0

As many of you know, communities such as DaniWeb thrive on a constant source of new blood into the community. Existing members lose interest, personal lives take over, and even the most dedicated of members tend to stick around for a limited amount of time. The hard part is welcoming the newbies and turning them into long-lasting members, at least as fast as existing regular members drift off. Otherwise, the community dies for good.

What could we be doing better to encourage newbies to return and not be one hit wonders after their first or second post? It's a very serious concern right now to ensure the future of DaniWeb.

16
Contributors
109
Replies
124
Views
5 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by pyTony
Featured Replies
  • 2

    I would recommend that moderators get more involved with thier members, not only in answering questions, but also in the voting and commenting process. In addition, for those questions that have clearly been answered, they should be marked as answered if the original poster has abandoned the thread. This type … Read More

  • 2

    That was a serious question given that it came from left field and struck me as the ravings of a belligerent drunk, but I apologize if you were offended. Since we're asking for apologies in name calling I'd ask you to apologize to Vernon for calling him an idiot, but … Read More

  • 1

    I am very happy about comments made by mod/admins and Dani on this thread. LastMitch is expreciencing quite strongly about response to his threads. I do not know if he can be counted as newbie as he likes to be called IT profesional. That he shows of course by the … Read More

  • 1
    Dani 1,638   5 Years Ago

    > Welcoming new members - big splashy email. We already send out "We Miss You" emails to members who haven't visited us in awhile. > How about a return to badges and promo stuff for new members to place on their own sites? There's a link to the Member Badges … Read More

  • 1

    > I'm curious, will I always have to type in an answer to a questions just to post or is this a noob action that I must do until I hit a certain number of posts? It's an anti-spam measure. It'll go away quickly as the requirements are very lax: … Read More

0

The only way of making newbies, and everyone else, feel welcome is to maintain a genuine community spirit within every forum and every post.

Members have to engage with the community, and for that to happen we have to engage them; in conversation, with interesting threads, with friendly responses, with the help they seek. As soon as any member feels like they are being patronised, their questions an inconvenience to us or their lack of familiarity with forum posting convention a criminal offence - that's when they feel like an outsider, and that's when they drift away.

I guess what I am saying here is that we as a community, as an holistic entity, have to genuinely want new members in order to be able to genuinely welcome them. If any forum becomes something of an old boys club where the 'regulars' rule the roost and dictate who can speak and when, that community requirement to 'openly embrace all' simply vanishes into the ether.

In the words of Bill and Ted: "be excellent to each other, and party on dudes"

0

But I guess my question is, as administrators, members, and advocates, what specifically can we physically do to to foster such a great sense to community?

0

I think there must be certain part of newbies that we can not change from one google wonders. I think we need certain number of atypical oldies who do not stop learning and maybe somebody else could take my path to learn by "when you do not know you teach" but what is left out of this saying/joke is that after teaching it (and really running in front of students is honored tradition in our field) you do know and well, even you can continue teaching even you do know.

2

I would recommend that moderators get more involved with thier members, not only in answering questions, but also in the voting and commenting process. In addition, for those questions that have clearly been answered, they should be marked as answered if the original poster has abandoned the thread.

This type of feedback helps other newbie members determine if the answers have been posted are valid and correct. If moderators reinforce this, then from a newbie's perspective, they will be more confident that the information they find on this site is accurate and correct, and will identify with this site as a place to keep coming back over and over again for expert help.

Votes + Comments
Agreed
0

I would recommend that moderators get more involved with thier members, not only in answering questions, but also in the voting and commenting process.

I'd be shocked if most or all of the moderators didn't already participate heavily in this way. One of the reasons mods attracted attention for becoming mods is being highly active members.

In addition, for those questions that have clearly been answered, they should be marked as answered if the original poster has abandoned the thread.

This is also already done to the best of our ability. Sometimes it's not obvious that the thread has been solved though.

0

I think this is one of the better forum sites on the net. The reason why I stayed as an active member is because I am impressed with the overall management of the site and the constant attention to detail. However, I do participate heavily in other forums as well as time permits. While this site does have a tight moderator/admin community, I don't see most threads coming to a close with a definate resolvable answer in many cases, or someone with "weight/reputation" in the community pointing out that yes, that is the correct answer.

From someone with limited knowledge about the subject they are investigating coming across a thread...I am not certain that they walk away with a sense that the information presented is accurate and correct. I could be completely wrong and way off, but it's just my observation.

0

I would recommend that moderators get more involved with their members, not only in answering questions, but also in the voting and commenting process.

