[KM-Forum] Best Practices for the Online Discussion Forum
dan at onlinegroups.net
Mon Jun 30 13:03:14 IST 2008
Some comments from my point of view.
> In the world of 2.0s it is good to notice and organize even the bit of
> information which lies in Discussions and other areas? Since
> discussions are one of the ways to get the Tacit Knowledge Explicited,
> but same time we need to make sure that we manage it properly.
That's right, but as always it works better if the management is a
by-product of simply making people's lives easier. Email lists,
especially if they have a good web interface do this by allowing people
to use email as a many-to-many communication tool. If people use
threading and quoting carefully, it is possible to conduct multiple
concurrent conversations in a group, using these technologies. This has
the benefit of creating archives, and of making the conversation visible
to people who may not be direct participants.
> It would be great if you could please help me with the Online
> Discussion Forums "Mail list & Web based discussions" Effective usage,
> search and organizing techniques, case studies, best practices etc.
Here is the User Guide that we wrote for people using our system (which
is a mail list and a web-based discussion forum, like say Yahoo! Groups
but without ads).
We chose to orient this towards individuals trying to get their work
done, and identified these three common tasks.
# Keeping Track of Conversations
# Following Conversations Closely
# Contributing to Conversations
> In both the cases the information that lies in the discussion thread
> is lies under a broad category of its taxonomy. Or is there any other
> metadata format to organize the topics? Would it help to have
> folksonomy apart from Taxonomy while posting as well? After questions
> are answered, is it possible to tag each and every post to its context
> which induces retrieval?
Tagging works where it solves a user's problem (I want to be able to
find this item again), but even then, it doesn't work that well (but
I'll happily trade possible future pain to avoid a task). A tiny
minority of people will ever tag anything, so folksonomy is only
effective where a very large user population is able to tag items. The
great thing about conversations is that they are so searchable. We've
used a keyword-extraction algorithm to identify words that are frequent
in a post or topic, but infrequent across the whole site. You can only
evaluate the effectiveness of this if you know what's in the actual
post, but there may some examples that illustrate this on the following
> Archive feature?
> If the discussions are old and not used at all? Is it good to Archive
> or Delete? If archived, does the search retrieve it?
We don't ever delete anything. It just creates problems when people want
it back. As long as it's secured appropriately, I say keep everything.
Storage is cheap, and as meta-data-extraction gets better, who knows
what might be found there.
> RSS usage – to stay in track of the posts – answers.
> If a user posts a query it may take a few days to get the answers,
> meanwhile the user may forget about the question he posted. How to get
> the user view the answers? RSS or Email alert? Which is best for
> keeping the user and Q&A in Loop?
I'm for the user's right to choose.
> Could moderators be engaged in a mediator's role for Q&A instead of
> just having them for approving posts? Moderators are expected to be
> good in subject understanding but in corporates such people are busy
> to take up additional role of Mediated-Moderator.
> User might not know the existence of the answers that are available in
> the earlier posts and posts the same question for which the experts
> might not answer knowing its existence. How to over come this problem?
> As soon as the post is submitted can we make the system suggest the
> user to have the existing answers checked and proceed to post the same
> question? Does this help?
The more cultivation, the better. Search is great for finding things you
know you want to find, but useless for finding things you don't know are
interesting. I've just spent my afternoon reading posts, summarising
them, making links between them, writing content up for pages.
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Aotearoa (New Zealand)
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