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Email-enabling discussions ..

In your BuildingCommunities article, you write:

  If you offer the "notify me" checkbox, these people will
  post their question, check the box, and never come back.
  They'll just read the replies in their mailbox.

The obvious rejoinder is: allow them to hit reply in their
mail client, and let the reply join the thread on the board.
Check out http://www.quicktopic.com/ for all the cool ideas,
including this one.

Jean Jordaan
Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I clicked on the link to check it out, asked for registration ..on which I promptly closed the window, guess that is the last I have seen of that site...

Prakash S
Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I think the point of the article is that you've got to "force" people to come back to your site if you want to build a community.

There are times, however, when the user doesn't want to become part of a community:

If I had a problem with my computer's mainboard and I found a "support forum" for mainboards from this vendor, I'd probably be very glad if I could read and post replies to my question in my mail client. Mainboards are usually of no interest to me, I certainly don't want to join a "mainboard community" ...

Maybe this "please solve my problem, then you will never hear from me again" approach is an abuse of the existing community - or maybe not?

Tim Strehle
Tuesday, March 04, 2003

>> There are times, however, when the user doesn't want to become part of a community:


>> If I had a problem with my computer's mainboard and I found a "support forum" for mainboards from this vendor, I'd probably be very glad if I could read and post replies to my question in my mail client. Mainboards are usually of no interest to me, I certainly don't want to join a "mainboard community" ...


Support forums generally contain a database of questions and responses in order to serve as an encyclopedia of known issues. Every time I've ever had a technical issue the first place I've looked is in the support forum's messagebase. Only after seeing no appropriate question and response in the existing messages do I post a question.


In this instance, I see forcing the discussion to take place publicly as a fair exchange of privacy for *FREE* support... it's much more efficient than simply offering a list of questions with email reply addresses.


That's the tradeoff. If you want absolute privacy and no possibility of being annoyed by questions from others, then pay someone for technical support. Seriously.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, March 04, 2003

That section of the article also ignored a possible middle ground. You can send email notifications to people without including the full text of the reply. A simple notification that a reply has occurred would be what most people want, and they would still have to come back to the forum to read it.

If the forum has a tendency to attract long postings, you can email a short excerpt, and still get the same effect.

Basically, although you want to encourage people to come back and read the forum, you *don't* want to encourage them to obsessively click 'reload' every few minutes either.

Unless what you're really after is page views

Michael Bernstein
Tuesday, March 04, 2003

You have to admit that Joel is right about one thing -- talking incessently about the design of the forum rather than the topic of the forum is BORING BORING BORING.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, March 04, 2003

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