I’d like to add my 2 cents, from what I’ve noticed on the vendor side.
Most people are looking for platform advice, in other words, looking for an unbiased place to discuss platforms and get advice on what they should select. They are looking for the best solution for their objectives. They also want opinions before they take the risk of a migration.
For example, now there are lots of Jive-x customers who now need to decide to stick with Jive-x or in the short to long-term switch to Lithium or look elsewhere. Where can someone get info about this, unbiased? I mean I can talk about all the migrations we have done from both platforms, but I know community professionals will always want to hear from the customer/client side.
Next there is the Review Challenge. Reviews are usually incentive driven or the result of someone’s bad experience. Most people don’t naturally share reviews, unless asked.
Then there are community selector guides, but it stays to the facts, without opinion or it’s biased by the partners who sponsor it. I have seen a couple of dubious guides which were obviously put out to drive leads, and the tell-tale sign is by the lack of vendors omitted from the report. Can you really discuss community selection without including at least a couple of companies from this list: Vanilla, Discourse, Lithium, Salesforce Community, Higher Logic?
Finally, I have written extensively on selecting platforms and migrations. I even have done a couple of webinars. It’s always 100% platform agnostic, but as I work at a vendor it’s harder to get a trust factor.
All to this to say, this is why independent places to discuss this topic are important. Unfortunately, there is a fundamental issue that has not been solved-- and I am not sure how these spaces can truly solve it.
Platform discussions tend to get too personal or too specific to a situation – and are uninteresting for the majority-- so there will be a lack of engagement. On the flip side, technical questions may require a vendor to jump in to do public support, off their platform. This is less than ideal. I would hate to see the Feverbee community fall into this trap. As Rich rightly pointed out their are vendor forums for support.
Another trap is this place turns into another hive of just a bunch of vendors jumping in, and thus defeats the purpose of honest information. I have seen this on Quora and the Facebook CMX group. It really does not add any value for the person seeking info. As a vendor we are most incentivized to say our platform can solve your issue, even if it be by dubious means ( of course never from me ) . It is a slippery slope I have seen some discussions here slide into…in spite of best intentions.
Sorry if I have raised more questions than solutions @richard_millington …but I thought it was important to bring up these considerations. Right now I think there is a good mix. If anything, I think sticking to non-vendor specific content is most important. For example, questions you should ask your vendor, like how is data ownership handled in case of migration or the benefits/downsides to allowing down-voting of comments in a community platform. This is the kind of discussions I would expect from “experts”…