I dont really see this a a problem with forums, as I think soc. nets have a problem too. I spent time investigating features of forums and SN's, and found both could be made to give roughly the same functionality.
And forums defiantly are places that people use as a social place. So the question is why is that there is a more generic software that takes the best of both and tries to fix problems any other problems with the suitability.
I kept my list short, but could have easily kept going.
One of my main gripes with Community (forum/SN's) sites is that they have thousands of motivated highly knowledgeable users but in the end, mostly software on the sites only allows it to be used as a talking shop. ideas that are brought up are drop off the page into Oblivion.
Which is a shame , and a waste.
One site of the few site that does do a reasonable job at this is sourceforge but of course its not really a an information base community as such, I dont even think it makes a good job doing what its supposed to do, but then again criticising is very easy, creating is hard.
Fortunately I'm stubborn (or stupid?) enough to actually do something about it. I have been working for nearly a year now on some "idea" enhancement software, but thats not the point of the thread, even if I could talk about it that is.
But after I have finished this development then I will be looking at developing the community software, which will address some/all of my the issues I have.
rogerd, I agree that good moderation can contribute to better forums, but at best your working around the limitations of the software.
Baruch, I agree with your comment, but if the purpose of the forum is to be an information source for a particular subject. The do you believe that the software is best suited for that?
If you take vordmeister comment about the wiki, I think many forums would benefit from some type of wiki based
integration/software (or whatever).
And/or some type of auto-populated faq generated from posts.
Some other sites, have started using notification on thread posts to say if it answered the initial post question. This is moving some way to how it should be, but I would describe it more as "papering over the cracks" not really tackling issue from from its root cause.
vordmeister, generally speaking forums don't have a feedback process allowing information to be wiki'ed (for want of a better term). besides the ability to search the forum for previous answers to the question you are looking for.
"How to do it any other way than manually?"
this would be a very difficult question to answer in a short post.
If you are stuck in the mindset seeing communities like this should just be structured as a forum, then the answer to your question will be as I have explained above, where other sites are adding "did this post answer your question?" Yes/ no options.
I am of the opinion that like any software development, you need to look at user requirements, why do people come to the site or more accurately what is the purpose of the community and does the software model adequately fulfil that purpose.
So I would have the ability to have more static resources as well as some type of feed back process, so the same questions arnt constantly raised. Also structure of forums/subforums. If i have a question about a database structure for the security model of my new software. its very likely that I will have to choose where I put it, either in the security section or the database section.
This reduces the chances of getting my post answered. A system that works around subscribing to sections would work better maybe(along with some type of relevancy rank), then anyone that subscribed to database or security would get to see the post. I'm not saying I have thought about this in detail, as I mentioned I am working on something else, also I dont pretend to have all the answers.
the fist step in the process should be issue analysis, its not a good idea to come up with solutions until you have finished a full review.
keep the comments coming ;-)