I totally agree. I think, also, that it's important to be on the look-out for fairly new members that give good answers and encourage that with up-vote-comments.

Also, sometimes, like others I'm sure, I tend to forget to give encouragements in addition to answers. Many newbies are young / learning, and in that spirit, it's important not to forget the little encouraging words, like saying: "This code looks good! Keep it up! But if you want to improve it you can ..." as opposed to just "You need to do this ..". Personally, I think I did a bit too much of that in the beginning and got PMed all the time for private help. But now my posts have swong a bit the other way lately. I'll definitely try to bring back some of that "uber-optimistic teacher" attitude.

I also think there isn't enough up-voting on the OP, when it is a good question.

But I guess my question is, as administrators, members, and advocates, what specifically can we physically do to to foster such a great sense to community?

What do you mean by "physically do"? I mean, this is a discussion forum, the principal activity is discussion. So far, people suggested solutions / improvements on the way to discuss, what to discuss, what attitude to have, and how to encourage more discussion. I think it is to the point. I could "physically do" push-ups in my living room, but that won't do any good.

0

It just a suggestion.

Weekly Contest will be good. ($10 gift card (Mcdonald or Starbuck or itunes or best buy) per week)

Monthly Contest will be good ($15 gift card (Mcdonald or Starbuck or itunes or best buy) per month)

Quarterly Contest will be good (like what you are offering now)

The top 5 Moderators should get $20 gift card for each month, incentive for all their hard work.

The top 10 Member should get $10 gift card for incentive for 2 month for good behavior.

All gift cards are taxable!

Members (Volunteers) are generally treated the same as employees when it comes to compensation, gifts, awards and reimbursement for expenses.

You add up all together you get this:

Weekly Contest = $520

Monthly Contest = $180

Quarterly Contest will be good (like what you are offering now not including here)

The top 5 Moderators = $1200

The top 10 Member = $600

Total = $2500 per year

I would recommend that moderators get more involved with thier members, not only in answering questions, but also in the voting and commenting process.

It's a bit hard because it's a forum. I think everyone here is an adult unless the newbie is a kid that needs someone to nurture them then that will be OK.

You don't have a product or something that can offer to members or future members. So it's very hard to invited new people to do that.

You're motto for DaniWeb is always been Education. That's why people come and go. I been on your site for 5 or 6 years as a non-member that's why I'm one of those people that come and go! This year I sign up. But now I feel you want to change that approached. You have to create a product or an idea that fits well with DaniWeb.

Online tutor service using skype.

Headhunters (Not to be confuse with the Norwegian movie which I saw online and it was funny)
Cold calling companies for your service

Create a database base on Linkedin

Create a freelance service

All of these things I mention aboe doesn't cost much to do or create.

You have all of the resource here at DaniWeb!

0

Hey guys,

Thanks so much for your feedback. It's all really valuable to creating a better and long prospering DaniWeb :)

When I asked what could physically be done, I meant exactly what you guys responded with. We know what the problem is ... members aren't feeling welcome and encouraged. Now, what can we do TO encourage them.

I especially like Mike's ideas to give positive reinforcement to newbies, and upvote OPs. The idea that there might be a problem with regards to solved threads and members understanding who to trust is also an interesting one. Is it something that simply requires a change on the part of the members or a system functionality change?

Moderators have always been extraordinarily valued here at DaniWeb. Historically, I've always spent quite a significant amount of money to buy toys (iTouch, Dell Netbook, etc) for moderators around the holidays. Unfortunately, we haven't done this the past two years because we ran into tough times since Google Panda. But I hope to again be able to do this for everyone who so generously donates their time.

0

Hi Dani--

The idea that there might be a problem with regards to solved threads and members understanding who to trust is also an interesting one. Is it something that simply requires a change on the part of the members or a system functionality change?

Possibly adding the ability for the OP or a moderator to actually mark a specific response as the accepted/best answer when the overall thread is marked as answered, may be good for visitors to figure out what is the correct answer within the thread. Not all OPs provide enough feedback at the end to indicate what they did, or what information was used to consider their question answered.

I think your voting system is good, you track the number of points, but I do not see much with regard to the activity points. Maybe you can integrate those points into an overall reputation score, or change the way repuation is calculated by considering membership age, accepted answers, votes, activity, etc...

