Msg#: 4140977 posted 11:11 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)
People have different requirements and those change over time.
When you're first learning something you want one thing, when you learned it a long time ago you need another. One person likes chatty (like in a long forum thread) another likes a succinct well structured piece. A piece that doesn't assume he's a newbie and that actually answers his questions.
It's horses for courses.
If you look at the debate here there are threads of thought that seem to repeat.
I used to use it a lot but not any more The newbie posts get in my way, make me use it less Long threads hide what I want It's great for X for not for Y
This suggests different audiences and a conflict between a reader wasting his time and a poster's desire for immortality.
Maybe there's a way to satisfy both audiences.
I've seen this done over the years, but rarely. After a long debate, somebody, maybe the original poster, summarises it all. Puts it all together with a little commentary. It tends to end up somewhere in the discussion thread, not always easy to find. Golden luck if you do find it.
I'd like to suggest embodying that in the system. Participants can put it in if they want to. It needs to be anonymous (to prevent brownie point hunting, see below). A way to see that, and only that, is a good idea. A wiki like approach is worth considering, but remember that some things in Wikipedia are a disaster.
That would give more experienced users a reason to come back more often. It would also save a lot of time.
Another group is the brownie point hunters. I'm not talking people who make a valuable contribution, who know their stuff, but rather those who obsessively go after whatever measure of success the forum has. Post count, Mojo, Kudos, Fame whatever it's called. They contribute even where they add nothing some even detract from the content. They want brownie points above all else. I haven't address that audience here, though their needs are worth considering.