September 2022 Newsletter
AnswerHub Is Formulated For You
In this newsletter, we wanted to delve into some intriguing AnswerHub knowledge and secrets.
Over the years, we’ve gathered information and studied the importance and value of a Community Manager. In the below article “The Value of a Community Manager”, we share this vital and valuable knowledge with you. If you don’t have a dedicated person managing your community, you’re missing out on several benefits that lead to long-term success.
How do we decide AnswerHub’s product roadmap or determine which new and innovative features we will add? “The Truth Revealed: How We Enhance AnswerHub For You” explains our process. Be sure to read it in this newsletter, so you can submit your ideas and requests!
As always, please feel free to reach out to us on AnswerHub.com and/or for customer via The Hub. We are dedicated to listening to our customers and continuing to innovate our knowledge sharing and community collaboration software for you.
The AnswerHub Team
The Value of a Community Manager
Every developer focused community needs a Community Manager regardless of whether it’s a part- or full time role as well as whether it is for an internally-focused or externally-focused program. The Community Manager is the CEO of the community, and has the responsibility to create and then evolve the vision for the community, develop the guidelines for membership, communicate and promote the growth of the community, and develop a core group of users who will help the Community Manager to moderate and manage the community.
The Community Manager must balance their time between strategic planning, goal setting, measuring / analyzing with daily tactical efforts of moderating, ensuring questions are getting answered, and communicating and promoting activity within the community. The position is particularly critical in a developer-focused community, due to its unique nature of engaging and growing this important demographic. As your developer focused community grows and matures, the Community Manager will spend less time on the day to-day “doing”, and more time guiding and developing the community toward the achievement of larger goals – especially when it comes to knowledge capture, collaboration, case deflection, and customer engagement.
Here is our view of the key responsibilities of a Community Manager:
- Build and execute the developer community development strategy for company, team or product.
- Connect with and grow the community through moderating and engaging on platforms and forums (both ours and third-party ones).
- Identify and develop engaged community members, ensuring they’re connected with the right people within the company.
- Coordinate with product and development to support their features and releases with the community.
- Share insights and feedback from the community team to company, team, or product.
- Promote community involvement within (company, team, or product) and build a framework to support employees engaging with the community.
- Work with other members of the company, team, or product community team to ensure our community is recognized, celebrated, and nurtured.
- Build KPIs, measurement, and reporting appropriately on community development progress, then communicate clearly to all key stakeholders.
There are many benefits to having a Community Manager run your online developer-focused community. Here are just a few:
- Having a Community Manager humanizes the company by creating powerful, lasting relationships with your internal teams and / or your external users / customers.
- A Community Manager provides firsthand customer service by ensuring that issues are routed efficiently to the appropriate department, which leads to quicker resolution times for customers.
- Product patterns and enhancement requests get funneled by the Community Manager to the leaders in the product and engineering teams in an efficient manner.
- A Community Manager represents the voice of the customers to the executive leadership, helps in building and growing your brand, and helps steer your team and / or user / customer engagement strategy accordingly.
We believe a dedicated Community Manager is critical to the long term success of a developer-focused internal and external community. A ship shouldn’t set sail without a captain! The crew needs training and direction, the ship’s voyage needs a purpose, the helm needs a heading, etc. Absent a dedicated Community Manager, your community initiative is unlikely to fulfill its vision, purpose, and the engagement you are looking to achieve.
The Truth Revealed: How We Enhance AnswerHub For You
Have you ever wondered how we determine the AnswerHub product roadmap and / or questioned how an idea for a feature enhancement you would like to see us implement gets prioritized for our team?
We prioritize the AnswerHub product roadmap from various inputs including market and competitive research, voice of customer interviews (where our product team gets the opportunity to speak directly with you), and also from ideas that get posted on our customer success and support portal called The Hub (which runs on AnswerHub).
Hopefully, you have visited The Hub to file a ticket, get answers to your questions, find how-to articles on best practices for implementing AnswerHub in your own organization, and / or have posted ideas about feature enhancements that you would like to see implemented. You can also search for existing ideas, and also see if other customers have previously posted ideas that you had. You can then choose to upvote those or any enhancement requests (which makes it even more likely for us to prioritize them in an upcoming sprint).
In 2022, we have worked very hard and been very focused on listening to our customers. We have been pulling in feature enhancements and new features ideas that we see and hear, whether it be on a phone call, a VOC interview and / or from an upvoted idea on The Hub.
To date in 2022, we have released several new features and enhancements:
- We have added the ability to remove parent / child article relationships by undoing the link between accounts.
