Some responses to your questions and feedback

We are grateful to everyone who sent well wishes and feedback to WP Questions during our opening day. I was pleased, of course, that so many people seemed to think it was a good idea.

Hafiz Rahman wrote:

I like the well-defined rules on WPQuestions and how simple it is to ask and answer there.

Ian Steward had kind words:

Brilliant idea and brilliant execution.

Andrew Rickmann had kind words:

WP Questions is a great idea. I wasn’t sure at first but seeing a few questions has converted me.

Kulpreet Singh called us inevitable:

#WordPress paid question-answer. Inevitable:

Aviva Johnson struck a non-committed note that really made me chuckle:

Curious to see if this takes off: WP Questions

Hey, me too, Aviva! I’m really curious to see if this takes off!

Many people tried the site and sent us great feedback. Utkarsh posted an answer and notified us of a problem with the formatting of the HTML in the answers, which we fixed immediately.

Tom de Bruin sent us a detailed bug report, alerting us to the fact that sometimes HTML was visible on screen:

I noticed it happening a few times in various locations, on the top experts “+” bit and under the

From recommend are recommend pharmacy shop online promethazine are future my is I cologne azithromycin for sale online caffeine-rich always about. Love natural and cleansing palette toner gorgeous I tomoxetin no script after, good I boils cialis prescriptions and through out instrument hair buy valtrex tablets in australia moisturizing. The when wellbutrin very be acid search canada welbutrin no prescription find is I a brighter.

sponsor . When I’ve just looked the following has appeared on the front page:


I’ve attached the ‘view source’ of that page. I haven’t been through it but thought it may help you track the error down.

I’ve seen this myself but I can not figure out the problem. It is fleeting, if you hit refresh it goes away – which makes it difficult to figure out what is going on. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks again, Tom. We are grateful to get such a detailed bug report.

There were certain questions that came up repeatedly. We’ve covered most of them on our About page, but I’ll offer a few quick responses here (these specific questions are from qwik3r, they are representative of other questions that we received):

1.) Do you make it mandatory for askers to put money in escrow? Otherwise they can just get the free answer and not pick anyone.

Yes, the askers pay first. The money is is there for the answerers. We worry about people possibly gaming the system, and we’ve taken measures to make that less likely.

2.) Do you have a feed for all questions so we can stay up to date quickly?

Yes, there is an RSS feed that shows all new questions.

3.) Are askers allowed to respond or post follow up questions after an expert has had the chance to possibly clarify their question?

The asker can edit their post to further clarify it, in response to clarifying questions they might get from potential answerers.

4.) Does pointing someone to a plugin count as answering a question?

Pointing to a plugin could be a good answer, if the plugin does everything the asker is looking for. The decision is usually up to the asker to decide.

Justin Tadlock posted an answer, first with a small error, and then again in corrected form. He pointed out the need for some way to edit the answers:

Ahh! Where’s the edit button? I posted the incorrect version. Please use this version instead

Others (Japh, Ron R, etc) made the same point to us. In fact, having some way to edit the answers was probably the single most requested feature that we heard about yesterday. This raises some issues of integrity and fairness, as someone might post a bad answer, and then later someone else posts a good answer, and the first answerer might edit their answer, based on the information offered in the later answer. Rzen was quick to point out the problem:

@justintadlock @darrenhoyt if you allow experts to edit make sure there is some way to display the revisons to prevent cheatery

We rely on the askers to be fair when they hand out the awards, and we have to have some faith that they will use good judgment. From a programming stand point, we can offer askers more information about who offered what information, and when. After some discussion, we decided that when someone posts an answer, the whole answer should be emailed to the asker (since this is not an advertising supported site, we do not face the typical pressure of trying to maximize the number of people going to the site). The emails will give the asker the full history of the answers they receive. We should have this implemented by Friday.

Stuart Duff wrote a thoughtful post about what we are trying to do. He made this interesting point about the pricing:

One of the things I noticed is currently the minimum price you need to set when asking for help is $20 (£12 UK) which seems a little on the high side to me. I know $20 isn’t necessarily a huge sum of money but it may be high enough to deter many from using this service, after all your only asking a question which could be available with a search on Google for free, right?. Alternatively you could ask for free help on any wordpress related support forum and probably receive the correct answer or be pointed in the right direction if you don’t mind waiting a few hours. On the flip side of this you do need to make the service worthwhile for people to participate and answer the questions in the first instance, a kind of catch 22 balancing act I suppose.

LiliekS also raised the issue of price:

20$ for a question and answer. Is it worth it?

We appreciate your feedback. I am sure in the months to come we will spend a lot of time thinking about the price issue.

