And how harmful would they be?
And how could the users mitigate these effects?
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see this happen, but this is the first thing I would do if I were the VC and wanted to generate more revenue from Stack Overflow:
- Introduce "sponsored answers"
- The sponsored answer would appear at the top of the answer list for any question (above the accepted answer and highest-voted answer.)
- It would almost invariably say "Product X will solve your problem; Use product X"
- It would of course be paid for by the vendor of product X.
- Users could vote on the sponsored answer (as that would be useful feedback for the vendor) but it would not change the position of that answer on the page.
Can you think of any other examples?