Every New Question Asked in An Online Community Should Have Its Own Thread

Why not just have a single thread and let everyone ask questions there?

This is an approach pioneered by Sephora (3000+ responses to this thread and counting).

But if anyone searches on Google for any of these topics, will they land on this thread?

If the top contributors want to easily find unanswered questions to answer, do they want to wade to the end of 3k+ responses?

It’s hard to merge common discussions into a single, definitive, thread you can regularly update as new information comes to light.

If management want reports on which topics are most popular, which problems are most pressing, what terminology people are using, it becomes far harder to pull this data from 3k+ responses.

Reducing the number of threads is rarely the real problem. The real problem is developing a workflow that will efficiently let you respond to each question, update old questions with new information, merge similar questions, and gather insights from these questions. Focus on that.


  1. Kate Ambash says:

    Note: @HAWK not sure where these belong but Rich’s blog posts always leave me wanting to TALK about the issues.

    I’d be curious what Shira Levine has to say about this. Many of you probably know her. She’s over in CMX and is now head of Community. I don’t think she’s here, but I know she just started over there.

  2. Richard Millington says:

    @kambash If you scroll down most of the blog posts do actually appear in this community too.

    It used to be an automated system. But then it broke when we made a few changes and we haven’t gotten around to fixing it. So @HAWK manually does the publishing herself.

    Which works well…except for days like today when her twins are having a birthday and she’s off for the day :slight_smile:

    But feel free to discuss anything here. Love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

  3. Nikoletta Harrold says:

    I definitely agree with you Rich. I think each question should have it’s own thread, because people won’t want to read 3000 replies deep, and even less so if they are not all related to the topic that brought them to the post in the first place.

    Most community platforms do let you run reports on duplicate topics, I think those are safe to merge for a streamlined experience to the community members.

  4. Sarah Hawk says:

    Shira’s not a member here but feel free to invite her!
    I’m curious as to why you’re keen to hear from her. Is this something that she’s spoken about before?

  5. Kate Ambash says:

    Indeed yes! And she’s now manning the Sephora community.

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