Continuing the discussion from Share your community launch promo/marketing plan:
I was just having this discussion with @dun3buggi3 – it might be worth a public topic. Splitting now…
Lots of people don’t agree with my philosophy on this – for a couple of reasons.
If one of your KPIs is no of new topics then it’s in your best interest to close topics and enforce the opening of new ones
In many larger (esp tech) communities, people trawl for topics relating to a specific keyword so that they can bump them to spam or sockpuppet.
I think it depends on the community, but my rationale is that if someone comes here searching for something specific, it is a lot easier for them to have one definitive thread returned, than the parody of choice that comes with multiple results.
I’d be interested to hear how other people handle closing/bumping and for what reasons.
i have run 4 tech support communities so far and we did not like closing any threads that seemed to be still active, yet we set guidelines that if something was not posted on for x months, we would close it, but not archive it, since the content may still be relevant. we wanted users to search first for answers before posting the same questions over and over again. So sometimes old threads still kept going. those we did not close down. I would say, find a time frame that works for this community and close threads post that time if nothing new has been added. Don’t delete them or hide them. just close them to new comments. If someone needs help on the same or similar topic, they can or should open a new thread. Now, can they link to an old one if they open a new thread?
I think this rationale is solid but I’m curious to know why you’d close a thread at all.
the personal reason would be to show the community that the space is moderated and not abandoned when it comes to clean up efforts… but that’s just me
Tripadvisor does this quite well, where they close threads after a while but cross link to new ones on the same or similar topic. That way you keep your google authority but also have clear moderation in place
Go it. That certainly makes sense in the context of many communities.
From the SEO side, I think it’s probably best to have just one clear topic for that kind of discussion.
From the community side, it’s probably better to have a regular update and refresh of it.
If you can combine the two, that’s a big win.
Agreed. I think this is community specific but I also think the context of the post makes a difference. When you’re dealing with information that gets regularly updated it’s easy for people to miss the new stuff on an older thread that’s 30 pages long or something.
So my experience was the consumer finance sector - so much changes around product, T&Cs, the law etc that curating (closing/culling/redirecting) threads to fresh content was one of our big moderation challenges, but also one of our reputational plusses - i.e. people knew they could come to us and easily see conversation on the new stuff.
In the case of tripadvisor, this probably holds pretty true also
We are used to close just discussions related to features implemented and testing already completed. Generic discussion are always open and support questions are marked as solved but not closed (people could have the same problem and need to followup)
Sometimes I revive hot discussions or topics without a clear decision taken.
I agree that it mostly depends on the type of community. I personally would prefer one large thread with lots of inputs than being broken down and fragmented into 5 other threads. One part where I saw the value in bumping up old thread was when I saw this thread yesterday: Weekly Breakdown: Survive France Network
I’ve realized that the amazing people in here do a lot of things in here that new members like me might not be aware of. I would not have known that we offered such a detailed analysis of community platforms. This is super useful.
That’s an interesting point. People don’t tend to come to communities and browse back through months and months of threads. They read the latest, or search for topics.
That does mean that long term value can get buried. I’m not sure there’s a solution to that.
Discourse suggests topics at the bottom of every discussion, so it’s easy to find also very old thread. People generally search a lot, mostly looking for a technical answer, so it isn’t unusual that they bump topic too.
Well, as for this example, I didn’t know this is something we offered. But on the other hand, when I saw the member spotlight thread recently, I learned a quick hack to read more stories. There also have been several occasions where I knew what exactly I was looking for and came here searching for it.
Examples: When our community had grown, we needed a set of guidelines telling people what’s allowed and what’s not. To make sure I’ve not missed out on things, I was searching for community guidelines and found this to be super helpful!
If you’re managing a public forum, you’re bound to have trolls at some point. But sometimes it’s tricky to deal with them because these trolls might actually be helping other members occasionally and would be really active. We had to deal with one such situation and I needed some help from experts.
So I guess it’s how people engage with the forums. You either visit a forum if you’re specifically looking for something or if you have some time in hand and want to check what’s new. Either way, like @ale_fattorini mentioned, discourse is pretty awesome at improving the discoverability of a discussion- be it drop down during search or suggested topics at the bottom.
I’m in total agreement. I’m wondering if there are ways that I could make valuable content more visible. A sidebar or something.
There are a few things we’re doing here:
We edit old topics / messages and link some words/phrases to other topics. Interlinking, but very accurate and contextual. We use is wisely.
Topics which are collections of topics. However, you can end up with too many collections, which will take space of your “top” list. So it is often a collection of smaller collections, all groupped as a single topic.
Small links to tagged topics in the secondary top menu. We have plenty. For example, there is a link that says “let’s build your own website”, and it links to “building-own-website” tag.
We bump old topics regularly, especially those underdeveloped ones with a huge potential. The only 2 tricks is that we:
- Rename the topic before giving it the second attemp
- Only bump it when there is someone online right now who can add to the topic (and we invite them to the topic at the same time)
Works quite for our community.
I like this. That would work for Member Spotlights and Breakdowns, at least in the short term.
That’s pretty interesting - just curious but how do you keep track of what members strengths are? Is it purely through familiarity or is it something more structured?
Once a user has shown interest in a particular area a few times, I may add them to a special group, or grant them a badge. We sometimes add internal notes to the users as well.
We have an SQL query that shows the most used words by a particular user in last N months - this way we can also guess who’s interested in what; and, most importantly, who’s writing about what.
With time, you usually learn which members are good at what, so sometimes it’s just obvious who to invite in a particular topic.
if a user is of particular profession, you can relate on that as well. For example, I regularly invite a veterinary specialist to all relevant topics when they’re online and get 99.99% positive feedback.
Finally, some topics should touch just about anyone, so I just pick randomly from within active users and it just automagically works.
Really great reply, thanks.
I also need to use the word “automagically” more