- The group delete feature was recently released.
- You can now award points for knowledgebase article creation as part of our gamification updates, which also allow you to be more configurable in how you can earn points.
- We made “top posts” on our main analytics dashboard into clickable links out to the highlighted content. This feature was requested by several clients.
- We made a configuration change on The Hub to allow more attachments for ideas, and we have implemented the requested navigation links to comments and questions which will be available soon.
We continue to work on our 2022 product roadmap and have several new feature enhancements planned for the remainder of the year – all of them based on feedback we have heard directly from you! We want to continue to incorporate your feedback into what we are working on, so please head to The Hub to add your ideas and vote on others that you would like to see implemented!
What Are Your Fondest Memories Of These Ancestors Of Communities?
AnswerHub-powered communities are a robust, comprehensive, all-in-one online “super site” where you can find FAQs, product information, other developers to interact with and learn from, customer support, and much, much more (especially if you avail yourself of all the innovative features we offer). Our all-inclusive, wide-ranging, customizable communities are definitely a far cry from the beginning of how developers, customers, and really everyone communicated with others and learned from them online.
Not surprisingly, BBS (also known as Bulletin Board System) was basically an online version of the corkboards and physical message centers that can be seen in offices and their breakrooms. Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss developed the first BBS, and named it “Computerized Bulletin Board System” – not very catchy but an accurate, to-the-point description, which definitely would’ve been needed in 1978 when it went live online. The user would employ a terminal program (for example, Telnet) that allowed the individual to connect to a remote computer that hosted the bulletin board(s) of interest over a TCP/IP network; and then, direct messaging, public message boards, and even interactive games were accessible. BBS marked the origin of user-generated content on the Internet, and were the most prevalent through the mid-1990s. A 1994 estimate from InfoWorld had, in the USA alone, 17 million users visiting approximately 60,000 BBSs. Affordable dial-up and the NCSA Mosaic web browser meant the beginning of the end of bulletin board systems. Another fun fact: Current terms we use such as “pinned” and “posts” were derived from BBS, based on taking a push pin and posting items like a memo or announcement on the physical bulletin boards.
Usenet came online in 1980. Meant for discussions that would evolve from specific topics, users would find newsgroups of interest and subscribe to them, but was also used to exchange large files. While it has similarities to forums, Usenet is instead distributed peer-to-peer using several servers and there is no administrator or administrative body. It came before the World Wide Web and uses the UUCP protocol. Usenet, still being used today, ranks among the most elder of network communication methods over computer that are being utilized all these years later.
Real-time communication online was introduced to users in 1988 with IRC (Internet Relay Chat). It’s widely considered a elevated chatroom, and though it began with users instant messaging each other, it expanded to include the capability to transfer data and share files. Servers host the channels (different chatrooms), and some of the IRC networks have specialties (for example, QuakeNet (around since 1997) or GameSurge). Even with all the real-time communication options we have available to us today, IRC continues to be used.
Forums / Message Boards
Which ones did you frequent both for business and personal interests? Forums and message boards are partly responsible for the exponential growth in the number of Internet websites and traffic. The W3 Consortium developed WIT in 1994, the first software devoted to the protocol online forums need to operate. Also meant for discussions revolving around a certain topic, the scope of them is much more vast. Forums and message boards, as you may have guessed, are still quite popular today!
The first blogs were simply online journals and diaries that started appearing online in 1994. They brought about Webrings, which were theme- or topic-specific anthologies. Mostly webrings and early blogs were related to daily chronicles, typed thoughts of the day, or personal interests. But by around 2004-2005, the diary aspect fell more by the wayside to make way for blog and weblog platforms, such as WordPress. These powerful tools offered ease of publishing, the ability for readers to leave comments and subscribe to a feed, and even more features. Blogging became interactive and social, but unlike a message board or forum, the blog author is the only user that initiates the topic and discussion. At the close of 2011, NM Incite shared there were more than 173 million Internet blogs; according to First Site Guide, “As of 2021, there are more than 570 million blogs on the Internet, based on activities reported by WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace, and Medium (and this number is constantly growing).”
These are just five of the countless pre-community ways to share information online. What do you remember from your experiences using these early collaboration and discussion systems? Take a walk down memory lane and share your stories with us on LinkedIn and Twitter. The entire AnswerHub team would like to read them!
AnswerHub is focused on bringing together today’s digital innovations to create solutions that improve productivity, save money, and bring quality products to market faster than ever before!
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