This community building post is about responding to questions.
Communities thrive on information and interactions. As a community manager, there are multiple ways you can help build the foundation of a strong community, including building clear documentation, holding technical events (mostly virtual these days), and closing threads after the full solution is provided.
Responding to Questions
A key component is responding to questions. Spending time to understand issues, to test and confirm results as often as possible, and to give opinions on which path is most likely to get good results. Sometimes saying clearly that they’re pursing a dead end is the most helpful response.
But if you have a busy community, which questions do you prioritize? This is community best practices: You don’t.
You can’t know who the most important people are. There is no good way to efficiently identify them. Community members often use a gmail address, not their corporate address. They rarely explain their full job-related project in the beginning. If the community manager is assessing importance – doing some sort of triage – based on title and company, you’ll miss the important contributors. That is too simple of a filter.
At the theta360.guide, we recently interacted with a major global aerospace and defense company. They were using the RICOH THETA to prototype working with Windows controlling a THETA over a USB cable in a robotics project. But their first questions, anonymized with a personal email address, was asking simple questions like which SDK to use. A surface level assessment would probably miss this as an important interaction. But by taking all questions seriously, and doing our best to reach out to all developers, the questions got more and more detailed, and the technical details of the project became more clear.
Best practices for community development is to answer all the questions.
For more community best practices, see Community Building – Rewarding Good Contributions
The theta360.guide community for RICOH THETA developers is available here.