W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webplatform@w3.org > January 2013

Re: Suspending Q&A?

From: Lea Verou <lea@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2013 03:38:50 +0200
Cc: "public-webplatform@w3.org" <public-webplatform@w3.org>
Message-Id: <84CAE6CC-4309-4D6C-8A0B-ED9BF538E0AC@w3.org>
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Agreed, we should close it now and reopen it later. It was a good idea, but launched without proper planning.

The way I see it, a big problem with the Q&A feature, besides the one you mentioned (lack of monitoring) was the initial internal dissonance about its role. Some people thought it was for technical questions, others thought it was about feedback and each group wanted to moderate accordingly. Even today, I can see off topic questions and I didn’t have to go past the first page. These kinds of threads tend to have a cumulative effect, as they give the wrong impression to newcomers, who then go on to create more off topic questions. Same goes for low-quality contributions, they tend to somehow reproduce like rabbits :) We shouldn't have let our testing threads in there when we launched, they set a pretty sloppy example and gave the wrong impression to users. 

A few ideas for when we relaunch, besides the obvious (better moderation):
- Start from scratch and delete all current content. It’s tempting to keep the few good threads, but this will create a lot of tension ("why was my thread deleted and not this one??") and there are so few good ones, that I’m not sure it's worth it.
- Keep it closed to a select few for the first few days, that we know are going to post quality questions and answers. This will set the tone for the rest of the posts. In forums, it’s hugely important that users find good content as it pushes them to contribute good quality content as well. If they see sloppy posts, they tend to be lazy when posting too, instead of making an effort to add something of value.
- StackOverflow features "top questions" in the front page. To get recent ones, you have to click “Questions”. Same goes for almost every successful site with user generated content. The reason is simple: Top contributions are generally good quality and they help keep the bar high, recent ones can be anything.
- If someone who has never posted an answer posts a question, their question should be moderated (i.e. someone should approve it before it’s published). This way we can eliminate off topic questions before they’re even posted.
- Feature some good questions and answers in the front page, so this section of the site gets more attention.

Just my two cents :)

Lea Verou
W3C developer relations
http://w3.org/people/all#leahttp://lea.verou.me ✿ @leaverou

On Jan 25, 2013, at 01:23, Doug Schepers wrote:

> Hi, folks-
> Garbee had mentioned this before, and I recently heard another suggestion about it.
> It was my decision to introduce the Q&A/forum feature, and I'd hoped it would be a way to get feedback, but as Garbee pointed out, we arguably have too many ways to provide feedback, and not enough time to process them all.
> It doesn't paint us in the best light to have a prominent feature that is going neglected while we concentrate on the documentation. And we do need to concentrate on the documentation.
> We are on the verge of installing and focusing on our issue tracking software, which will replace our bugzilla usage, and will hopefully be better integrated into our whole system, including the wiki commenting extension.
> I propose that we suspend the Q&A feature for now, until the site is more useful and we have a larger community to help drive it. I feel strongly that once we have compelling documentation, the Q&A feature will be more useful... we can point to our own documentation, or the dabblet, to answer questions.
> Publicly, we would explain how we are focusing on getting the documentation right first, and that it is a temporary suspension, and it will be reopened when we exit Alpha.
> Thoughts?
> Regards-
> -Doug
Received on Sunday, 27 January 2013 01:39:03 UTC

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