suggestions saying something such as, "Here are 8 members we think would be ideal candidates to answer your question. Select which ones (if any) you would like to send a PM to alerting them to your thread for $0.10 each."

Depending on how many members they choose to have an automated private message sent to, that would determine the bounty placed on the thread. For example, selecting 5 members would set the bounty to $0.50 and selecting 2 members would set the bounty to $0.20.

If a selected member solves the thread, then they win the entire bounty. The more members selected, the more competition there is to be the first one to answer the thread, and the higher the bounty.

Members would need to prove themselves based on reputation, solved thread statistic, endorsements, etc. to even make it to the list of potential candidates. The more active they are, and the better a member they demonstrate they are within specific categories, the more likely the system is at selecting them as potential candidates.

The benefit to question askers is that they can come to know DaniWeb as the ideal place to get answers fast because a small bounty will get lots of hand-picked members clammoring to be the first to answer their question. Sort of like a dating site that uses an algorithm to connect the question askers with the best question answerers for the job.

The benefit to the question answerers is that, the more time and effort they spend answering questions, the more likely they are to be selected to earn money answering questions, and the more money that they can make.

Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions?

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Last Post by Dani
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  • The other issue- we solve many questions but they never get marked solved. Once the user implements the answer, what motivation do they have to mark it and pay for it? Read More

  • I think that the bounty should be available to all, i.e., any member who ends up giving the "accepted answer" to the question should be entitled to the bounty, regardless of whether or not they were originally called out by the OP. Otherwise, it would be unfair and could promote … Read More

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    Did someone mention a DW mug... coffee set and T-shirt. I'm sold! Read More

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    Dani 1,638   3 Years Ago

    BTW I'll take all of your socialism comments to simply mean that I know how to do the running a community thing well :) Read More

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    <M/> 170   3 Years Ago

    >Oh, I forgot to mention!! Contributing editorial articles and code snippets also earns you money when people vote on them. Looks like i found something i should contribute to more often. I have a few snippets that i will post shortly. I just need to tweak the codes a bit … Read More

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The idea came from a conversation I had with someone yesterday regarding the local tech meetup and networking groups I host where they called me a connector. So I thought about what the ultimate goal of DaniWeb is, and in a sense, it's to connect people who need help with people who can do the helping ... in effect, playing matchmaker. So I took that a step farther to try to figure out how, exactly, DaniWeb can play matchmaker without the helpers being constantly pestered by people asking questions ... and that is to essentially be the Mechanical Turck of IT forums ;)

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Any other suggestions? My biggest quandry right now is how to determine who should win the bounty. Should it be split amongst everyone that "solved" i.e. posted in the thread before the OP marked the thread solved? Or the last person to post before the thraed is marked as solved? Either one of those would make the system way too easy to game.

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I can imagine the use and need.

You could also have a time limited bounty. There are always serious questions that need to be answered "today" so to speak, to help catch a deadline (not talking about homework).

I assume a solved thread can be achieved by more people, so they share the prize?

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I assume a solved thread can be achieved by more people, so they share the prize?

The problem with that, obviously, is people going down the list of bountied questions and posting pseudo-helpful posts just to earn a portion of the bounty.

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No, I did not mean automatically. The OP should be able to select one or more helpful answers. Often enough the combination of two replies solves it, not just a single reply.

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Members would need to prove themselves based on reputation, solved thread statistic, endorsements, etc

Also: based on activity. There are a few members (including me) with quite a high rank when it comes to reputation and solved thread, but who aren't really active anymore.

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the OP should be able to select one or more helpful answers. Often enough the combination of two replies solves it, not just a single reply.

And there's also the fact that sometimes, I(and others) got a raise of their solved questions, but the contribution did little or nothing to solve the OP's question.
Your idea has some potential, but I'm not so in the idea of sending a bunch of possible question solvers on a "bountyhunt".

Edited by ddanbe: addition

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I agree with pritaeas. In order to help avoid gaming the OP should pick which answers, if any, were helpful. I have occasionally posted in a thread, not with a solution, but with a reply stating why a particular proposed solution was incorrect. While this does not strictly speaking help the OP directly, it could save him/her some wasted time. I wouldn't feel comfortable being automatically given a portion of the bounty under those circumstances.

