Nov 7 2007

Q and A Problem Can Be Solved by a Blog

Posted by cheyennejack at 5:25 PM
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- Categories: Productivity

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QUESTION:

How do you increase user interest by answering user-generated questions on an educational website, while maintaining high content integrity standards? Oh. And you have already exceeded your budget.

ANSWER:

I was recently posed with this very issue.

The idea of a forum was one that really piqued their interest. The idea that experts could receive and answer problems and have those solutions immediately available online was great.

However, they had discussed this in years past and the major hurdle for the site was that all of the content on the site should be pertinent and of high quality. The free-form rules of a forum did not sit well with the direction and membership goals of this site.

The first solution was to take the time to build a Question and Answer module, specifically for the purpose of answering these questions. While, not a terribly difficult solution to implement, it was still time-consuming on a project that has already exceeded its budget.

Previously blogs had been ruled out, even though they'd be easy to implement with the plethora of software out there.

The problem was their nature. They seemed contradictory to that of Q&A. They seemed more like a round table discussion with the blogger initiating discussion and acting as a moderator among the comments. This lead us back to the forums issue with answers possibly being offered up from non-credible sources. In fact, boiled down, the blog just became a forum where only one person could initiate unique conversation.

Then it dawned on me, simple as it was that the blog entry itself could pose both the question and the answer, just as this entry does. This solved the problem of ensuring the readers get credible answers from the expert. They would submit their questions in a variety of easily implemented ways and receive their answers in an Ask Dr. Phil type format.

I am sure that to read this is by no means ground-breaking, but to myself it was important to realize the blog can have common paradigms, such as Q&A inserted into its more roundtable paradigm to shift its capability and direction.

Finally, now the comment-style roundtable of the blog can be centered around the Q&A, which will have an entirely different value and context, than just a straight answer like statement or question blog entry.

In the end, this site may want the comments entirely shut off, or most definitely moderated. However, as I move along Q&A in my mind is now easily implemented and controlled in a familiar web environment with a bonus roundtable of comments attached if deemed acceptable.

I wonder which other paradigms can be "mashed up" in common web settings to solve various issues?


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