I was speaking recently to a community leader whose company had begun paying members a small reward to answer questions within the community.
The results have been interesting.
On the downside, volunteer superusers (who were also invited to join the gig program) are upset at being cast aside and have begun causing a ruckus.
On the upside, the speed of response and the number of questions receiving answers has increased significantly. Members are getting faster answers which are more likely to resolve their problem.
But the answers are less warm and friendly than before.
However, member satisfaction ratings within the community have increased since the program began. The speed and quality of an answer trumps the warmth and friendliness of the answer.
I think this shows two things. First, there are still plenty of ways to do community and avenues to explore. Second, every decision which improves one aspect of a community causes challenges elsewhere. The magic is knowing which trade-offs make the most sense for you.