However, because I am not in this for the money, I would be quite happy just donating any loot back to daniweb.

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What if only those members who are selected and participate in the thread get to vote on either a single member or all members get a cut.

Ten members = Nine checkboxes
Each ticks one or more boxes of who they believe helped solve the thread, after that, a percentage maybe, or might even be an outright winner.

As we know there are many ways in solving a problem, and not everyone will agree on which is the best solution, including the thread starter.

Just a few thoughts.

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What if only those members who are selected and participate in the thread get to vote on either a single member or all members get a cut.

Again too easy to game. If I post in the thread with 4 accounts and my main account, it means I can vote for myself 4 times.

I think the only reasonable solution to this is what Pritaeas said; get the OP to pick one or more users when they mark the thread as solved. If the OP picks no one, DW would just keep it. Perhaps put it in a separate "pot" and use it as a "prize fund" for any competitions you might want to do.

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I'd go with Prit's idea too, I would also like to contribute all my potential earnings back into DW if this goes live.

My only concern is we get a LOT of homework questions. These cannot be answered in full because it defeats the point of homework. Somehow the moderators will need to identify such threads and 'untag' these as being their own separate entity.

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I suppose if a member has 4 accounts they could still make 4 entries whoever chooses the winner.

If honesty and integrity cannot be relied upon, the whole idea is doomed to fail.

Edited by Suzie999

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Also, consider cases where the OP is wishy-washy. Let's say the OP selects some answer which gets the bounty but later realizes that it's not the complete solution. Should the OP expect the follow-up solution from the bounty-winner. You might want to shown an alert box saying that once the answer is selected, OP can't go back otherwise I can imagine quite a bit of havoc that might cause.

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Any other suggestions? My biggest quandry right now is how to determine who should win the bounty.

Just let the one paying the money decide who gets the bounty; I think that would be a fair enough implementation.

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I suppose if a member has 4 accounts they could still make 4 entries whoever chooses the winner.

If honesty and integrity cannot be relied upon, the whole idea is doomed to fail.

However, what would be the point. If the OP chooses the winner and you make 4 different posts with 4 accounts, all you're doing is making it harder to choose. Why not demonstrate your knowledge from a single account, you would be much more likely to be selected if you're shown to be a good contributer.

Let's say the OP selects some answer which gets the bounty but later realizes that it's not the complete solution. Should the OP expect the follow-up solution from the bounty-winner.

In this case, my personal choice would be no. The OP has selected their answer as being what they wanted. If the OP is "wishy-washy" and doesn't get the complete answer they were after but mark the question as answered, then it's a problem of their own making.

Let's take the question/answer:

Q: "Do you like red or yellow?"
A: "Yes" <-- Marked as solved

The question is ambiguous and so is the answer, however, the OP has chosen to close the question and say that this answer was satisfactory to their purposes. If they actually wanted to know which colour, they should have asked that before they closed their question.

A programming example:

Q: "How do you write lines to the Console in C#?"
A: "Console.WriteLine("Your String Here");" <--- Marked as solved

I would then not expect to be forced to answer (to get the reward) the follow-up:
Q: "I meant how do you write lines, i.e. the lines of a triangle."

If this was actually what they wanted, the question should not have been marked as solved, but instead the qualifying question should have been asked as part of the thread.

I think the real problem happens when the OP is dissatisfied, or does not receive an answer. This is a whole new can of worms and would need a dispute resolution process.

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The other issue- we solve many questions but they never get marked solved. Once the user implements the answer, what motivation do they have to mark it and pay for it?

Votes + Comments
yeah! and it's real fustrating when i try to help someone and find that it's actualy been solved :(
You got a good point there.
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what motivation do they have to mark it and pay for it?

Pay up front, put it in a DW account... distribute after.

If they don't mark it, bad rep will follow by the hand of disgruntled users.

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Ryantroop, members are essentially paying for the promotion of their new question to system-recommended answerers. So they paid their part already and the money is now sitting in a pot. There could be added incentive (such as a stat in member profiles that shows the percentage of bountied questions someone asked that were marked solved) to actually mark a question as solved. It would operate like an auction site seller rating ... answerers replying for money would learn to not waste their time on bountied questions posted by askers with a low fulfillment score. The askers paid upfront already so there's no reason for them to not want to have the person who helped them get the money.

