If you ask members if they want something, the answer will usually be ‘yes’.
Why would they say no? There’s no downside.
This is why the best questions also present a downside or, at least, a contrast.
For example, if you ask members if they want a private community, they will usually say yes. Privacy sounds good and there’s no downside.
But if you ask questions like:
- Would you like your posts to be read by 5 people you know and trust or 500 people who might be helped by your responses?
- Do you want this to be a small close-knit group of peers for intimate discussions or a larger group to build connections and gain diverse perspectives?
…you get more valuable results.
Likewise, if you ask members if you should add a new feature or category, they will usually say yes. Again, there’s no downside. But if you ask questions like:
- Approximately how many questions within [proposed category] have you had in the past month?
- How frequently have you needed to use [proposed feature] in the last month?
- Which topic do you feel isn’t properly addressed by our current categories today?
….again, you get more useful results.
Presenting an option without a downside isn’t research, it’s confirmation bias. Asking members to choose between competing priorities will yield far better outcomes.