I swear, every time I post a blog, I get a comment on it from Jeff Julian within 5 minutes, you've gotta love the responsiveness of this type of community :)
"I think the whole pay for support idea from developers is hurting the
community. Hide you source, don't hide your brain."
I have to disagree with this statement. I still to my own experiences as an example. I get approximately 20 emails per day of unsolicited, generally complex, Datagrid questions to my personal email account. As I see it, I have 4 options when I get these personal emails:
1) Answer the question. This is a great option, if only I had the 5-10 extra hours per day to do this for free. For the record, I do pick 1-3 per day and answer those, thoroughly.
2) Delete the email. I'm sometimes guilty of this one. The problems then are that the emailer A) Gets no solution to his problem, and B) Doesn't know that I'm not planning to respond.
3) Defer it. I have a folder in my email account called "Might Respond". When I get bored and want some interesting problems to solve, I dig through this folder, starting newest to oldest. I also periodically delete the old messages, ones that I haven't gotten around to in say, 3 months, probably aren't going to relevant to answer at this point. The problem with this option is, of course, the slow response time, plus, many questions still don't get answered.
4) Direct the emailer to a public forum, where they'll have access to *other* experts, one of whom is likely to have the time to respond sooner than I will. I really like this option the best, though I haven't found a way to send this email without coming across as a rude, blow-off message. And I don't really want to alienate visitors to my site.
So, back to my 20 Datagrid questions per day. Let's say I answer 3, delete 5 (I usually delete the incoherent ones first), and defer the other 12. Of that 12 I deferred, probably 1 or 2 will get answered *some day*, sometime in the next 3 months.
The solution as I see it: To me what really "hurts the community", is the fact that these questions aren't asked in a public forum in the first place. That way, they do get access to experts such as myself (I spend at least 2 hours a day answering *publicly* asked questions), they get answers from multiple experts (leading to faster response times, and often better answers), and the developer community benefits from having these questions answered publicly, because they can search for these answers later, rather than having to ask the same question again and again. Plus, I don't have to come across as "rude" by telling them where to go with their question.
My two cents (Canadian),