I was talking to my girlfriend earlier about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and specifically about Joel's oft-repeated rant about how paying people to contribute to a site ruins their willingness to contribute for free. It's the idea of "pay me what it's worth, or don't pay me at all."

This got me thinking about how much a lot of answerers' time is worth. Depending on salary and the time it takes to formulate, hopefully test, and write an answer could easily be worth $50-100 or more for some people here.

Has anyone done - or would anyone be interested in doing - a back of the envelope calculation on the cost of a day of Stack Overflow answers? It's hard to hit a moving target like this, since different technologies in different locations for different companies pull wildly different salaries, etc., but it's been nagging at me ever since I mentioned it earlier.

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    You have a girlfriend? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 25 '11 at 20:07
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    I don't know how much it would cost, but I do know how long it would take. – Robert Harvey Nov 25 '11 at 20:11
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    In 2009, someone roughly estimated $65 million US meta.stackexchange.com/q/31387/74022 – Brandon Nov 25 '11 at 20:16
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    @BoltClock Is this like the reddit meme of "hey everyone! this guy has a girlfriend!"? It was just a context line, not some sort of bizarre form of name dropping. – AgentConundrum Nov 25 '11 at 21:49
  • @Brandon That's a much higher estimate than I would have expected. – AgentConundrum Nov 25 '11 at 21:53
  • I know somebody would say you wrote "I was talking to my girlfriend […]" just to let us know you have a girlfriend, but I know that if you would not have wrote exactly to whom you were talking, you would have had big problems with the person to whom you were talking. :-) – kiamlaluno Nov 25 '11 at 21:59
  • @kiamlaluno I think significant others are sort of a special case when making references like this, because although you could technically say "I was talking to a friend" or "I was talking to someone", it feels wrong to do so. I could have also edited the story to say "I was thinking about what Joel said, and this came to mind." but I really thought nothing of it until I saw BoltClocks comment. On reddit, I definitely try to avoid directly referencing "my girlfriend" specifically because reddit often makes comments similar to BoltClocks. But I digress... – AgentConundrum Nov 25 '11 at 22:08
  • I had the same "issue," and I had my ears pulled because I wrote "my friend" instead of "my girlfriend." My dilemma is that I thought I had my ears pulled for saying anything about my girlfriend (knowing she cares about her privacy, and she cuts off her address from the mail she trashes). My dilemma is another one too: Would she had complained if I wrote "my girlfriend," instead of "my friend"? :-) – kiamlaluno Nov 25 '11 at 22:15
  • This is why I should really just shut up sometimes. Sorry. I didn't mean to pick on either one of you, or anything. (I haven't been on reddit much so I don't know what it's like there but if it's this bad...) – BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 26 '11 at 8:54
  • @BoltClock No worries. I just didn't expect such sentiment on Stack Overflow (even Meta). To be honest, I'm more annoyed that you're only 19 and have more than 13x my rep. ;) – AgentConundrum Nov 26 '11 at 13:04
  • hmm...if answers are worth then first estimate jon skeet's answer he is half of the entire site! – BlueBerry - Vignesh4303 Nov 28 '12 at 11:07

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