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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Does Your Product Have a Forum?

A typical scenario: you have your top-notch application used by greatest users under the sun, but somehow they still have problems with the software. To limit your effort with answering all those inquiries you try to build a place where some experienced users would help others or at least your answers would be accessible by anybody, not just a person who asked the question.

You start a forum for your product.

Great. The real question appears after several months:

Is your forum still alive?

Recently I was advised to take a deeper look at an application (mercifully I won’t give here the name). I opened the webpage went through product description and found official product forum. I thought I’d learn what users thought about the app. Unfortunately the last post was half-year old.

Sorry. That doesn’t work. You could put there a big “Abandoned” banner with exactly the same effect. The forum is dead. And what you do when something is dead? You bury it. You don’t keep the stiff in your living room where everybody can see him.

If your forum isn’t alive just close it. The effect of ghost forum is opposite to what you’d expect. And think twice before starting a forum for the product. Do you have enough users to make it a crowded place? Do your users care enough to help you to keep a momentum? If not the chances are good you’ll be closing it soon.

The rule by the way doesn’t apply to product forums only.

in: software business, user experience

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