Re: Blogs for questions, blogs for answers

Subject: Re: Blogs for questions, blogs for answers
From: "David Neeley" <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 11:29:51 -0500

Chris Borokowski, speaking of blogs as a place for giving answers, opined:

"Unfortunately, they also make it much harder to find
than a single mailing list having all of the users.
Who loses? The users. Who wins? The bloggers?"

I think it takes a little examination of the best tool for the job.

For example, I believe a *much* superior vehicle for this list might
be a bulletin board (aka a "forum") with email option for new posts.
That way, topics would be automatically threaded for later quick
review--and not incidentally easier for members to get to the threads
that most interest them.

Similarly, a bulletin board system within a development environment
might be very useful for following discussions about various aspects
of the project as it evolves. One *huge* advantage of this is that new
members joining the team in midstream could catch up rapidly with
current status of all the action items on the development plan.

While many mail programs offer threaded messages, the problem is that
list members are too prone to leaving old topic headings even when the
topic itself has changed radically from the original. I have found
that this tendency is minimized with a bulletin board. Members tend to
self-police a great deal more, starting new topics when called for
much more frequently.

The problem is that we have a sort of "tool du jour" approach to these
things. We may be familiar with mail lists, so that is what is used.
Blogs have become popular, so let's all have a blog.

There seldom seems to be an examination of the best tool for the job
in online communities. While I also see value in the mail list vehicle
for the more freewheeling discussions, I also must acknowledge its
limitations.

The practical problem, rather obviously, lies in getting others to
change what they are used to and comfortable with. Until you must do
archive searches to find something that you dimly recall being
discussed previously, that is, when some of the limitations begin to
chafe.

David
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