Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Poll: how much would you pay to get issues resolved on GitHub?
38 points by potomak 1393 days ago | hide | past | web | 47 comments | favorite
I think there should be a better way to promote and support open source software development, but I'm making the assumption that people are willing to pay to get issues done, what do you think about it?
65 points
5 $
40 points
20 $
29 points
100 $
26 points
10 $
17 points
1000 $
16 points
1 $
14 points
50 $
13 points
2 $
10 points

And similarly, I'd pay good money to have certain StackOverflow questions answered. But if these things seem like a no-brainer, there's a good reason why they're not available. (Third-parties have stepped in, but they're not officially supported.) Introducing money into the ecosystem can spoil people's motivation to do anything for free.

This was one of the lessons from Google Answers, an early version of Stack, Quora, etc, which paid people.

There's a good basis in psychology for this. If you look at studies about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, you find payments (and external rewards generally) can be counter-productive and make people less motivated than if they're doing the same task for free.

A similar issue comes up in other domains too. For example, St John Ambulance Australia provides first aid for public events. Most of the duties are covered by volunteer first aiders. However if they cannot meet demand (which is often the case with mid-week events where volunteers are otherwise engaged with their jobs) then there is a commercial arm which steps in to cover the event.

The problem is when you have commercial and volunteers together at the same event, and some volunteers may think:

  "Hey, screw this, why am I volunteering my time, when the guy next to me is getting paid a decent hourly wage to do exactly the same thing?"

Quora has some kind of pay-to-get-an-answer with credits. It’s a virtual currency on the website, and you can use them to ask someone to answer (you pay them a bunch of credits, they always get 25% of it, and can get the remaining 75% by answering the question). Unfortunately, the asked user can write a crappy answer and get all the credits ; and you can’t convert them in cash.

I answered $100, but I am thinking more about Stackoverflow.

But I am willing to pay for someone fix my problem, not answer it. I mean, get access to my code and solve the issue himself. Like a micro-freelance job.

Thar way there is still incentive to answer doubts for free, in order to get more points/karma and attract more clients/charge more money.

I am one of the lead Drupal developers and I do offer a service to get your Drupal.SE questions answered. So few people actually come to me with it. I am still answering questions for free. I do not see a problem there, really. But I guess because it's not officially supported.

There is a distinction between integrated and non-integrated payments. If you are offering it off the record, you are doing contract work at a rate you like.

If you provide payments integrated, typically the financial incentives become market dictated, and once money is involved the intrinsic rewards become greatly decreased.

This I support more than paying for bug fixes.

That entirely depends on the issue and whether it's blocking a way for me to make money. Assuming it's a no-go for something I need to do, then I'll hire the smartest guy I can find and contribute the code back into the project.

I think maybe each bug could have a pot where people could put an amount, and if a developer fixed that bug and enough people agreed he would get that pot.

That way developers could pick the bugs where people are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Synergy does this. You buy votes with a donation and then you apply the votes to issues in the issue tracker. They recently fixed a bug that had been there for a long time but the devs thought wasn't important until a lot of people started voting for it with their dollars.

It seems that this might encourage developers to leave bugs outstanding or introduce new ones as a way to generate revenue though, unless a similar scheme is used to fund 'new features' and not just bugs.

> It seems that this might encourage developers to leave bugs outstanding or introduce new ones as a way to generate revenue though

Emphasizing this. This is why the police sometimes oppose safe streets and raised speed limits: it decreases their revenue from speeding tickets. It's a fairly well-known problem, though I've never heard of a fix.

This is exactly what https://www.bountysource.com/ does. Any number of people can contribute to the bounty pool. When a developer submits a solution that gets merged into the project and the issue itself is closed, that developer collects the bounty.

For example, here's an issue with 11 backers: https://www.bountysource.com/#issues/27-split-pane-feature

...and here's a bounty over $1100 with 5 backers: https://www.bountysource.com/#issues/315019-add-a-tiling-win...

https://www.catincan.com does something similar except that developers choose what to put up for funding and only the main devs can seek funding on the platform. Think http://www.freedomsponsors.org is the original as far as open source crowdfunding.

The biggest issue it faces is adoption. Your funding amount needs to be in front of people in the issue tracker they are working in. If I have to go to a separate site to browse bounties I am now using two issue trackers essentially and most people are all about a slim toolchain.

I think this is probably why gittip works so well. Set it and forget it.

This seems like it could be a very good business model for developers to employ. Maybe someone could start a service based upon it. I could see it doing very well.

This is an elegant way to crowdfund open-source software. Nice idea.

this! features can be funded this way as well.

I do really love the features idea.

Being a developer myself, when I create a piece of code to do a specific thing and release it to the public it's not for monetary gain, but to help others than need it by using my source. However, if they wanted additional features added to it, you could have a pot, and once the feature is achieved the pot would be deposited to the developer.

This would change my work from a hobby to being a business. If someone pays for a ticket, the roles change a bit. The person who pays will expect something from you. I personally would not do that. If you like what I do, send me a beer afterwards. Or a gittip or a flattr. But don't pay me money.

