People tend to respond to discussions to increase their status or to help others.
But helping others is most effective when we change their emotional state.
Which of these two kinds of discussions are you most likely to prioritize and respond to?
Discussion 1: “My iPhone won’t turn on. I’ve tried charging it but it’s not working. Any ideas?”
Discussion 2: “Argh, can someone help! I’ve spent the last few hours trying to charge my iPhone and it’s driving me insane. I’m scared I need to replace it and I don’t have the money”.
The payoff for answering the second question is much higher than the first. That’s because you get to improve someone’s emotional state. This is far more rewarding than just giving someone an answer.
This comes up in the academic literature too:
“Sentiment analysis indicates that self-disclosing one’s emotions during support seeking serves as a significant predictor for the amount of social support the support-seeker could obtain.”
You might want to start modeling this behavior with a few community insiders, adding it to the welcome guide, and perhaps even telling members everyone wins when people share their emotive states when asking a question.