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Thoughts on "5 Reasons You Should Never Fix a Computer for Free"

I received an email from EE today with a link to the blog entry, 5 Reasons You Should Never Fix a Computer for Free. Is anyone else as stunned as I am by this?! Not by the article itself, but that EE would publish it — indeed, highlight it! The very core of EE is that we, the "Experts", fix things for free. The title of the article could easily have been, "5 Reasons You Should Never Answer a Question on EE for Free".

So much in the article rings true for EE experts (congrats to Michael Munger for hitting the nail on the head):
love the puzzle
obsessed
love the challenge
thrive on finding the answer
love accolades
We love it so much, we sometimes make horrible decisions. Sometimes, we work "for free."
that five minute task you thought you were signing up for turned into 40 minutes, then an hour, then a weekend long commitment
And all of that is in just the preamble to the article!

Then my personal favorite, still in the preamble:
There are five reasons you should always hand out a bill.
I thought EE had lost its mind in publishing this article, until I saw this:
Always get paid for your skills and expertise with our newest product, Gigs.

So now I'm thinking that EE may be sending a message that its future will be composed of experts who do not make "horrible decisions" to "work for free". In a world of gratis, highly competitive, Q&A/Help sites where answers are just a Google search away, perhaps EE plans to attack the competition by transforming itself into a site where all services are provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, i.e., Gigs and Live. In other words, one-on-one assistance that isn't free, but is worth every penny. To borrow from Michael's language, a fair fee so that people will respect and value what they are getting. Is that what EE is trying to tell us by publishing and highlighting this article? Looking forward to your thoughts.

Regards, Joe
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Rank: Prodigy

Expert Comment

PortletPaul2016-04-29 03:19 PMID: 1908915
It was part of "the game" that rank was displayed. I was similar to expert b* once in that era and it didn't stop me answering questions, it was in fact a motivator, just as earning "reputation" is used by the site we won't name.

* (although not owner of widget with every qualification)
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Rank: Elite

Expert Comment

it didn't stop me either, Once upon a time, I was a humble Expert B! (believe it or not!)
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Rank: Sage

Expert Comment

Whilst rank holds a lot of weight it won't trump a good answer. A first time poster, all of us were once, may, and probably will have the best solution, we posted it because someone was wrong on the Internet. If the asker recognises the correct post it doesn't matter if you are a novice or a god, they have been helped.
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Rank: Savant

Expert Comment

>> I was a humble Expert B! (believe it or not!)

We ALL were!  Well, maybe the original developers gave themselves points to start but EVERYONE should have started here with ZERO points.  The true elder Experts have long been forgotten about because 1 million points doesn't even rank these days.

>>it didn't stop me answering questions, it was in fact a motivator

As did I.  I looked up to the "elders" above me.  Once I became familiar with the site, their rank instantly earned my respect.

However, that was from an Expert perspective not an Asker one.

As an Asker, does the Experts points/rank matter as long as I get the answer to my question?

If a n00t posts "You need to FDisk and Format", they are quickly called out, well, unless that was the correct answer.

We ALL recognize the "new gun in town" and would hope we mentor them.

Hopefully someday they can take the pebble from our hand.  Then we can fight to stay on top to make sure that never happens or just shoot them in the back...
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Rank: Elite

Expert Comment

As an Asker, does the Experts points/rank matter as long as I get the answer to my question?

Nope, because they pay for an Answer in the quickest possible time. and because they pay, they deserve it! NOW!

and we are full circle again, as they may not know if it's the correct Answer, unless they try the solution, answer proposed!
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Rank: Savant

Expert Comment

Ohhhhh... it is so wonderful to read through all of these comments but I had to continuously check the posting date to be sure they were made this year -- because I was almost sure I was reading through stuff that was posted at least 7 or 8 years ago.  Kinda like not having been home for the holidays for a few years, and when you finally make it you are comforted by the traditions and the fact that Uncle Joe is still making those awfully distasteful jokes.

No matter how much the world has progressed in the past decade or two on important issues, we are still fighting the fight here at EE.  

Just an observation.  :-)
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