Capturing And Storing Information Created By Your Community

June 3, 2014Comments Off on Capturing And Storing Information Created By Your Community

Your community is sharing lots of useful information. 

Much of it will be lost into the ether. 

What's the best way of documenting and storing information?

There are a few systems that work:

1) Archives. You can archive all material and ensure it's indefinitely searchable. This is what most people do by default. Unfortunately, it requires people to know exactly what to search for to find it. The search results could bring up multiple posts on the same topic, which do you trust? 

2) FAQ. The simplest option is to move the most searched for material into a simple FAQ which is easily visible to those interested in that topic. However, most of the material (especially the less popular, very specific, material) will be lost. 

3) eBooks. You can create regular eBooks on the core topics within the sector filled with the latest, best, advice shared by the community. You can have a quarterly guide to each sector filled with the best articles. This is easy to do, provides useful reading and reference material. Making the information easily findable to newcomers will become a challenge. 

4) Wikis. A better option is to create a wiki to store articles in a structured, regularly updated, format where anyone can look up the information they need. The challenge here is a) capturing the information and b) structuring information under relevant categories so members can easily find what they want. 

A few tactics we've seen work well to capture this information are

a) rank people by the quantity of articles created/updated.

b) have a 'promote/document' button next to every forum discussion any member can press to draw attention to people that it should be added to the wiki.

c) If a discussion receives {x} posts or {x} rating, it is automatically promoted to a wiki article

d) Only allow members who have established a good reputation to make contributions to the wiki. It's a reward for sharing information. 

5) Induction material. A final option is to proactively promote the community's solution in the induction material into that topic. Most organisations have induction material for newcomers – introducing them to the relevant best practices in the community drives people towards your community and benefits everyone. 

You will probably use a combination of the options above. Option 3 is our favourite, option 4 is the most effective, option 5 leads to long-lasting results in your field. 

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