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Can I use confluence questions in a public setting without paying $2,000 for 100 users?
I LOVE the idea of Confluence Questions... but I wanted to use it in a more public setting (e.g., I wanted to mimic answers.atlassian.com but for my own software/projects)
Unfortunately the licensing is per-seat. You are able to open this up to the public, provided that your Confluence instance is reachable to outside the organization, without sacrificing any internal security if configured correctly.
For example, you would also need users to register- I don't believe there is an option to allow users to ask questions anonymously. However, check out this issue: CQ-318
Depending on your Confluence settings already, Anonymous users can browse questions. For more information, check out the documentation here.
In the meantime, I'd suggest dumping questions into there and answering them if you don't want to afford the additional licensing costs until the above are made active. At least it would be searchable!