What are main interactions in a forum?


(Laleh moli) #1

the question raised after I read this post, mainly this part:

"Focus on interactions, not content. Put interactions in the most prominent position on the platform. Great content will only attract active readers, not active members. "

Then:

  1. what does interaction mean here?
  • can someone give me an example?

  • and if it refers to human-human interaction, doesn’t it change a forum (content-centered community) to a social network (human interaction-centered community)?

p.s.: I didn’t know which category does this belong, so just put it in the easiest.


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Interaction generally refers to topics, posts or comments. Discussions of some sort.
Some communities include likes, up-votes etc depending on the primary goal of the community.

We’re having an interaction right now. Rather than you reading a blog post, you’ve asked a question and gotten a response.

I wouldn’t call a forum a content-centred community. To my mind, forums are about relationships and connections. Social networks are about broadcasting messages.

By ‘content’ in that post, Rich is referring to blog posts, articles etc. If you provide people with answers to questions in a way that means they don’t have to interact, they won’t. If you create an environment where asking a question becomes the most important thing, you’ll build relationships and connections that keep people coming back.

Does that make sense?

It’s all good here. I’m not big on rules. :wink:


(Alexandra Kleijn) #3

I think I’ll stick this to my wall :wink:


(Mark Williams) #4

Hrm. This got me thinking.

What’s the balance between that and “please search before asking your question” or the drop down “questions that may relate…”

[note: From here I’m just thinking out loud/musing and welcome your musing]
Basically, what’s the balance between building that interaction centered model and a duplicative content prevention bias? Would this be a place for the disco.fever.bot? Allow the user to complete their ask but relatively quickly provide an automated reply with a prompt for more? I absolutely see the value in the interaction but what’s the downside for those with a large, mainly “customer service” oriented community where duplicate questions are a reality and a pain for those that answer?


(Sarah Hawk) #5

I think they relate to different types of communities. In a support community the motivation for participating isn’t connectedness – it’s finding answers. In those cultures the “search before asking” requirement is strong. In CoPs where relationships are key motivators, a culture of asking questions is important.

I’ve disabled that there because it was a barrier to posting for some people. It works well in support communities though. We utilised it heavily at SitePoint (which was hybrid support/CoP).

A prompt for more what?


(Mark Williams) #6

I agree, but I wonder if there is a missed opportunity to more deeply engage? Instead of posting the menu on the outside of the building, do an invite indoors (for a poor metaphor). I wonder if we’ve (we == support community managers) focused too much on the ‘getting answer quickly’ part of the equation, specifically the user experience/interface part of that.

I wonder in the ‘new’ age of bots if there’s an opportunity to allow users to get their answer just a smudge slower than before but allowing them to get their foot in the door. If their foot is in the door, we have a much better opportunity to deepen that engagement. If they never post we never get the opportunity to find out who they are, do drip emails to foster returns, etc.

So, to flesh out something:


Marie comes with a question and posts it in the forums (without any ‘did you see…’ prompts). Say “I can’t do a shuvit with my new Zephyrboard hoverboard. It always floats away and I have to chase it down.”

After a short but non-zero amount of time, our bot posts “Hey, thanks for posting, I’m the support bot and I found some things that might help…list… Did any of those help?” Prompt for an answer, maybe using Slack-style buttons instead of forcing a response. If yes, algorithmically devalue it so it doesn’t show up in new lists, if not, push it up in the ‘show to others’ list.

Then, we can drip engagement emails to Marie, put her in our CRM, welcome her, etc. She probably doesn’t come back, but maybe she does. Point is, if she’s made it all the way to the community, let her post.


Ok, end of thought experiment.


(Sarah Hawk) #7

Yeah, I hear you. I think this has lots of merit.