0

I'm not sure the OP is the best one to determine the best / accepted answer, particularly since quite often they are newbies and therefore could get bad advice that "solved" the problem, be grateful for it, and hence upvote a bad post thinking it was good. Only someone more experienced would spot that, but the OP has marked it solved so everyone else simply ignores it. In the narrow parameters of the original thread question, it's been solved, but we don't get the non-newbies getting involved in a back and forth in response to some issue raised that perhaps wasn't in the original question like they do at Stack Overflow, so marking things solved can leave bad advice as the "accepted answer" for eternity. Moderators might be better, but they're busy enough as it is. I doubt they'd want to go through every thread and determine what the best answer is.

0

I actually designed our Solved Threads system to specifically not have a specific "answer" to the thread. Firstly, unlike Stack Overflow, we openly welcome discussions and not just Q&A. An open-ended "discussion" can be marked solved by the OP if they got a sequence of responses to their satisfaction. In addition, because we're a DISCUSSION COMMUNITY, sometimes there is back-and-forth discussion amongst members in a thread which results in its answer ... in such a case, there's not always a clear-cut single post that single-handidly solved the question, and yet still the thread is solved.

When a thread is marked solved, all posts (except for those posted by the OP) up to that point are given +1 solved to their stats.

Activity points are just that ... meant to simply count the amount of activity (aka time that you spend interacting) with DaniWeb. They aren't meant to be a reflection of your knowledge or lack thereof.

One of the things I reallllllly would like to see are more experienced, intelligent questions being asked, instead of just newbie questions being posted. For this to happen, all of the regulars and moderators need to ask genuine questions when THEY'RE stumped. This would turn us truly into a members-helping-members community (which was always my goal for DaniWeb) as opposed to a members-helping-often-ungrateful-newbies community (which leads to faster member burnout, a faster member turnover, and more work to keep the community alive by constantly bringing in new blood).

In my opinion, the only way to create a true members-helping-members community is for the members with super high post counts to ask questions ... and let the rest of the community be there for them. As it stands right now, experienced programmers will only actively participate in DaniWeb if they want to spend all their time helping newbies. If the existing members created challenging, thought-provoking questions, new experts would be encouraged to respond to them. Then, we'd ultimately be the go-to place for advanced questions, for expert-to-expert discussions and solutions.

1

Just who is Daniweb trying to attract precisely? Everybody? That's perfectly fine. However, purportedly this is a community of "IT Professionals". As a community, that's a pretty mature group. Presumably the vast majority of IT professionals are at least in their 20's and, while they may be newbies at a particular language, they are not newbies as far as being expected to research before posting, to read the rules, to not use leet-speak, and most importantly, they have some wisdom about how people operate that, say, college freshmen taking their first programming class do not, and therefore don't get too wound up if someone chides them, even over-harshly, about some transgression. They understand that they're asking for and getting free help so they'd better show some effort. The veteran posters with the knowledge to answer the questions are from this group. The questioner askers on Daniweb, as a whole, are not IT professionals. You quite simply will not last as an IT professional or programmer if you're overly sensitive about someone chiding you over a transgression. Get over it and do better next time.

Being welcoming is one thing, but sometimes things go too far. I've lost count of the number of threads talking about how to FORCE people to read the rules. Inevitably someone gets worried about fewer people joining, so the quality bar is lowered for people who can't be bothered to read the rules. These are precisely the folks that true IT professionals (or professionals of any kind) would want nothing to do with in real life, so is it really a problem if they decide not to join or post? Bending over backwards to accomodate the riff-raff is going to drive away the non-riff-raff. There's a high correlation between such folks and the "often ungrateful newbies". If they post something silly and someone tells them "RTFM" and they get upset and leave in a huff, good riddance.

None of this is to suggest that college freshmen should not be welcomed or that it's OK to be rude or that you need to flay people alive for screwing up or that you should not give them encouragement.

Edited by VernonDozier

0

As it stands right now, experienced programmers will only actively participate in DaniWeb if they want to spend all their time helping newbies.

Because the experienced programmers will typically have a host of favored ways to solve their own problems where asking for help on a forum is very low on the list. Case in point, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seriously sought help on a forum for something that had me stumped.

I do see a few more advanced questions, but you're right that they're overwhelmed by the beginner stuff. However, I disagree that we don't currently have a members-helping-members community because the beginner threads often have advanced tangents. Nothing is more instructive for two experts than getting into a debate about some topic, and a lot of good information gets churned out of such threads.

0

I agree that having a members-helping-members community is hard for the reasons deceptikon mentioned. If I have a language-technical problem, I first refer to the language's standard specification document. If that doesn't solve it, I google for it, using the proper terminology, and I usually find my answer pretty quickly, and that's the end of it. If I have a design or algorithmic problem, I refer to CS literature and usually find good ideas to work with.

