It feels that at least once every week or so, I get a private message saying “Can you write/modify this plugin for me?” Sometimes the person even says “I’ll pay you!”
I always reply with, “Sorry, I don’t have the time anymore. You may want to post on the forums, or see if there’s anyone on our IRC channel.” Which is the truth, I barely even have time to work on my own projects these days.
The amusing thing is that I can always predict what the reply will be (if there is one, and there usually is). The person says back, “I tried that, and no one replied.”
Well… what do you want me to do about it? I can’t force people to reply to your post, and I already said I was unable to work for you.
I almost never reply back to those messages, since there’s little I can constructively say that wouldn’t further engage me in their project’s details. I learned that quickly after someone spilled their entire project’s ideas and goals to me. I felt forced to write a lengthy reply (and in fact wrote one) because I didn’t want them to feel like their effort for typing all that had gone to waste.
Often people also ask me if there’s anyone I know who’d be willing to help them, or more surreptitiously phrased, “who are the best developers you know?” Now I’ve gone from a developer to a headhunter. In the very unlikely case I know someone who’s interested in the type of request, and they’ve given me permission to do so, I’ll give them as a reference. Otherwise, I think it’d be inappropriate of me to start contacting or giving out the contacts of every developer I know.