The Problem With Providing All The Answers

October 4, 2013Comments Off on The Problem With Providing All The Answers

This is common advice.

Members want information as quickly as
possible.

Make sure they can easily find the
documents in the community that gives them the answers they need.

Can you spot the problem here?

This creates a content site where members
come to read, not a community site where members come to participate. Well-meaning
user experience professionals often create terrific content sites that attract
readers, not participants. 

This will be heresy to many, but it's better if members ask for support rather than find support.

The
act of asking questions in the community brings them into the community. They
begin the first step to disclosing information about themselves. They see this
reciprocated. They get to know other members. Soon they become regular
participants.

Better yet, when they ask for information people respond. These responses increase the quantity and refine the quality of knowledge in the community. 

The social value of connecting members with
each other is greater than the value of providing members with information.
It’s
better to nudge members to ask the questions for the answers they want. Asking
for the answers is better than finding the answers. 

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