Forum Moderation Best Practices Part 6 – Let your Vote be Heard! (I wonder what it's saying.)

Published Oct 09 2019 10:18 AM 685 Views
First published on MSDN on Mar 23, 2017
Forum Ninjas Blog
Hello! This post continues the conversation in this series of blog posts:

We’ve been digging into one article in particular, where we (Microsoft TechNet/MSDN forum owners) hammered out some hard guidelines:

Yes, part 6 of this series covers guideline #8. The numbers don't match up. Why? Well, some of the guidelines made sense bunched together as one post. But not today's guideline! Today's guideline gets its own blog post!
Let's look at Guideline #8:
8. Use the Vote As Helpful button whenever any post is helpful. It makes a much more positive, kind, and giving environment. Plus everyone in that environment gets more Recognition Points (5 points with each vote), and so more people then want to be part of that environment (so it helps you grow and care for your community).

So, I've been saying (more like writing) that these were hard guidelines that we came up with. You might be wondering, "What's so hard about that? Seems a little fluffy and soft."
Well, that one is a little softer. But, in contrast,  take a look at the article here . Before the guidelines, it was just the top part. And even then, we added in the stuff about why answering questions is important. So, compared to that fluffy bit of cloud, this is rock solid. =^)

And... what is this guideline telling us? Well, about three-four years back-ish, the MSDN/TechNet team wanted to tackle the forums in a redesign and make them more like Stack Overflow. It got a cosmetic makeover, a lot of missing features (long story; many of them were rebuilt), and the voting option took more prominence (which is the primary method used by Stack Overflow; they still have marked answers, but only the OP can mark them, you can't search on them, and it just takes the answers/replies stat and makes it green... so definitely not the focus).
For the system that is MSDN/TechNet Forums, the marked answers have more prominence. That mentioned, when the forums were redesigned, the prominence of voting went way up (but you can't down-vote; only positive voting).
Ultimately, whether you wrestle with which should be the focus (voting or marking answers), we think it would be beneficial to give voting its best shot. They still get 5 points per vote they receive (the OP asking the question, the person answering the question, or the person replying to clarify an answer).
This practice invites more people to participate, and a lot of times someone might give a great answer for the specific scenario that the OP started with. It just might not be the OP's solution they needed (usually it means the OP didn't give enough info, and so it was a shot in the dark). But if the OP asked the original question on a high level, then that answer might be incredibly helpful for people searching for the high level problem and solution.
Therefore, you might want to give the person who took a shot at it a vote. It's like a tip, but instead of costing you $10, it costs you 1.5 seconds. =^)

May the Forums be with you. (Join in and don’t be a rogue one.)

  • Jedi Ed

PS: How many Alderaanians does it take to change a light bulb? None. They were all destroyed by the Death Star.

This post is part of a conversation in this series of blog posts:
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