The Expectation of Free

I’ve been finding lately that just because I write tutorials on WordPress the readers expect me to provide a bunch of free support when it doesn’t quite work for them.

If someone provides you with something for free, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t solve all of your specific needs. If you need something that does solve your specific needs don’t be upset if they expect something in return, it’s the way of the world. We all need food and a place to sleep, and the last time I checked that stuff costs money.

The issue really comes up for the users when they ask me for support and I ask for money to solve their issues. I don’t have unlimited time. I’ve got a kid to feed and a roof to keep over our heads. Just because you can’t get something working based on my writing does not mean I am ‘required’ to fix it for you free of charge. It always irks me when they expect the work for free.

The quote comes from this article.

Contribute to Documentation Even if It’s Not Sexy

We should all contribute to open source projects. If you’re building websites you’re using something open source and it just seems right that we should give something back.

The real sexy thing to so when contributing to open source is committing code. For every open source project that’s out there I’m sure you can find lots of developers that committed two lines and if you go look at their sites you’ll find a line saying that they contributed to WordPress, or Ruby, or Rails or whatever it is they work with.

It’s sexy (if a bit self serving) to say you’ve added code to a project.

The real hole in most projects that needs developers and users to work on is documentation. For all the smart people doing the sexy work there are very few of those people that actually work on the documentation. If you write a line of code how about you add to the documentation on that line of code instead of calling your job done. There are lots of people that are working to learn WordPress, Rails, whatever that need solid documentation to work with.

Yeah I know that you’re adding code but that’s only half the job, the sexy part. Do the whole job.