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Suggestions from an answerer

    Question

  • As an answerer, and community contributor, I spend my time divided between:

    • My Threads (unread only).  To find new posts/replies on threads that I've participated in.  To find out if I've resolved someone's issue.  Or to catch up on details I've missed.  This works reasonably well.  Except that I also have to visit my Activity. (see next bullet point)
    • My Profile > Activity.  To see state changes such as helpful and answered.  These don't count as unread details of threads I'm following.  Ideally, I'd like to know if someone ELSE answered the question too or provided a helpful response.  Also this tends to be my "pat on the back" where I collect my rewards for my answering efforts.
    • My Forums Threads.  To find new questions within my domain of expertise.  The sorting here is crucial.  I want to see recent unanswered threads with few replies in the forums I'm more comfortable with.  Currently I can't rank the individual forums I participate in.

    I'd like to see all three of these pages merged somehow into a one-stop-shop that serves all my forum needs.  (Hopefully it's clear how My Threads (unread) and Activity should be merged.)  Obviously, I'd still like manual control over what information I'm seeing, but only as a last resort.  Primarily I want the information as I've described above.

    And finally, an idea stemming from related threads.  Ideally I'd like the forum to recognize questions that apply to my expertise.  There must be some way to correlate the information in threads that I've answered with details of new questions to figure out which questions apply more closely to my expertise.  Sort of a "find an expert" search engine that draws questions to the attention of the most appropriate experts.  The broad stroke of "forum" should be only one axis on which this is done.  I realize this is a tall order but it would be a worthwhile problem to solve on a global scale in many different kinds of forums.  There's obvious business opportunity in being able to crowdsource expertise to get questions answered, but, as difficult as it is, I think this is a problem you have to solve to do this well.  Start drawing better connections to related threads.  Related threads should always find very appropriately related threads.  (Currently, it's only "OK", seeming to match mostly keywords.  I'm not exactly sure how this works, but I think it could be made to be much better.)

    I suggest starting by delving deeper than related threads to find answerers in related threads and bring those issues to the attention of those answerers.  So for an answerer, this query for unanswered questions might be expressed something like: find threads whose related threads show ME as a helpful contributor or answerer.  Or at least bring more weight to those threads.

    Sunday, March 16, 2014 2:34 PM

All replies

  • Great suggestions Wyck!

    We'll definitely be investing more into this area in the near future, especially your idea of recognizing questions related to area of expertise and surfacing those to you. 

    Would you be opposed to being one of our beta testers when we do decide to implement these ideas you've suggested?

    Thanks for your invaluable contributions to the Forums so far.


    Life is one big road with a lot of signs.

    Sunday, March 16, 2014 11:00 PM
  • Would you be opposed to being one of our beta testers when we do decide to implement these ideas you've suggested?

    I would be happy to help with beta testing.
    Monday, March 17, 2014 12:52 PM