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Professionals and Businesses "Help Needed" Forum or Thread


DonRocks
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I just received this very legitimate question:

Hey Don, any room in the professionals and businesses forum for questions (e.g., "can someone recommend a great xxx?")

and I'm left without an obvious answer. On the one hand, I started this forum to actually <drum roll ... wait for it ... wait for it ...> HELP people! And yet, I'm pretty much requiring all initial posts to be 100 words, all follow-ups to be 50 which makes the forum uber-substantive - and honestly, from a web-hosting, start-up business perspective, distinguishes it from everything else like it on the internet. And also, it will be very important for the businesses themselves, but not very good for "Help! I'm Stuck On the X And Need a Y!" situations that call for three-word, "Go to Z!" answers.

So what do I do? I don't want to dilute my own ideas, but I want to help our members. As it stands, I've had to bribe everyone to post in there with my own Groupons, but don't you all see how GOOD the content of that forum is, even with its small population? I've used it myself twice, and have been delighted beyond recognition with what I've found. I don't want to dumb it down with sheer volume. I'm certain I'm right about this (now, to find a cocksucking, motherfucking venture capitalist with half a cocksucking, motherfucking brain who agrees with me - maybe I should take the initiative and actually look instead of waiting for them to find me?)

Please consider this the first "Help Needed" type question. :)

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It seems that right now, it's broken into two elements:

1.) An index of professionals, categorized by region & then service provided.

2.) One post per service on the main board, consisting of recommendations, most with 0 or 1 reply (also endorsements). This is ordered only by date of post.

I agree completely that any attempt to marry either of those with a flood of general inquiry would result in a lot of useful information being lost in the sauce (so to speak), but perhaps there's room for a subforum along the lines of "Seeking Assistance".

Posts there could be relegated to those looking for advice, especially where the precise type of contact may not even be known. For example, while everyone knows that a toothache usually means a visit to the dentist, someone may have a complex structural issue with a building, and need a starting point for troubleshooting and recommendations.

Just my 2 copper.

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It seems that right now, it's broken into two elements:

1.) An index of professionals, categorized by region & then service provided.

2.) One post per service on the main board, consisting of recommendations, most with 0 or 1 reply (also endorsements). This is ordered only by date of post.

I agree completely that any attempt to marry either of those with a flood of general inquiry would result in a lot of useful information being lost in the sauce (so to speak), but perhaps there's room for a subforum along the lines of "Seeking Assistance".

Posts there could be relegated to those looking for advice, especially where the precise type of contact may not even be known. For example, while everyone knows that a toothache usually means a visit to the dentist, someone may have a complex structural issue with a building, and need a starting point for troubleshooting and recommendations.

Just my 2 copper.

Your 2 copper is worth a lot of coin, at least to me. It's people (like you) who speak up that move, shake, and move me to make.

I think it's a given that there will be a Help Needed forum (either a forum, or a subforum) in the Professionals and Businesses section - the trick is to judge whether it should be a subforum, or to make it a co-forum underneath. And it's not as simple as that because other forums (such as Restaurants and Dining (which has one), Shopping and Cooking (which has a Kitchen 911 thread that could be made into a Help Needed forum) and New York Restaurants and Dining) could each justify having one, and I need to come up with a uniform look because people hate change and they hate inconsistent websites.

As I'm typing, I think I just might have, but it's going to change the look of things a little bit - what we don't want is Help Needed plastered all over the main page; yet I know from experience that subforums are largely ignored.

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First, thank you. I appreciate you saying that.

I think that subforums are usually ignored because, on many boards, they're initially created to filter a given subject matter into its own area, but the topic ends up being too specific to generate content of comparable volume to the main board. Then, when people continually see "last posts" from several days back, it ends up being a place visitors check less often, and it becomes a self-perpetuating ghost town scenario.

I also apologize if I am muddying the waters by misusing sub & co-forum terminology.

I feel that with the indexes being listed on the main page for those forums which possess them (e.g. Shopping and Cooking & the Shopping and Cooking Index), it wouldn't crowd too much to place something like General Advice directly below that. That way, there's the forum itself for testimonials & reviews, and subforums for the index and the help needed/general advice, while avoiding the "help needed" look specifically.

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