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looking for best practices around Q&A vs Forums

i've got a really great Q&A site, but our users often want to have a longer-form, more conversational discussion about a given topic as well. these conversations aren't as well-suited for a stack exchange-type of site (especially as we're using it for support case deflection and don't want to muddy the search results with musings), but i'm worried that adding a forum into the mix will confuse some folks, and we'll have difficulty keeping the conversations in one place and the Q&A in another. 

 

has anyone done this successfully for a technical community?

 

some ideas i've had:

* having some kind of forum widget hanging off the side of each Q&A post might work....

* making it super easy to convert a forum post or comment to a Q&A post or vise-versa and leaving a link in place to allow us to 'clean up' the content more effectively after the fact

 

thoughts? recommendations? horror stories? 

 

 

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Occasional Advisor
Occasional Advisor

Re: looking for best practices around Q&A vs Forums

Hi, piebob,

 

Some ideas around this

  • I've seen some Lithium customers using a widget hanging on the side that enables users to quickly create a forum post, so that might be one option
  • Q&A and Forums can successfully coexist - make it known to your users (e.g., via the announcement area or in the header of the Q&A section vs. the Forum section) which option they should use for what purpose.  Sticky posts might also do the trick.
  • Some users will not follow whatever rule(s) you set, but most will, so you should see the benefit of the forum and the Q&A module over time
  • Train your moderators to convert from one to the other, or to also follow up with users and hand-hold them, if they posted it wrong.

 

If you have Q's, just private message me and we can discuss further.

 

Cheers
Veit

 

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