Voting to assign prize money

As an experiment, we’ve enabled voting on WP Questions, so prize money is now assigned by a vote.

The askers and the top experts can both vote, though an expert who offered an answer on a particular question will not be allowed to vote on that question.

Voting starts either when the asker starts it, or 2 days after the question has expired.

To start the voting, the asker would click on the Assign Prize Money link:

Please note that after the voting is done, all votes will be public:

There is a drop-down select box under each answer. You can vote all the money to one answer, or you can vote to divide the prize:

If the prize is 15, then what you assign must equal 15. If you try to vote 10, and the prize is 15, you will not be allowed to finalize your vote.

Click the send button when you are ready.

What follows is a very technical description of the software, meant for computer programmers.

To end the voting and actually distributed the money, we have a cron script that runs each night. It uses this function to fetch the relevant questions and votes:

function getVotes() {
  $arrayOfVotes = array(); 

  $query = "
    SELECT vote.*, question.prize_amount, question.subject
    FROM vote, question
    AND question.status='voting_in_progress'
    AND to_days(question.end_at) < to_days(now() - 4)

  $result = mysql_query($query); 

  while ($row = mysql_fetch_assoc($result)) {
    $arrayOfVotes[$row['question_id']][] = $row; 

  $query2 = "
    SELECT vote.*, question.prize_amount, question.subject
    FROM vote, question
    AND question.status='voting_in_progress'
    AND to_days(question.voting_starts) < to_days(now() - 2)

  $result2 = mysql_query($query2); 

  while ($row = mysql_fetch_assoc($result2)) {
    $arrayOfVotes[$row['question_id']][] = $row; 

  return $arrayOfVotes; 

If the asker votes on the question, then the question immediately gains the status of "voting_in_progress". If, instead, the asker abandons the question, and never votes, then the question remains open till 4 or 2 days after its end_at date (when the question is first created, the end_at date is set 72 hours in the future).

question.voting_starts is a date set whenever the asker votes.

If the asker never votes, voting is open to the rest of the community 2 days after the date stored in question.end_at.

If no one ever votes on a question, then it is never found by the above the SQL. We have another cron script that runs every night and which will take any question that is still unresolved after 2 weeks and sweep its prize money into the Community Pot.

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4 Responses to Voting to assign prize money

  1. Pingback: The end of an experimental week

  2. Asad Iqbal says:

    I noticed that some people get answer from here but after expiring what happens with that money as they didn’t assign prize money. I can tell you a specific name but first need to know it actually is there any option to get help without paying money?

  3. Lawrence Krubner says:

    Asad Iqbal,

    When a question expires, the asker has a day to vote on it. After that, the top experts have a week to vote on it. The prize money is then divided up based on how everyone voted.

    Sometimes there are questions that have no clear answerer. So sometimes no one votes. The asker does not vote, and none of the experts vote. In those cases, the money goes into the Community Pot. From there, it is paid out to everyone as a kind of royalty payment.

    Good Citizens get triple weightings when money is paid from the Community Pot. You can read about that here:

  4. I posted a question yesterday and set the prize for $75. However, I really dont know how to use your site still. I had one person to respond since then. But, I dont know what to do after that. Do I wait on someone else to respond to my question, etc ? If not, do I just go with the one answer that i got, which wasnt much. The expert stated he would like to work with me and needed my login credentials. Do I assign the money to him now or later after I get the response. I’m not sure where in the process do you assign the prize/money and to what extent do they help you after you have already paid your money?

    I am confused.

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