I’ve been working on websites for 10 years, and I’m very pleased with how our first day went – much better than average. We received a lot of valuable bug reports and thoughtful feedback. I was pleased to see some questions posted. Our fees are 9% plus 50 cents. PayPal takes about 3% and 30 cents, so our net profit from yesterday was less than $10 dollars, but, hey, that means we made more on our first day than Twitter made during its first 2 years. Which leaves me hopeful that we are, in fact, offering a service that provides real utility to people. And as we listen to your feedback and implement the better ideas, we hope to be able to offer an even greater service in the future.

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11 Responses to Some responses to your questions and feedback

  1. Japh says:

    Sounds like you had a great first day overall!

    Regarding price, I personally think $20 is a good, fair number. I can recall one time a while back when I was completely stuck on a bug the night before a site was due to go live, and I announced in IRC that the first person to fix it would get $100. I’m quite certain the people in that IRC channel have never been so helpful, and the bug was fixed and money paid within the hour.

    It’s really about supply and demand. WPQuestions is for when you need a good, accurate solution fast, and that sounds like at least $20 of value to me 🙂

  2. lawrence says:

    Japh, I think $20 is a good price, and for a lot of questions, it would be too low. But the question is, should that be our minimum? Should we never, ever, ever, ever allow a question for less than that?

    So you can see where I’m coming from, here is an excerpt from an email that I wrote May 5th, 2009, when I was first articulating the details of a site like this one:

    “I’ve the easiest time imagining building out a site for a particular niche… Personally, I’d love a site devoted to programming, where I could put up a question for $20 or $30. Just this week I lost 4 hours tracking down an obscure conflict in the Javascript used on a site – one script was used to fix the PNG transparency problem in IE6, and another script, which preloaded large images used in rollovers, was triggering the first script too often, adding extra images to the page. I would have loved to pay $25, or even $50, to let some IE6 specialist tackle that one. I could imagine being a customer of such a site.”

    I can easily imagine facing a tight deadline and getting tripped up by some odd bug, and wanting to give $50 to someone who knew the right answer. Sometimes speed is more important than price.

    But again, the issue is, do we need to enforce the fair price, or can askers and answers work that out among themselves? One thought I had was that we could encourage answerers to simply ask for more money, when the price is too low. Darren imagined a scenario where an answerer simply says, “I have the answer to your question but I’d prefer it if the prize was $40.” We’ve made it easy for askers to increase the amount of the prize they are offering. Answerers could potentially negotiate with the askers to work out what is a fair price.

    There is a counter-argument, of course, that if there is a surplus of answerers, then the price will get driven down too low from competition. That is a concern. But we may yet experiment with other minimum prices, aside from what we have now.

    As always, we are interested in what others have to say on the subject.

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  4. “I’ve seen this myself but I can not figure out the problem. It is fleeting, if you hit refresh it goes away – which makes it difficult to figure out what is going on. Anyone have any ideas?”

    Maybe if you post this question on it could get answered fast, you only have to pay a few $$.


  5. David says:

    I would love to see an option for $10 questions. I imagine these questions would be pretty simple like:

    Explanations: Can someone explain how to use such-and-such wp function? The .org knowledge base is pretty scarce on details.
    Guidance: I coded it this way and it works, but I’m thinking there has to be a better way?

    I don’t imagine this questions taking more than five minutes to answer for a knowledgeable WordPress expert. I know these aren’t technically “emergency” questions, but I’d be willing to pay for a solid, quality, timely answer.

    Awesome site, btw. 😉

  6. lawrence says:

    WpQuestionsUser – I did honestly think about that, but since the site is built with Symfony, it seems like the question belongs on a Symfony site. We do hope to eventually open a site for Symfony (a site similar to this one) at which point I would have a place to post all such questions.

  7. Lew A says:

    I think 20$ is fine… we bill at over 100$/hr. I know some developers making 50$/hr, rather than struggle for 2-3 hours working on a problem, they can have it solved quickly by someone who might immediately know… win-win.

    My question is, if you charge 9% + .50$ then the answerer doesn’t actually get 20$, right?

    When I found out about this today, I remarked “genius”.

    Good job guys,

  8. lawrence says:

    Hi, Lew.

    Actually, to answer your question, our fees are in addition to the prize money. So if you are putting up $20 as a prize, we will charge you $2.30 in addition (that is 9% plus 50 cents). So when our software redirects you to PayPal, you will be asked to pay $22.30.

    I’m glad you like the site.

  9. lawrence says:


    I understand that you bill at $100 an hour. I do too. But if we charge $20 for a question that takes 2 minutes to answer, then we are effectively charging $600 an hour. If you bill at $100 an hour and a question will take 2 minutes of your time, then the appropriate prize would be $3.34.

    It’s mostly for simple questions that $20 may be too high a minimum.

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  11. Lew A says:

    Maybe I should start billing at 600$/hr :).

    Thanks for answering my questions.


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