Monday Feb 09, 2009

Four Million Messages on Sun Forums!

A notable milestone for Sun Forums was reached today in the form of seeing it's four millionth post.

I've been lucky enough to be a part of the team the last few years and as a result have engaged directly with the community -- it's been an invaluable education in the community space. If you're looking for a lesson in community dynamics, community policy building, community moderation, or just want to learn to be an effective community contributor, I recommend you find a forum that interests you and engage. You'll find the experience and the rewards are different from any other community site. For example, forums conversations are faster-flowing than blogs, yet more focused and organized than super fast flowing micro-blogging sites like Twitter.

In terms of annual page views and visits, Sun Forums is by far Sun busiest community site. To offer context, here's a quick glimpse of traffic for Sun forums, blogs, wikis for 2008:


 Views  Visits  Site Age
 Wikis  4.6M  1.3M  <2 yrs
 Blogs  21.8M  12.2M  <5 yrs
 Forums  66.4M  36.0M  <8 yrs






That's a lot of communication going on! If you are a Sun employee, chances are the project you are working on has a forum dedicated solely to that topic -- an excellent opportunity for you to engage with the folks who share that commonality. Let us know if you're interested in becoming a Sun Moderator of a particular forum or if you'd like to nurture a forum on a new topic.

I also want to give a shout-out to the Sun Forums Lead Engineer, who has been committed to the site since day one, always has a positive disposition and a "can do" attitude...Congrats & a million thanks Ramsci! :-D

Thursday May 22, 2008

In the "duh, why didn't I ask that?" category...

One of the sites that I program manage, Sun Forums, is one of the most widely used of all Sun community sites (more than 800k users who have posted nearly 4 million messages).

While the site has served as a useful communication conduit, it's had plenty of struggles -- many around community management. To help mend some fences, the core team created a "News and Updates Forum" where any of the users have direct access to the core team. Via the forum, we've taken some rightful beatings, but it's proven to be a place where we can gather amazingly rich, well thought out suggestions from our power users and a few new users -- a place where we fully open our ears, pull up our sleeves and DO SOMETHING with the feedback. We're a very small team, but we're making progress and are committed to continue to do so.

One of the downsides to the News and Updates forum is a large volume of off-topic posts. The team of users and forums core team members have implemented a few tweaks and processes to help redirect off-topic posters to a more appropriate forum. These changes have helped, but the off-topic posts continue (a few per day).

Today, one of our power users posted the following in response to an off-topic poster:
"Could you explain how you came to post your query in this topic? For some reason people keep doing this. It's a fairly obscure topic name and section, so there's a bug (real or usability related) that causes people to do this. This thread will be deleted in a minute, but if you could explain how it got here first that might be helpful."

Gee, why didn't I think to ask that? Excellent Question, Dave! :-)
About

Sr. Community Engineering Program Manager/Acting Director for Sun's external social networking sites (blogs, forums, wikis, etc.). Skrocki's personal blog, LinkedIn.

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