Responses to your responses

We are grateful for all of the praise and feedback that we have received over the last month. I’m going to take this opportunity to respond to some of it.

Thomas Maier writes::

WP support. Basically what you expected, right? Yes, from an superficial perspective. WP Questions introduced a whole new idea to a world which was totally uncommerical: Payment. And what it makes so cool is that these fucking five bucks or what you spend for a emergency question make it incredibly efficient and really fast. You’ll get quick and professional answers. And ideally by answering questions of others you “win” your money back. And above all it has a great and simple design which impressed me quite a bit.

That sums it up well: introducing a commercial element is the aim. I think the free forums are somewhat unfair to the experts who volunteer their time there. Ultimately, the success of WP Questions should be judged by whether or not we make it easier for experts to earn money off of their knowledge. In response to the launch of WageMachine, I said:

I’ve had stretches of $100 an hour work followed by stretches of almost no work coming in, and I’ve been left wondering, why isn’t there more in the middle? And why can’t my own wage vary up and down casually, depending on circumstances, including such trivial circumstances as:

Am I at a friends house, waiting on a friend?

Am I bored and trying to kill time?

At such times I often go on to forums and answer people’s questions. Such work isn’t worth $100 an hour but it is worth something. So why aren’t there more places where I could pick up some money for answering such questions?

Implicit in the idea of “make it easier for experts to earn money off of their knowledge” is “give askers faster and better quality answers”. I believe these 2 aims fit together naturally.

Scribu offers this review of our site:

What you’re paying for is not the knowledge itself – you could get that free of charge, by asking in the support forums. But by asking on WP Questions, you have a higher chance of getting a timely answer from one or more knowledgeable people, whereas in the forums your question could simply be overlooked or be given a half-baked answer.

I really think this could work. With the ever-growing user base of WordPress, a need for reliable, high-quality support is starting to appear. See WP Help Center for instance.

It was my frustration with “half-baked answers” that lead me to start thinking about a site like this. As I wrote in the very first post:

And yet, over the years, I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with free forums. I find it frustrating when I post a question that is altogether unique, but someone mistakes it for a common question, and so the only reply I get is “RTFM!!!!!” When people offer you free help, sometimes they are wonderful, but sometimes they attack you for aspects of your project that are beyond your control. For instance, I was once asked to fix a Javascript slideshow that depended on jQuery for functionality, and when I posted some of the code to a forum, the only response I got was “Do not use jQuery!” But it was the lead programmer on that project who had decided to use jQuery, and I didn’t have the power to change that. I only had the power to fix the problem that I had been assigned.

In the comments, I was confused by this:

I covered the site in July of 2008

We launched just 4 weeks ago, on December 8th of 2009. The domain name was previously owned by Leland of I was under the impression that he had never used the domain name for anything, but I could be wrong about that.

There’s a search field, but it would be nice if the site had a public archive of questions answered in the past.

This is good advice, and we’ve adopted the suggestion. The archives are now public. We may in the future adopt a mixed model.

Will WP Questions still be here next year?

I hope so! And I hope by then we’ve been able to roll out similar sites for MySql, PHP, Ruby, Groovy, Grails, etc.

Oliver Schlöbe writes up a plugin from code that he posted on WP Questions. In the spirit of our fundraiser, we expect to eventually have partially hidden archives, paid access, and we hope to pay royalty payments to peple who have offered answers like Oliver.

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2 Responses to Responses to your responses

  1. RTFM almost always means the respondent has absolutely no idea what the answer is.

    People that do know what the answer is will either provide the answer or ignore you. Often, people ask questions for which they have absolutely no capability for understanding the answers. That’s when they get ignored.

    You may want to watch how Stack Overflow is operating to see the “classical” model in operation.

    It’s an excellent example.

    My reputation is at -1 because I incorrectly answered my very first question which should have been a comment, but I didn’t know that, and didn’t have enough points to even provide a comment.

    So I was tooled by “lizardboy,” the highest reputation user on the whole site. 15 years of experience means nothing. One simple mistake and some anonymous doober renders me ineffective.

    Please don’t do that here.

    BTW, for you newbies, “cutesie” anonymous handles like “lizardboy” were how the internet operated 15 years ago. Everyone used a nick. Using your real name was somehow gauche.

    Don’t believe me, go wading back through usenet in the early 90s.

  2. lawrence says:


    We may at some point introduce a voting system on WP Questions, but we will put some careful thought into avoiding arbitrary outcomes.

    I understand your experience on Stack Overflow. As I wrote on the blog today, I’ve had some humbling experiences being shown up by other programmers:

    That goes for forums, as well as paid projects.

    — lawrence

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