Ideas for replit bounties
Apparently replit asks all Pro users about their thoughts.
As it happens, I have a lot of thoughts about how to improve Replit bounties.

Lower transaction costs

Currently the process is:
The back-and-forth between bounty creator and applicant is a transaction cost.
The smaller the bounty amount, the higher the cost as percentage of the job.
Choosing applicants is also arbitrary: there’s just not enough info to decide that one person is better than the other but I have to pick one.
Experiment with (optional) mode that works more like 99designs: i.e.:
There is potential for abuse: someone does the work and I don’t pay. Penalize people who do that, potentially banning them from posting bounties.
You would need a way for devs to provide feedback on bounty creators (and vice versa) and a human who reviews this and takes action.
Messy, yes, but “do things that don’t scale” (Paul G.)
This incentivize meritocracy: bounty makers want fast work and good devs who work fast will make more money.

Educate bounty posters

Most bounties are badly described: vague, not enough information, no clear acceptance criteria etc.
Write a concise “How to create a successful bounty” document (mostly based on what you see as good / bad practices in current bounties).
When creating a new bounty, provide a link to that article and in general promote it.
Topics to cover:

Purge obviously bad bounties

You want to establish a reputation:
It does you no good if there’s a $4 bounty to do weeks of work.
It’ll never be fulfilled, it creates a bad impression for both devs and bounty creators who understand market wages.
You should have a human who reviews new bounties and closes obviously bad ones.
He can use that to also educate i.e. link to the above “how to make a good bounty” article.

Don’t list cancelled bounties by default

Default list is “all” which includes cancelled bounties. Those are just noise.

Educate and penalize bad bounty creators

An example of bad bounty creator: someone who has applicants but doesn’t assign the bounty in reasonable amount of time.
Educate: have a bot that checks for that and e.g. if an applicant isn’t chosen in e.g. 3 days, send a message.
Penalize: e.g. lower their ranking in the list of bounties.

Reverse search: bounty creator looks for devs

In addition to devs picking bounties, allow bounty makers to pick devs.
Create a directory of devs where they list the technologies they know, what bounties they’ve completed, feedback from bounty creators so far, their availability etc.
Allow bounty makers “ping” them i.e. suggest that they are a good candidate for a given bounty.

Change how entering price works

Currently if I open a bounty and enter $200, I pay $200 and the dev gets $200 - replit cut.
As a result there are weirdly priced bounties, like $192.
It should be: if I enter $200 that’s what the dev makes and you charge me $200 + replit cut

Don’t dismiss “Create a Bounty” with outside click

I clicked outside by accident while in the middle of filling out a bounty and thought I lost what I wrote.
I didn’t, because you persist the state, but it’s not at all obvious how to get back.
Only an explicit “Cancel” or (“Save as draft”) should dismiss the dialog.
Also, give it more horizontal space. The most important text box is tiny.

Redesign discussions

There was a bounty where I had expertise in subject matter and knew it couldn’t possibly be done.
Currently the system discourages any feedback or discussion unless between selected applicant.
I get it: you don’t want low quality discussions but I think it’s a bad focus. Moderation can mitigate low quality.
Discussions should be more like stack overflow or discourse: comments are below the bounty description (not as a separate tab) and are encouraged (vs. discouraged currently).
Bounty creators should be able to moderate (hide / delete comments).
Applications and Discussion should be merged: an application is just a comment with “I apply for this job” attribute (e.g. a checkbox).

Monitor failed bounties

Look for cancelled / abandoned bounties.
Ask yourself: “why did this bounty failed” and “what could we do to increase possibility of success for this bounty”?
Your job is not to list bounties and collect the payments.
Your job is to make devs and bounty creators successful and that involves doing things that do no scale, like manually reviewing failed bounties and coming up with ideas on how to make them not fail.

Beyond bounties

Other ideas

Bad error message when replit has issues

I was using replit and I got an error message: “We’re either having technical difficulties or you’ve violated our tos. You can’t access your replit”.
As you can imagine “you’re a criminal” vs. “we’ve fucked up” is a very different message.
If you don’t know which scenario happened, you should fix it.
If you do, you should tell me exactly. “maybe we’ve taken away your access” is not confidence inspiring.

Go improvement

In Go, save should use goimports instead of plain go fmt. This automatically adds necessary imports.
A simple change that would be a significant improvement for Go developers.
Written on Mar 13 2023.
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