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If one of the ways people can target expertise is via endorsements then that will have to be revisited (is there anyone here who didn't expect me to bring this up yet again). When a member's endorsements were obviously achieved by self-endorsement then those endorsements should be removed. It's one thing when the advice is free, another entirely when it is paid-for. The OP has the right to expect that endorsements (a measure of a member's standing in the community) was legitimately earned.

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Jim, there will most likely be a new algorithm built that puts some emphasis on our fairly recent member CV feature.

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Like it.

I think the OP has to choose the best answer, otherwise we get an SO type situation, where quite often the 'best answer' is ridiculous and I think this would be even more likely to happen on DW due to the significantly smaller userbase.

Perhaps "those who are about to die, salute you" crowd - i.e. those prepared to compete could have an 'Available' or 'Unavailable' tag, like an 'In' or 'Out' or 'Do Not Disturb' flag. When Unavailable, requests do not bother that person (special PMs or whatever system you decide upon).

In addition, we often see collaborative solutions in threads, where one builds on the post of another. In short we all jump in and offer improvements. With money involved, this could be a cause for dispute and ill-feeling. So in these types of threads, will gladiators write their thing and post, but all posts only appear simulataneously at a prescribed time?

I think the rep angle may be a bit misleading too, as one can envisage the top players getting all the requests, especially if the OP selects just 2 or 3 members. And even though this system needs to attract the best that DW can offer, it has the potential to alienate those "willing and able" who would wish to compete, but as yet do not have the vast numbers of rep as others. Just a small concern - I think your algorithm will need to be quite complicated :)

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Diafol, can you please elaborate on what you mean by saying the OP has to choose the best answer? How is that not what SO does?? I'm still not quite sure how to handle collaborative solutions.

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Regardless of how other sites choose the best answer, I'd say that if I'm paying a bounty, I should choose who receives the payout. I may pay it to one or more recipients.

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I guess that was my question. Out of curiosity, what does SO do? I'm not familiar with their system.

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I guess that was my question. Out of curiosity, what does SO do? I'm not familiar with their system.

Nor me - obviously! You're right. It's the sorted by upvotes I see. The green arrow is lost on me :)

Edited by diafol

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I like the idea in concept, of course the details need to be hammered down carefully if money is involved. In particular I'd like to see a handful of things in particular:

  1. The bounty amount can be set from the asker's available pool. This benefits higher priority questions or questions of greater difficulty.

  2. The asker chooses one or more answers manually and the bounty is split between those who answered. Automating the process does nothing but introduce opportunity for abuse.

  3. Allow high profile members to exclude themselves from the auto-selection process. Some of us don't do this for money, and adding the pressure of performing for a fee tends to take the fun out of it. ;)

  4. The homework rule should apply regardless of bounty. In fact, for violations of that rule, the bounty should be null and void even if someone answers before moderators can get to it. This will discourage people from doing people's homework for the bounty.

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Accepted answer chosen by OP.

Yes, I get it now - I meant to say 'was lost on me' - I didn't even see it. The whole time I was using SO, I never saw it. Blind as a bat!

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The homework rule should apply regardless of bounty. In fact, for violations of that rule, the bounty should be null and void even if someone answers before moderators can get to it. This will discourage people from doing people's homework for the bounty.

I agree with the homework rule in general, but once a person pays somebody to do some work for them, things may be a bit more serious. I'd be a bit peeved if I produced some work which was later deemed to be null and void due to another mod/admin's interpretation of what was and was not homework.

I'd be of a mind that if somebody was prepared to pay for a service and the task was not unreasonable for the amount offered, then why not? Money loosens morals :)

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I'd be of a mind that if somebody was prepared to pay for a service and the task was not unreasonable for the amount offered, then why not? Money loosens morals :)

My concern is destroying the integrity of Daniweb and potentially introducing legal issues from schools or students who have suffered punishment for cheating. If the homework rule needs to be modified such that there's less ambiguity in what constitutes homework, so be it, but a feature that essentially turns us into rent-a-coder would be the kiss of death, in my opinion.

If the payment is a pool for future questions then it's a non-issue. The pool simply doesn't apply for cheating on one's homework. Perhaps place bounty threads in a moderation queue for approval? That would slow down the process, but ensure that the bounty question meets requirements.

Edited by deceptikon

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I think the general rule of helping people with their code should apply regardless of whether ot not someone pays.

"I need code for do some task, here's a dollar" type posts should be trashed always.

