First off, thanks @gavanderhoorn for bringing this up and for all the energy you put into answering questions lately, I’m sure you’ve helped a bunch of people! I’ve been slacking off in answering questions myself, and I’ll try to spend the 15 minutes each day from now on.
I believe it’s best to encourage people to answer questions out of intrinsic motivations instead of paying them to do so (because it will lead to sub-standard answers). When I started answering questions 7 years ago, what motivated me was:
- Helping people. You really get a good feeling for having helped someone who otherwise wouldn’t have solved their problem, and who perhaps has nobody else to turn to for help.
- Getting karma. It sounds silly to pursue fake internet points, but the gamification aspect definitely worked for me. Getting karma and earning new badges by answering questions feels like leveling up in a game.
- When all the easy questions were already gone, I started researching answers to questions that I didn’t immediately know the answer to. After a while, I noticed that this really helped me to gain broad understanding of everything there is in ROS, even though that wasn’t my original intent when answering those questions (I wanted to get karma!). I believe this is really the best way to become a ROS expert.