Anybody can message me through my profile page. Here's how:
Create a job posting. Send it to me as a private invite, with my posted hourly rate.
I will accept and we can talk as long as you want. It's your dime. Because you are paying for my time, everything we discuss belongs to you.
re: "I dont think it would be open to abuse."
Yes. It would be abused.
There are tens of thousands of pests who already us Upwork inappropriately. Don't open the floodgates for those pests to abuse the system even more.
re: "I think it is a necessary way for people to connect about a project and ask questions about the project."
No, it is not necessary. The site functions well already. At least it does for me.
re: "I dont like to just submit a proposal without asking questions first."
It's fine. Submitting a proposal begins the conversation. It doesn't commit you to anything.
re: "I'd like to network as well."
This isn't a networking tool. I think you have this confused with some other site.
re: "Its ridiculous you can't at least ask some questions to the person who submitted the propsoal"
Clients can ask any kind of questions they want when people submit a proposal. They can already do that. What are you talking about?
Apparently you cannot contact people unless you hire them or post a job.This is a huge issue because some people might not want to post a public job or hire someone without first establishing a good fit for the task, especially when it comes to web development. I think Upwork should consider changing this or a lot of us will start using another service.