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Rent-a-coder is what it may be anyway? From what I can see, I don't think that it would make for a lucrative career, but contributors may be more prepared to spend limited time on paid-for threads than the general 'please help me' ones. Would DW suffer from legal issues for answering a coding question? Maybe the student would - and that would serve them right. Although we have the rule in place, there are numerous examples where help has been given - sometimes complete solutions, despite a mod previously posting "this is homework, do your own work".

I think the moderating of would-be paid-for threads is a good idea, but it would incur a time penalty as you state, which may be a deal-breaker for some.

I think the general rule of helping people with their code should apply regardless of whether ot not someone pays.

This is what we do :)

"I need code for do some task, here's a dollar" type posts should be trashed always.

As a rule they are. But this is a different proposition.

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Note that this is not rent-a-coder. Question askers aren't paying a bounty for their question to be answered. They are simply paying DaniWeb for us to promote their question to a segment of our audience most likely to be able to help them. The more they spend with us, the more people we promote their question to. It's a very easy segway from the current system of paying $1 to get your article highlighted to draw more attention to it. There are no guarantees. They're just paying for promotion.

As far as question answerers are concerned, DaniWeb is assigning a bounty to certain questions.

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It wouldn't make sense to put pay-for-promotion threads into a moderation queue because additional time to go live is actually punishing the person for spending money promoting their thread.

Also, I don't think the homework issue will be a problem. If you've noticed, homework issues are never promoted with our current donation system. If a student wants a guaranteed fast answer, they'd use rent-a-coder as they always have. I don't see this being a big segway from paying $1 to highlight your question to bring more attention to it versus paying $1-2 to promote your question to a targeted audience most likely able to help.

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OK, I seem to have missed the point of what you were proposing. Not what I thought. Just as long as users have the option of blocking any PMs if this is how you are going to promote it the targeted audience.

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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 a certain "class division", so to speak (the same "elite" members are collecting all the bounties).

The second thing is, what about maybe making the system anonymous? What I mean is, the OP puts down the bounty, and depending on the amount, it buys him a certain number of members to be notified, but then, he doesn't get to choose the members from a list, but rather some algorithm would pick out the members (without telling the OP which members were picked). I think this could remove some of the pressure of being specifically called out to answer a question, and would allow you to have a more randomized algorithm that wouldn't just always pick out the same top-ranking users all the time. I imagine that many members that are somewhat new to Daniweb (and even veterans) don't really know, by name, that many other members that could answer their question, and would just end up picking all the top members from whatever forum they are posting in. For example, in the C++ forum, the highest profile members (which are pretty much me, AD, and deceptikon) would be on the top-three of everyone's bounty, all the time, which isn't very welcoming for new potential "answerers". But if it is randomized, then the OP could just be paying 2$, getting him promotion with 20 members, which would be chosen at random, but with a distribution that reflects the likelihood of being able to help (given their posting history (rep / endorsements / etc..)). Or maybe, this behavior could be optional (e.g., call out some members specifically, and leave the others to be chosen randomly).

I think there is potential, with this bounty system, to attract new answerers. The veteran answerers, like myself, who have answered hundreds if not thousands of question on Daniweb already, are clearly not in it for the money. But I remember the time when I was first answering questions, and this feeling of accomplishment of having been able to provide helpful advice, which, in some sense, turned into an addiction. I'm sure there are many potential answerers are never quite drawn in sufficiently to get "hooked", and being randomly called out on a bounty could be just the push they need. I think that this opportunity shouldn't be missed in whatever bounty system you decide to create.

Just as long as users have the option of blocking any PMs if this is how you are going to promote it the targeted audience.

I reiterate that I object quite strongly to the idea of using PMs as the notification mechanism. I think that another notification system should be used (similar to chat) and an email notification.

Votes + Comments
Could not agree more.
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Mike,

Firstly, yeah, it will most likely be a separate notification system than private messaging. I'm with you there.

Secondly, while I really like your idea, it's also important to me to incorporate the social community building aspect of it ... playing matchmaker hooking up people who need help with people capable of providing the help, being a connector, and fostering online professional relationships. I feel like making it all anonymous makes it strictly about money flowing out of one hand and into another and less about connecting people within the community who share interests.

