It’s never been easier to be a developer. With the availability of Internet these days, for almost anywhere, anytime, it’s just few clicks away to find the answer of your question. With proper keywords, especially when you have an error message, Google can lead you to the answer within a fraction of second – mostly StackOverflow, or some other websites/blogs that the people have already answered it.
If you want a more specific question where you can’t find an answer to, you can simply ask. It’s free. The days of Expert-sexchange are long gone. People around the world are willing to help you, without knowing who you are – they jump into your question, read it, guess it, understand it, ask something to clarify, think about a solution, possibly try it, post it to you.
They spend time, their precious time, to make your life, just a little easier.
And they don’t charge you a penny. Perhaps they like solving problems. Perhaps they like helping people. Perhaps they like the reputation count in SO. But in the end of the day, you don’t have to spend a bunch of money a professional consultant would cost you.
It would be decent for you report back that if their solution worked for you, and even better, mark their answer as accepted (or such). While the latter is just a sign of respect, it is much more important for you to let people know what happened – did the answer help you, or you found another way, or you fixed it yourself. It’s the missing piece of information, the last, final one, to complete the question you asked.
It’s not just ingratitude to just take the answer and walk away, but it’s also irresponsible for the people who comes after you. Remember, we are a community, we are the Internet. We learn from each other and we make us, as a whole, a better community. You received something from the community, so you should contribute it back, even with a very modest amount. You got help from people came before you. Then help the people come after you!
Nobody will gonna stalk you and shout to your face that you did not give the feedback to the people who helped you, for free (well, sometimes on SO, people will politely ask you to consider marking some of the answers as accepted, but that’s not “shouting”). People move on. They will jump in again and answer your next question, if they can. They might know that you have such bad reputation, but they don’t care.
But you should care.
Be a decent person, even on the Internet.