But it's funny that you mention this problem of senior members not asking enough thought-provoking questions, because I just did, resulting in a nice discussion so far, see this thread.

I also agree with deceptikon about "advanced tangents" (and we've had a few of those). These are nice discussions, but the format of Daniweb sometimes makes you (the expert) feel guilty about taking over a beginner's thread with a discussion / debate about an advanced topic that probably doesn't concern the OP at all (or at least, not yet). Maybe there could be a way to specifically allow for advanced tangents without monopolizing the thread, like a forking of the thread or something like that.

0

If that doesn't solve it, I google for it, using the proper terminology, and I usually find my answer pretty quickly, and that's the end of it.

Do you tend to find your answers from Google on other communities or message boards, by any chance? :)

0

Do you tend to find your answers from Google on other communities or message boards, by any chance? :)

It depends. For language-technical problems (e.g., "what is the linkage specification of a friend function of a class template?"), I tend to find answers on reference sites, in particular for C++, cplusplus.com, cppreference.com, msdn, IBM reference pages, etc. Once in a while, I find a helpful SO thread, or other C++ specific message boards. Very often, I look for answers on topics that I'm less familiar with (e.g., other prog. languages, reference information on external libraries, build system scripts, LaTeX commands, and so on), and then I do end up more often on specific message boards and on the reference wikis of the specific library or tool. Sometimes, (but rarely, I'm afraid to say,) I do end up on a Daniweb thread that answers the question. And then, the third kind of technical google searches that I might do are more on a theoretical level (algorithms, data structures, design patterns, etc.. CS stuff), in which case, the only sources for good answers are articles from peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, it is extremely rare to find answers to these questions on forums or message boards, and it is hard to trust or use any non-peer-reviewed stuff (if I find a good website talking about the given problem, I usually skim over to the end to follow the references cited, and if none appear, I move on, unless the site presents empirical test results, which is always useful information).

0

I learned PHP and MySQL entirely off of forums ;) Typically if I'm stuck on something, I'll google it, and most of what will come up are forum results.

0

From a "growing the business" point of view, trying to be all things to all people makes sense but realistically it may be difficult to achieve. Thus, "being more welcoming to newbies" while having "more experienced, intelligent questions being asked" would try to tackle both ends of the spectrum. The first may be more achievable than the latter. You could have forums / sticky threads that are a lot more focused (e.g. a "Help with homework" or “experts exchange”) and that might help but keeping people around means that they need to get continuing value from the forums. I think that the Q&A format encourages the one-shot use. Once the question is answered (or not) the poster is gone until the next question (or maybe forever). It is probably a relatively small % who keep coming back to read the latest questions and answers.

I used to spend quite a bit of time on Daniweb reading posts and answering questions. I now find it pretty repetitive and my daily dose of Daniweb has become a quick look at a few of the forums and I'm out again. I find that the new format with the same thread showing up in multiple forums makes it even more repetitive and thus, less appealing. I agree with Deceptikon that experienced people are usually more self-reliant and don't use forums to get answers very often. The experienced ones who join / stick around are answering questions or they may be quietly reading the latest threads for whatever educational value they can get from them. Putting increased focus on additional features such as tutorials or a sample code forum / repository could provide additional reasons to come back to Daniweb on a more regular basis. I know that there may be a challenge getting the content but there are quite a few experienced people on the forums that could potentially contribute.

0

Hi chrishea,

Thank you for your feedback :)

I find that the new format with the same thread showing up in multiple forums makes it even more repetitive and thus, less appealing.

What do you mean by this? We've been using the same format for a few years?

I agree with Deceptikon that experienced people are usually more self-reliant and don't use forums to get answers very often.

Except for people like me, because I learned most of what I know from forums :)

Putting increased focus on additional features such as tutorials or a sample code forum / repository could provide additional reasons to come back to Daniweb on a more regular basis.

We recently started doing that with our code contests, and it's a priority to ramp up editorial, so slowly and steadily we're headed in that direction.

0

@ Dani

One of the things I reallllllly would like to see are more experienced, intelligent questions being asked, instead of just newbie questions being posted. For this to happen, all of the regulars and moderators need to ask genuine questions when THEY'RE stumped. This would turn us truly into a members-helping-members community (which was always my goal for DaniWeb) as opposed to a members-helping-often-ungrateful-newbies community (which leads to faster member burnout, a faster member turnover, and more work to keep the community alive by constantly bringing in new blood).

You’re an idealist. I can’t believe you have been doing this for 10 years and still keep your conviction. You really want this to work. If Daniweb actually company, a non-profit one then you can get funding from the government plus donation plus keep beliefs that education is freewill will be hard because you have bills, rent plus books, people willingly to do that one on one tutor or members-helping-members in person.