Can anyone possibly come up with an idea to help marry Mike's idea with my objectives? :)

Votes + Comments
I'm in with you: connecting people!
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I understand your concerns Dani. Here is one suggested "workflow":

  1. The OP writes up his question / new thread.
  2. There is some box in the form to add a bounty to his thread, with some money amounts and corresponding number of members notified. He selects the option and an amount.
  3. A randomly generated (but well-distributed) list of members appears (in no particular order), where half (or so) are selected.
  4. The OP can unselect some members and select others instead if he wishes, as long as the number of members matches the amount at the end.
  5. The OP posts the question, and the targeted members are notified.
  6. As a targeted member clicks on the notification, he can read the thread (the usual page), but has the opportunity to opt-out of responding to the bounty by forwarding the bounty to another member (from the original list, or a new one, excluding members already targeted).
  7. Or, if someone has already given a good response to the question, in the opinion of the targeted member, he can forfeit his bounty in favor of that answer / member, effectively saying "he said what I would have said, give the bounty to him". That could also trigger some rep-points for that member, as it is, effectively, an up-vote.
  8. If the OP is satisfied by one or more members' responses, he awards the bounty to him/them. The OP can also see what members received forfeited bounties.

I think that (3) is good for the reasons I mentioned before. Then, (4) gives the OP some control on who gets targeted. I guess this is already what you had in mind, right?

Then, (6) serves the dual purpose of lifting some of the pressure to respond (by being able to opt-out) and fostering the community aspect by having to select / pay-forward to another member. The notification to the forwarded targeted member could be different from the usual bounty notification (as in, instead of the normal "You've been targeted for a bounty on this thread", it could be something like "Member X thinks you'd be better to answer the bounty on this thread" (Member X could be anonymous, like "A member thinks ..")).

Then, (7) just reflects the way I often respond (internally) to threads, that is, I look at the thread, see the existing answers, and think to myself "these answers are good enough, I have nothing to add".

Finally, (8) (with the feedback on forfeited bounties) might help the OP understand that for one reason or another, everyone agrees that the thread has been answered, and that that might mean that his question was not clear enough, if he doesn't feel it was answered, as opposed to just thinking that people ignored it.

I actually think that with or without a bounty, there should be a mechanism like this (7 and 8).

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I'm not meaning to backburner this idea :) Just been a very busy week.

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OK, so I took a couple of days to give this a lot of serious thought.

Firstly, my concerns with Mike's revised workflow is that it makes the whole monetary side way too front and center. I want it to work more like reputation ... you aren't necessarily conciously aware of it on a point-by-point basis, but you check your member profile from time to time and see how far you've come. I don't want the $$$ factor to ever outweigh the community discussion, or for thought to be put into how much money you or someone else deserves, etc.

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Yeah, I think some of us got the wrong idea about what you are planning to do. I think we thought bounties were given as a sort of "come get a cash reward for replying to this thread!", but from our discussion, Dani, it is clear that you want the monetary aspect to be very low key, under the radar. I didn't mean to make the monetary side front and center, I just thought that this was what you had in mind already. But if the monetary side is very discreet, and there is no overt pressure of "hey, the OP paid money directed at you (among others), so you better reply!", then it's all fine with me, and I would retract any objections expressed earlier on this thread.

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I thnk that "come get a cash reward for replying to this thread" does well in the Q&A space, but I want to remain a discussion community first and foremost, where $$$ shouldn't constantly be over one's head. However, I do want some type of financial incentive to the experts to be more active on a regular basis, and to have a reason to seek out threads that need solving. Make sense? :)

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Those two objectives do make sense. But they also make a nice contradiction! Keeping the money question on the down low doesn't really play well with the idea of giving it as an incentive. This is getting a bit confusing.

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I want money to be an incentive to participate more in the community (perhaps the ability to exchange some formula that converts monthly accrued activity points + reputation + solved threads = points that can be cashed out for a dollar value) but I don't want people to be consciously focusing on just how much exactly is earned from each individual click or keypress, or for it to be a part of a conscious decision as to whether or not to reply to a post, mark a post solved, etc.

Edited by Dani: Clarification

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I want members asking questions to have the option to donate a bounty to DaniWeb (a more feature-rich version of exactly what is available now), and for DaniWeb to monetarily reward in some fashion members who are active in bountied threads (perhaps as part of a formula where you get an extra 10% incentive in rewards points that can be cashed out when you help solve a thread that was bountied). I don't want it to be seen by members as rent-a-coder or a place where people can get their questions answered for a fee. We're a discussion community ... not a Q&A rent-a-coder.

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