How about this.. take samefisher's idea:

> I think maybe each bug could have a pot where people could to put an amount, and if a developer fixed that bug and enough people agreed he would get that pot.

Except leave out this part:

> That way developers could pick the bugs where people are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Instead, completely hide showing how much money was donated to a bug. From everyone. When a developer fixes a bug, they may get a nice surprise for their contributions, that may further encourage them to work on issues.

A little like GitTip, but you're tipping whoever solves an issue, ahead of time. And because it's invisible, it doesn't make your hobby feel like a job because you don't know which issues are worth the most. (although it may be possible to guess by issue popularity)

Or how about this... There's a hidden pot and every user can only contribute the same amount of money (say $1) to the pot. This way, the value of the pot would more likely reflect the community consenus of issue value to the project.

Totally shallow poll. I've paid over a thousand bucks to have a bug fixed, and there are things I'm waiting for on GitHub which are probably worth less than $50.

It depends on the issue I suppose, and what I was using the code for. Obviously I want to help out other developers, but if we start adding to the idea that 'paying for open source absolution' is okay you start to get things like this: http://readwrite.com/2013/05/31/mysql-co-founder-wants-you-t...

Which I really don't think is okay. However, I fully support helping developers spend their time doing what they love to do; but wouldn't spend more than $5 on any one thing. If you think about it, you could have a really successful middleware or something and get $5 from 1,000 people at once, or $5,000 for doing something that you were intending on doing anyways... Seems kinda underhanded to me as an open source developer.

I'm assuming you've seen: https://www.bountysource.com

Well, yes, actually I'm building http://issuehunter.co at TechPeaks[1].

What do you think about it? Are you using it?

[1] http://techpeaks.eu

Time for firefox and chrome plugins that show the dollar value on a specific issue right on github, or whatever sites you support. Make it so I can add 10 dollars to an issue I care about, and add a "Sort by money" thing.

Great idea. At Bountysource.com we have a plugin for GitHub that automatically updates issues with bounty details when they exist (adds a link to the bounty in the issue body, bounty total to issue title and a special label). This needs to be installed by a project committer though. I'd love to see a Bountysource Chrome/Firefox extension, maybe we should put a bounty out for one :P

I hadn't seen this. Looks interesting but kinda strange they went with the kickstarter design.

I had wanted to build a funding platform for open source as well but I don't think a bounty board is the right way to do it anymore.

The other people I have seen taking a stab at the idea are:


Repo seems stale now so they might have given up.

What about a bidding based system for specific work effort for each ticket? EDIT: Github could also perhaps promote the ability of the community to give a project maintainer money and then the maintainer could distribute it to people who provide accepted PRs based on some kind of formula or as they see fit and just keep it for themselves. While we are at it it would be really great to see a system to manage contributor license agreement as well as providing a standard set of OSS friendly agreements.

For reasons explained well here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5828677 I don't like this idea. I think it goes against the very motivation behind open source software.

What I think what would work better is if you had the option in github to vote up a bug (or expose the number of people following/watching it) so that the owner of a repository could use that number in deciding how important a bug is to his/her userbase.

I don't think this goes against the very motivation of open source software at all. OSS has a long and well established history of creating profitable companies based on support options, and this is the extension of that in a micro payment environment.

I have hundreds of open source modules and I really hate this idea. It creates a monetary incentive for developers to keep adding more features even when they are bad ideas. Also, what happens when a paid issue/feature was a mistake and should really be removed later? The economic incentive does not align very well with creating the most appropriate set of features for the task at hand and you end up with bulky enterprise kitchen-sink software.

Perhaps there is room for distinguishing feature requests and outright bugfixes?

Mikeal Rogers did something like this[1] for his popular Request module for Node. Except he crowdfunded a pool of money for bounties to be paid to whoever fixed the most pressing pull requests.


Cool idea, but don't pollute Github's UI with this feature. Developers rely on Github to have a consistent UI — I think we all hate when it changes a bit.

Another website managing this would be nice. It could tie into Github's API and offer this service.

Bountysource.com offers this exact service and integrates heavily with the Github API. You can load up any open GitHub issue and put a bounty on it. The bounty is then paid out to the developer whose PR is merged and closes the issue.

We also have a plugin that committers can install that automatically updates issues with bounty details when they exist (that we don't think clutters the Github UI). Example here: https://github.com/jshint/jshint/issues/28.

I don't think setting a specific price for issues is a wise idea. However, a crowdfunding feature on public github repositories would be interesting. Just show a list of financial contributors in addition to the code contributors.

My real answer is: It depends. But the idea is interesting.

We are about to release a very interesting solution to this. Write me if you are interested in more info perl.jonathan at gmail

Do you guys know of this service http://www.qamine.com/ ?

I would be happy to look at a couple of extra ads in exchange for the service.

This is not an elegant poll.

Why not?

I think the poll is asking the wrong question because a dollar amount is completely arbitrary. If I really needed a bug fixed to continue with my business - I'd be willing to pay whatever it took.

A "Would you be willing to pay ..." question with yes/no/maybe options would seem more accurate to me.

I agree about this point, thanks for the feedback.

Depends on bug. I would certainly pay at least 5$.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact