Tech Forums, think of the Googlers!

I’ve been using Google to search for computer answers for years now. I don’t have time to be an active member in dozens of forums, but it’s a huge time saver when my questions match those of the Original Poster. Many tech forum commenters don’t consider this, but you will get a continual influx of new excited members if your archived posts are helpful and polite. Or, you could leave your community stagnant by you create a negative environment for those casual searchers.

Here are two behaviors that could turn Googlers away from threads. Be warned!

1. Don’t Get Snarky – If you’re responding to a forum post, don’t tell the Original Poster to search Google for their answer. This may be a snappy response in the moment, but forums are resources for everyone. Nothing is more frustrating than searching Google for an answer, and finding the advise to search Google again. Not only does this sort of response make you look bad in the moment, but it keeps people away from your community. That’s like keeping a Go Away mat in front of your door.
This is fairly easy to ward against. If you’re a member of the forum, deal with every question as though thousands of people are wondering the same thing. The question may seem silly, but the person is asking for a reason. Don’t push them away – unless they’re just trolling.

2. Don’t Post and Run – If you’ve asked a question, and the community has helped you come to the conclusion, please don’t prematurely end your interaction in the thread. Stick around to answer followup questions. Give a short description about what you did to solve the problem. This provides a sense of closure to the thread, and will allow you to give back to those who helped you out.
Don’t rely on other members to finish the thread for you. Most computer problems are difficult to duplicate, and your specific case may have had some intricacies that were not previously mentioned.

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