Topic: Our Forum

Abandoning Our Askers

Posted by Shelley Ryan on 1062 Points
Hi, everyone!

We all know that newcomers to KHE often post their dilemmas here, but never respond to the questions you generous Experts ask them. C'est la vie.

As I go through stale questions awarding points and closing them, though, now and then I see that an Asker DID respond with the requested info... but no one bothered to follow through. An example:

I'm hoping that those of you who participate in these types of questions will check the box to receive an email alert when there is new activity on a post. If you are concerned about getting an avalanche of KHE notices, perhaps you can set up some inbox rules to route those messages into a special folder.

I'm also re-evaluating how I award points for abandoned questions. If you'd like to share your thoughts on that, I'm listening!

Love you all!

To continue reading this question and the solution, sign up ... it's free!


  • Posted by Mike Steffes on Accepted
    I've found that if an Asker can't get back to the question within a day, or at most two, it becomes tough for me as a volunteer to work up the creative effort it takes to come up with something exciting.

    I've often wondered about the "awarding points for abandoned questions" issue. Is it enough to simply ask one or more standard questions that almost no Askers include in their posts? Is it enough to take one or more almost random stabs at the ill-defined target (possibly hoping the Asker comes back with comments)? Require both? Do we need better Askers?

    I am only half kidding about the better Askers notion. Maybe a slightly formatted initial question form. Prompts for a few things like name of business, location, market, ?. Required fields?

    I sure can't think of any easy answers.
    Thanks for the opportunity to say something, though.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    One of the things I like about KHE is that I can tailor my participation to (a) my current workload, and (b) my interest in the questions being asked.

    Sometimes I see a question that looks interesting but doesn't give us enough information, so I ask a few questions to give us more to work with and to get the asker thinking about the implications. Then I get busy with current projects (that pay the bills) and I don't follow-up. I don't need to feel guilty because I believe I've made a contribution (by asking the right questions).

    And sometimes it seems like the asker doesn't really want to hear what we have to say, so why bother? (They occasionally tell us they don't want to answer our questions, but need an answer to their question urgently. That just makes me angry, so I consciously ignore them at that point.)

    As for the points allocation, I don't think it matters much. We don't do this for the points (obviously). The current system is fine from my perspective. When you award points on abandoned questions at least you are rewarding (if you can call it that) those who read the question and responded. I don't see a need to have someone rate or assess the quality or helpfulness of the responses. That could reduce participation if people think their responses are being judged.

    My $0.02 worth.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    When I joined KHE and started answering questions, I did check the email notification box. But it soon overwhelmed my inbox, since I was being sent messages when someone responds to a question. In some cases, what I was waiting for was for the asker to answer my questions, not to see others' thoughts. So, I abandoned using the email notification facility. If there was a way to say "alert me if the asker responds to me", I would use the facility. In some cases, the askers have reached out to me directly for help, which I was glad to provide.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    I agree with all of the above.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    A few more thoughts: I circle back to questions I've answered on a regular basis. I often find the questioner hasn't followed up on points I've raised or on follow up questions I've asked so at that point, there's little else to do.
  • Posted by Shelley Ryan on Author
    Thanks, guys! Leaving this open until Friday in case anyone else wants to weigh in.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    I've updated my e-mail preferences to receive real time updates. I'll leave these settings as they are now until the end of March and then reassess from there. I'll circle back to questions I've answered and for which I've asked follow-up questions. When and where a questioner has followed up, I'll reciprocate.

    As things stand, and from my observations, there seem to be eight of us answering questions on a regular basis. To spice things up a little, could a request be sent to less active members in the top 25, asking them to chip in a little more often?
  • Posted by Shelley Ryan on Author
    Thanks, Gary! I hope you can set up a special KHE folder so your Inbox doesn't explode. :)

    I suspect the less active of our top 25 have moved on to bigger and better things. Or got burned out on all the tagline questions for pet sitters! I can ping some of them this week, even if it's just to weigh in on this thread.

    We might have better luck getting newer members to become more engaged. If y'all have noticed any specific people who seem to be contributing valuable responses, I could reach out to them when there's a light customer service workload day.
  • Posted on Member
    I call by when I have time or need to do a creative warm up at the start of the day. Sometimes I check back to see what other suggestions have been made but I prefer to make suggestions rather than just ask questions unless the question is really impossible (like the tagline for a generalist fashion store, or a nondescript commodity importer/exporter). I won't sign up to more emails (200+ a day already).

    I get bugged by the 'why does it need to be catchy?' response all the time. With a couple of lines description we can only guess and hope to inspire. So if you ask the 'why catchy' question, also suggest something to help stimulate the next thought. If an expert just asks a question, but doesn't make a suggestion or idea then, for me, that's a non-answer. By all means ask, but you need to follow up with a suggestion to merit the points.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator

    I worry that giving suggestions when we don't fully understand the situation could actually send someone in the wrong direction and communicate that we are not really Marketing Professionals. A lot of folks don't respect Marketing as a bona fide profession, and they offer marketing ideas based solely on a personal desire to "be creative."

    I think part of our job is to teach folks what Marketing is all about, and perhaps to change that unfortunate image. Asking questions is a gentle way to impart that lesson and let the asker know they have more homework to do if they expect a useful response.
  • Posted on Accepted
    By all means ask questions, but make suggestions too. Most people here asking are looking for ideas. We don't see their business plans or other work they are doing on their project; we don't check their background research or tell them how to test and validate, or see what level of funding or investment they're planning. They're asking us to be creative because they see marketing as creative inspiring profession. With the little we have to go on, making suggestions and prompting with ideas is a more helpful approach to stimulate thinking than just filling the answers with the same template questions all the time - particularly if there is then no response to their replies.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    "... they see marketing as creative inspiring profession ..."

    I guess Marketing does include some creativity, but it also includes a heavy dose of sound and analytical/rational strategic thinking. I'm always inclined to get the strategy right before I start "being creative." Maybe that's just me.

    I understand your point, though, Saul, and I will try to be more sensitive to offering a "creative solution" when there's enough information for that approach to make sense (for me). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
  • Posted by Shelley Ryan on Author
    Guys, I appreciate all of your input. I'll continue handling stale questions as before: awarding points to anyone who participated.

    Gary, I'd love to know how your test goes with email notifications this month! Even though I'm closing this question now, perhaps you can come back and post your results. Specifically, I'm wondering what a rough percentage would be of Askers that DO respond to the questions our Experts pose to them.

    Thanks again, all!

Post a Comment