Why Tech Q&A is broken...

The TR Community team spent an hour today hashing out some current

thinking on the momentous Tech Q&A revamp, and it was one of the

most frustrating hours of my life. The people in the room are smart,

passionate, and want to get this right, but we keep butting our heads

up against one central problem:

Users don't close and rate Tech Q&A questions, and we can't effectively force them to.

All the usability, bells and whistles, differentiataion from

discussions, all of that we've got a handle on. We can make Tech

Q&A cleaner, simpler, richer, easier to use, different from a

forum, superior in every way, but we can't force users to act properly.

We can't force them to follow up.

Any incentive to closing a question is a way to game the system. Every

penalty is simply another reason for users to dump a "tainted" identity

and start a new one, killing all the persistent data and

personalization we're trying to track and deliver.

This is the nut we have to crack. Until we do, there won't be any drastic increase in the value of Tech Q&A.

By Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...