I've had a couple of occasions where someone offered to pay me for completing their project or simply fix one bit. Though I like money and who, I mean besides Bill Gates, couldn't use a little more, I'm not here to take on extra side projects. I also don't want SO to become a freelance recruiting site. It's supposed to be about programmers helping programmers in community.

How do you respond if someone offers you money and you don't want to take on the project? Under what conditions would you be willing to take on a project from a user at SO? How would you respond in that case? Is there a need for a projects site, similar to careers, where people with project needs could go to hire freelancers?


It's quite simple: Either you want to do it or you don't. If you want, leave a comment that tells the person how to get in touch with you. If you don't, leave a comment that you copy from the first paragraph of your question.


Here's how I respond!


  • I shall now post this image every time someone asks to pay me. – HalfBrian Nov 9 '09 at 23:52
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    How is Scrooge actually able to swim in solid mass? And besides, by the end of a swim, he'll be covered in trace amounts of heroin, cocaine and other fecal matter. – random Nov 10 '09 at 0:11
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    @random: that's why he is smiling – perbert Nov 10 '09 at 1:41
  • Hey, if a lizard can swim through sand.... blogs.usatoday.com/sciencefair/2009/07/… – Michael Todd Nov 10 '09 at 22:51
  • @random something similar to liquefaction, he probably set up a high tech air system, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_quicksand – o̊ǝʇ̲ ɐW⃗ Mar 11 '13 at 18:55
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    Dead link??? tut tut tut – Digital Trauma May 22 '18 at 0:06

I receive offers of money about once a week.

This is usually like "many thanks for your answer, please take the money, where should I send them?", without any extra requirements.

Many people seeking for consulting services also reach me via SO. They usually ask me if I want to charge money for what I am doing for free anyway: answering SQL questions.

I should confess that I usually cannot resist the temptation and accept their offers.


I received a little help on a question I posted, then emailed the person directly to engage them in a tiny project. (It was also related to his consulting work/daily job). He was very gracious and did it for a nominal amount - all I needed was a push in the right direction for a technology that was new to me.


No comment on your position, but this seems like an area where Jeff+Joel could carve some space. Thoughts Jeff?

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    The rentacoder space is a race to the bottom. Who wants to get in on that? – Rex M Nov 9 '09 at 23:59
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    There is always one major problem with a race to the bottom, eventually you will get there. – Brad Gilbert Nov 10 '09 at 0:25
  • crap - I totally had not thought of rentacoder somehow. Facepalm on me. – bananakata Nov 10 '09 at 20:05

I actually had a guy offer to pay me via paypal for an answer I gave him (which fixed his problem)

Here's the post

$5 Paypal to anyone who can help me, I honestly am so frustrated it's untrue.


If someone offered money, it means you must be doing something really good on SO!

Take it offline for further discussion/negotiation if you want, you should not feel 'bad' or anything.

No one will know if you got a deal from SO, unless of course someone post the information deliberately.

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