I write WordPress Themes and Plugins and often contribute them to the WordPress community by submitting them to the relevant WordPress Extend repository. This provides an extensive distribution venue and allows these themes and plugins to be available to millions of users all over the world … all at no charge. Let me repeat that, with emphasis, no charge!
Now, let’s have a look at that idea. I have spent in some cases quite a bit of time developing a theme or plugin; and, I take pride in the work I do. I have spent many hours debugging and improving my themes and plugins with every intent to make sure they are of the best quality every time I release a new version. So, if an end-user points out something I’ve missed then by all means I note the issue and address it at no charge. Let me repeat that, again with emphasis, no charge!
Also, if an end-user of one of my themes or plugins offers an idea I feel would provide “greater good” benefit I make note of it; I review what would be involved to implement the idea; and more often than not I add it to the theme or plugin; and, yes, I do it at no charge. Let’s repeat that one more time, with feeling … no charge!
So, when someone expects me to provide “free support” for one of my contributions to the WordPress community I look at what I already offer and weigh if what the end-user is asking fits into the above ideals, or is more suitable to a chargeable customization … or if it’s just a Five-Minute-Fix:
The five minutes is purely subjective and completely based on my personal opinion. If I believe a project should take five minutes then that is how long the project will take. If it takes five hours, or five days, the cost will still be the same: free!
Be that as it may, I fully understand if an end-user expects “free support” for a “free product” downloaded from a “free source” and in many cases I also agree with their “reasonable” expectations as I still to this day have not been able to assign a value to the free advertising and exposure provided by the WordPress repositories.
Even though I agree with providing free support on items with “reasonable” expectations, I do not agree with nor do I offer support for unreasonable requests or outlandish ideas. If an end-user wants a specific customization, or requests a specific feature, that is not currently scheduled or under consideration to be added the end-user can just as reasonably expect their request to not be no charge.
If the end-user has modified the code in the theme or plugin; finds it no longer works as expected; and, then requests free support … really? seriously?! Why would that be no charge?
What support do you offer at no charge?