I feel like there's probably a post out here about this, but I didn't see one specifically in search, so here goes.
I'm managing a community predominantly for users of free, open-source software. We do offer a paid enterprise edition (that comes with support) but most of the members use the free community version and have access to our docs, blogs, etc - but no actual support staff.
I've got a budget for "developer outreach" and I'm tempted to hire members as short-term freelancers. My thought being to promote someone to "non-employee of the month" and pay them (actual $ or Amazon gift card TBD) for contributions to unanswered questions. These would be people that we are sure know enough about the software to make paying for their contributions worthwhile.
It'd be short term, and amount of times restricted.
What should I be worried about with this? (IE how can this backfire!?) I don't want active members to start expecting payment for contributions, but I don't want the community flooded with questions that aren't being answered. It's a fairly complex software that may take other community members research to resolve some issues. I'm going to have a rewards structure in place, sending members things (or publicly praising them) for contributions ... but I kind of like the idea of making them official, at least for a short period.