Let me begin by giving thanks to those who make this community possible. It is full of friendly and smart people that make a big difference every day.
I’d like to offer a potential improvement that could make this community even more effective - ‘Solved’ functionality and incentives. Why? After posting just a few new topics to the Particle community, I’ve noticed there is a pattern where some may reply and simply restate the OP, or offer opinions without supporting data or facts.
One of the core use cases of a technical community is to help each other solve problems, especially in the absence of documentation or when planning around new product releases where only a few members have a prototype in-hand. Facts are critical in filling the gaps. Opinions may introduce unnecessary noise and detract from the OP.
Please take this respectfully as that is all that is implied. I am not questioning the power of empathy (others chiming in) when it comes to priority, but I do believe we could benefit from implementing ‘Solved’ and revisiting member incentives (e.g. badges) to drive a more effective community. This is a core tenet of successful online communities like StackOverflow.
Thank you for your consideration.
Any and all suggestions for improvement are always welcome. That said, their is a ‘solved’ functionality enabled already. If this doesn’t live up to your expectations, how could this be improved upon? Is an official functionality from discourse.
Similarly, people who spend a certain amount of time on the forums, along with fulfilling additional requirements, automatically get assigned certain badges. The exception to this are the Elite, who have been ‘promoted’ by Particle directly, and also have direct communication with Particle. We’re not employed by Particle though.
Taking the above into consideration, what kind of badge system do you have in mind and what problems would that help solve?
As @Moors7 mentioned, this forum is built on Discourse. I do not believe Discourse has a post up-vote system as on StackOverflow and StackExchange. Those tech forums also have a reputation score. I think both features would be a welcomed addition to the Discourse platform but you’re probably better off suggesting that in the Discourse forum.
After a quick search, it seems the founder of Discourse has already addressed why they haven’t included such systems. The basic badge system and community flagging functions seem enough to police the community and still foster discussions such as this one.
I suppose there could be more badges in play, what do you suggest?
Thanks so much for the responses. You helped get to the root of the issue - when looking for answers to technical questions, some have become accustomed to communities that use a system-of-fact platform like Stack*, where answers can be up/downvoted and ranked. As Jeff mentions in the video, Stack* is “Ask questions, get answers, no distractions.”
Discourse is more of a subjective discussion platform, perfect for conversations like the very one we’re having. However Jeff also mentions at ~20:19 when comparing Stack* and Discourse that Discourse comes at a cost: efficiency goes way, way down. There have been many attempts to replicate Stack* functionality in Discourse by way of (unofficial) plugins, but I too believe there are reasons the two platforms are distinct.
Perhaps as a low-risk, near-term option we could have a first-class FAQ section with some discipline around update frequency?
one problem with a first class FAQ section with some discipline around update frequency is, who is going to do it? this is a fairly busy forum and the Elite group usually has it’s hands full just keeping up with posts. so, maybe badge a FAQ group who can then agree to maintaining a section of the FAQ based on experience and interest? still, even that would require some type of oversight by management to ascertain that the list was proper which creates another area of responsibility for paid staff. so, SmartWorld, what process can you suggest to implement your FAQ idea?