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OK, so it seems that my idea has merit since everyone seems excited about working out the kinks in the idea. Except, of course, for Nick Evan, who seems to think that money isn't a good enough incentive to come back to us. :) But, perhaps, maybe he's wrong, because a thread called 'Get Paid to Answer Questions' apparently caught his attention enough to post.

Regardless, seems like it's worth hammering out the details here.

Votes + Comments
Yeah! Money money money!
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Sounds very interesting. I like the concept.

I'd recommend as I usually do that you consider updating the way the leadboards/stats work. Since your proposed system depends on values such as reputation, endorsements, etc..., it would make more sense to have a maintains stats for a shorter period of time (say 6 months) so you are including the most active individuals in this process.

It wouldnt make sense for your algorithm to include those individuals such as christina>you or alot of the members that have high reputation points, solved threads, etc.. that were awarded back in the day under different conditions.

If those inactive members want to keep their stats, they should become involved again. I see that as a motivation to continue to participate.

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Keep in mind that, more than e-peen stats, the system will take into consideration perceived knowledge in a particular category and an ability to be able to help the OP.

Playing devil's advocate, Jorge, as Nick Evan demonstrates, the lure of money might be enough to get some super smart people back to contributing.

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I like the idea overall. Not uber-excited about it, but there is some potential there.

I'm not so sure about using the PM mechanism to notify about bounties. I think that if this feature takes off, some of us will have a flooded inbox. Maybe something more like the chat notifications would be more appropriate.

I also share other people's concerns about the mechanism for awarding the bounty / pot to whoever "solved" the issue. Given how many OPs leave threads "unsolved" (even when, in reality, they are pretty much solved), it casts some doubt on the ability to come up with a more reliable system when there is money involved (or more accurately, spare change). There needs to be a fool-proof system for that, e.g., some time limits, automated "solve" marking, or something.

Or is the intent that Daniweb keeps the money if the thread is never marked as solved? That sounds a bit weird, i.e., "if Daniweb cannot deliver, Dani keeps the money!".

the lure of money might be enough to get some super smart people back to contributing.

Does that include Narue? ;) I bet "she" would get plenty of bounties.

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Oh, and another concern I would have about this system is the pressure that it puts on the answerers to answer. I get that this is the intent, but is it really desirable? What I mean is that currently, I usually just browse the questions and answer those that are interesting, quick to answer, have not been answered yet (or answered wrong), or all or any of the above. I'm not sure that the influence of money is all that great in that mix of reasons to answer a question. For example, currently, when there is a "OP Sponsor" tag, I'm more inclined to click on the thread, but I don't necessarily feel pressured to answer any more than with a normal thread. Putting money on targeted bounties puts additional pressure (e.g., I feel bad if I don't really want to answer that question, when I've been called out to answer it). It's similar to when people PM me (or chat) to ask me to check out a particular thread they posted, I sort of feel like I'm letting them down if I don't answer, but at the same time, I might be busy or otherwise not really interested in that question. I guess what I'm saying is be careful about a feature that might have the side-effect of giving your members a guilty conscience.

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If a thread goes dead without being marked as solved then after a suitable period the bounty could go into general revenue. Another thing to consider is hijacking. We have all seen a thread get answered (and possibly marked as solved) only to have a new poster ask another question. Sometimes the poster will ask follow-up questions. How do you manage asking for a bounty on that?

Edited by Reverend Jim

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I rather like the idea of rep and post counts dropping off after 6-12 months. What I did 8 years ago has little relevance today.

I'm not very crazy about the idea of paying people (however little) to answer questions. I do it because I want to, not because you will pay me for it. I'm completely satisfied with doing it for free. I may not participage even if asked.

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AD, it wouldn't necessarily have to change the way you use DaniWeb. Imagine doing exactly what you're doing now, but every so often, you could go into your member profile and click a little button saying 'You accumulated $15! Click here to cash out ...' Just a nice little surprise every so often.

And then, other people could actually use the site as bounty hunters, of course.

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If this helps Daniweb stay afloat then I'd be up for it. It is a business afterall. It might also help attract more knowledgable members and shift our rankings up the ladder. Good luck.

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