Handling Marketplace Topics

There is very limited relevance in using a bike shop analogy. Shops normally display goods with displayed prices. For intangible products such as services, the price is usually an hourly rate for labour/labor with parts & consumables extra or a fixed charge for a described service, e.g. repair puncture without having to replace tyre. The shop price, at least in English-speaking (legal) jurisdictions, is usually only an invitation to treat, i.e. inviting an offer. So it does not have to be the final price but it is a clear expression of the expected price.

In the #marketplace and in the context of this topic, we are specifically talking about potential buyers entreating support. This #marketplace is not a shop so there are no prices posted for buyers to peruse, although there are topics where prices, e.g. for the Pavilion team, are visible.

The issue I brought up is based on defining who is expected to provide the invitation to treat and the first expression of value. I think that should be the topic creator as the buyer. Just as it should be the topic creator as seller if a developer advertised their services in a #marketplace topic.

You could say that price is somewhat irrelevant to this topic because the primary topic referred to by you had sufficient budget yet still ended up as a support topic. Based on a secondary thread about low prices, I’d say that topics with insufficient value for you to look at at least make it clear that you are unlikely to get a successful contract so you can make more efficient use of your time.

But topics without any expression of value probably mean that you are far more likely to consider their request and waste your time. That’s why I’m focused on the lack of an expressed value because it is often used to hide, by ambiguity and evasiveness, the fact that they want free support or want free development.

It could be said that those people will then post a value high enough to be considered. The advantage of this is that if they do, these tyre-kickers, time-wasters and even liars will be more clearly identified as such.


Every metaphor or analogy can be stretched up to the point where it doesn’t make sense anymore.
Still, I think it was certainly relevant.

I do not consider making an offer a waste of my time at all. It’s simply a sales effort.
And, even if the OP doesn’t have the budget, there are other people reading the topic and getting a good idea of how much solving that specific problem would approximately cost.

I don’t really recognize the ambiguity, evasiveness and lying you mention, but maybe I just missed that.

I hear you but I don’t agree. Usually it is the specialist, the one who is providing the service, the party with the most experience, who is expressing the expected price - regardless of which party is creating the topic.


True! That’s so valuable. I always appreciate it when Sam says “It’ll take an engineer X hours/weeks/years to solve that problem”. So maybe a solution to the no budget problem is to suggest even a wild guess at a budget (often it takes a fair amount of time --for me, anyway–to know how much time a task would take someone whom I consider competent).

This might be going down that road. . .

I had some bike shop analogies where the user says the bike doesn’t work because they’re sitting on it backward or that it’s too hard to pedal because they don’t know how to change gears. In those cases, the bike shop person would probably just tell them what the problem is for no fee.

But sometimes people suggest that they want to pay for something that’s wrong. Like the time that I wrote a plugin that clumsily duplicated a built-in feature that I somehow overlooked.


This is very much me.

Are we all in a bike shop or a coffee shop now? Either way, I don’t profess my budget when I approach the counter. I review the menu and prices (coffee) or request a quote (bike shop).

For this reason, I just don’t use the marketplace. Sure, I know what’s in my bank accounts, but sadly, I just have no concept of what is a reasonable or absurd amount to put in a marketplace listing for dev work. I’d rather avoid it entirely than insult the community with an absurd figure and/or be taken advantage of. :worried:


It really depends on the Buyer/Seller as to what they’re up to. There are people who are willing to kitty in a small sum for their answers because they really need their answers. Their intentions behind offering an incentive ($10 or the likes) is usually to motivate someone to read their question and answer it.

However, it isn’t ideal for the service providers as they are looking for clients with actual projects/issues to be addressed.

I totally agree that marketplace needs some bit of regulation that if a topic is only about questions (and not actual tasks) then it should be moved out of marketplace.

If someone isn’t mentioning any budget then they should be offered an opportunity to negotiate (I’ve personally negotiated with such people in upwards of $500 so it works) so maybe if anyone is interested, they should approach the OP and discuss with them if they have a decent enough budget. Generally people are comfortable talking one on one and such deals just work out fine.

The concern that needs to be addressed is very low budget tasks. How to make them aware (without offending) that they’re offering too low of a budget and if they increase their budget that someone will take it up.

I understand that people sometimes have real budget concerns but in that case too, I’d be much more willing to take the Job if they can sort of crowd fund for a task (e.g. plugin development) and the developer gets a fair deal for their effort.

And the thing that needs to be established is that if someone is Posting in marketplace then probably they’re just Willing for someone to do the task for them (or looking for someone to get services from them) but if it’s more of a QnA then it needs to be moved to support and left for the community to answer.