Instead you used the internet as a tool to make this happened even though it’s not non-profit but profit.

Daniweb right now is members-helping-members community! You manage to pull this off for 10 years. If this is actually company start doing this, it won’t last even 1 month because of the things I mention above. Daniweb **is open and active **365 days a year and 24 hours a day.

I think don’t want to upset you but you dream a lot plus you’re a bit wishy-washy I guess you have too many ideas.

In my opinion, the only way to create a true members-helping-members community is for the members with super high post counts to ask questions ... and let the rest of the community be there for them.

This is a perfect example why you think that way. You have to create an incentive for that to work for members & members with super high post counts can’t just post something that they wrote and let people figure it out. I mean members with super high post counts do have a life outside Daniweb. Its credit and recognition means a lot for member how has high post counts with a lot of experience in their fields. I don’t have high post counts but I do have a life too.

Edited by LastMitch: grammer

1

@VernonDozier

Just who is Daniweb trying to attract precisely? Everybody? That's perfectly fine. However, purportedly this is a community of "IT Professionals". As a community, that's a pretty mature group. Presumably the vast majority of IT professionals are at least in their 20's and, while they may be newbies at a particular language, they are not newbies as far as being expected to research before posting, to read the rules, to not use leet-speak, and most importantly, they have some wisdom about how people operate that, say, college freshmen taking their first programming class do not, and therefore don't get too wound up if someone chides them, even over-harshly, about some transgression. They understand that they're asking for and getting free help so they'd better show some effort. The veteran posters with the knowledge to answer the questions are from this group. The questioner askers on Daniweb, as a whole, are not IT professionals. You quite simply will not last as an IT professional or programmer if you're overly sensitive about someone chiding you over a transgression. Get over it and do better next time.

I found it an offensive that you think the presumably vast of majority of IT professional are in the 20’s? I’m in my 30’s and FYI … I have a BT degree in programmer and I am working as an IT professional. You’re an idiot for thinking that questioner askers on Daniweb, as a whole, are not IT professionals. I post questions on Daniweb to learn something. Plus how do you so sure that most of the members are not IT professionals, I think you forgot that the WHOLE world have access to the internet and maybe sometime there will be some language barrier. Did you read what Dani wanted closely and also think that it’s 10 years now! OK, you are naïve, wake up and grow up.

Edited by LastMitch: grammer

0

@ deceptikon

However, I disagree that we don't currently have a members-helping-members community because the beginner threads often have advanced tangents. Nothing is more instructive for two experts than getting into a debate about some topic, and alot of good information gets churned out of such threads.

You also didn’t read what Dani wrote closely and also think that its 10 years now plus you are Administrator you are an embarrassment for all men kind what you just mention is non-sense.

0

@ mike_2000_17

I agree that having a members-helping-members community is hard for the reasons deceptikon mentioned.

You also didn’t read what Dani wrote plus you are Moderator you are an embarrassment too

0

@ chrishea

From a "growing the business" point of view, trying to be all things to all people makes sense but realistically it may be difficult to achieve.

What you mention fits right with Dani’s goal plus she is resilience she’s trying to do that for 10 years and Daniweb is consist a successful business. Keeping Education freewill and still manage to keep her conviction. Is pretty good in anyone book.

You should be a promoted to Administrator & Moderator

0

@VernonDozier
@ deceptikon
@ mike_2000_17
@ chrishea

1) Without the members coming and going Daniweb won’t able to last this long.
2) All of you won’t have that much posts, reputation posts, solve threads.
3) Sometime in real life there’s consequence if things are not said in a correct matter.

I mean in person if you work for me I will fired

@VernonDozier
@ deceptikon
@ mike_2000_17

But not @ chrishea because he knows what’s gonna on and trying to contribute.

0

@LastMitch:

Sometime in real life there’s consequence if things are not said in a correct matter.

Oh.. the irony is delightful.

I mean in person if you work for me I will fired

I'd quit before you have time to fire me. That is, if you could afford me in the first place.

You should wake up and smell what you're shoveling, and who you're throwing it at. I don't have to take this.

BTW, if you took more than 1 minute to write your posts, you might manage to put one coherent sentence together. And not ruin a perfectly nice thread in which people are discussing various ideas (whether you like them or not, or whether Dani is gonna use them or not). Learn to communicate your point of view clearly, coherently, and without pissing over everybody else.

0

@ JorgeM

You're like a attention seeker troubling personality.

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.