I like that the etiquette for posting replies in the marketplace category is being discussed in terms of what would be appropriate in a physical store. There are times when it makes sense to offer advice about alternate solutions, but if a discussion goes too far off in that direction, it should be moved to the support category.

This is getting off-topic, but I’ve been looking though the closed marketplace topics. One thing that stands out to me is that it is hard to know if the work got done, who did the work, and whether or not the customer is satisfied with it. Here is an exception to that: [PAID] Custom Header to Match WordPress Site. Maybe topic creators in the marketplace could be encouraged to create a follow-up post before the topic is closed. When possible, a link to view the completed work would be nice. It would make for more interesting reading, and also give us a sense of how successful the marketplace is.


Just to quickly throw my two cents in. Many people - especially noobies - have no idea of how much per hour they should be offering to coders, developers, etc… Additionally, they may also not know how many hours - 1 hour, 20+ hours or longer - a job will take. That’s most likely the reason why you see so many times, “I’m open to discussing the price” and lines like that.

PM’ing someone when they haven’t provided an actual budget or even an estimate is fine… so long as they’ve allowed other users to PM them in their preferences. :wink:


I agree that results transparency is a major problem and results in the marketplace looking like a graveyard of potentially abandoned / unfinished projects to an unaware observer.

Here’s a fix proposal: Tag topics with “completed” when they are completed.

Another thing that could help is if topics got tagged with a “t-shirt size” to give a quick estimate of how much effort it will or did take.
Excuse the profanity, but this recent tweet I made is very relevant to this:


That would be a good use for the solved plugin.

At the risk of deviating from the original topic even further, it would be cool if we had a buyer/seller rating as well.


I really don’t agree with the above. At our local bike co-op they will gladly do maintenance tasks for a fee, but they will also show the same users how to do the task using the co-op tools for free.

Meta isn’t a storefront, #marketplace and #support are just entry points. Sometimes people are deterred by the psychological barriers to do these things. Personally I’m not in the business of commodity IT, I give my time here on meta freely and will always encourage people to try very basic operations.

At the very worst they then understand why it’s out of their grasp rather than just assuming it.


I am not sure about buyer ratings, majority are just once offs, but some endorsement for providers could be cool, tricky thing is dealing with negative experiences


The moment you provide a measure for value, it will incentivize people to try to game the system. They’ll also cry blue murder if they feel an endorsement wasn’t positive enough.

Better to let people build their own empires off-site and use their portfolios to win work.

I’m pretty disappointed reading the above, the volume of work through marketplace where users have been educated and able to move on with the task themselves is minimal. It’s not harming anyone’s bottom line unless they’re making terrible decisions elsewhere.

I regard it as pretty positive that someone arrives thinking that they will need to spend money for a task, and maybe leaves with a greater understanding of the product.


Yeah I feel you are correct, one point I do agree with is being better about closing loops as @riking suggested

We should probably automatically nag people to tag marketplace topics with either complete or abandoned tags, at least that way it will be visible if it is working or not


Like I said: every metaphor or analogy can be stretched up to the point where it doesn’t make sense anymore :slight_smile:

I think people often choose to post in marketplace for many other reasons than something being out of their grasp or encountering a psychological barrier (which was the point I was trying to make with the bike repair shop analogy).

Regarding the ratings, you’re probably right, it might cause a lot of trouble.

No I think my point here still stands, I didn’t refer to a bike shop.

My point is that meta isn’t a bike shop, it’s much more akin to a co-op where you can either learn or pay.

Point being there’s no harm in people offering to assist a user in navigating a problem. The alternative is that we also outlaw consultants offering their services in #support topics until a topic is x days old or the user has thrown in the towel.

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Yes - learn by posting in support, pay by posting in marketplace. The latter indicates that the user does not need/want help navigating a problem but that they want to purchase a solution.

I think that is a good idea and I would fully support that.

That’s almost as ridiculous as the original topic. Nobody should be squabbling over a few users learning to feed themselves.

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I’m going to close this topic for two months. I think we have enough actionable feedback to at least start improving #marketplace topics.

  • Increase moderation of marketplace topics
    • Move requests that turn into support into the appropriate category
    • Flag and delete or move posts that are not relevant marketplace discussion
    • Encourage budgets, but if a job poster is not comfortable posting one, conversation should probably go to email
      • Developers also have the option to post a rough estimate to start the conversation to keep the process clear and accountable for both sides
  • Follow up on requests for completion and tag as appropriate

This topic was automatically opened after 57 days.