Community development and getting questions answered
Josh Ledgard made a brilliant post where he took inventory of the issues surrounding the Microsoft community. I'm glad to see this because I think we're at a critical point in the .NET world where we're hitting critical mass and we need more qualified people to work. People get qualified by working in community, in my opinion. Josh's observations need to be looked at, so that we don't end up with another “look at me” Channel9 thing (days later, I'm still not impressed, but they also had a save the world hype to live up to).
Two generalizations hit me as most relevant. The first is that too much volume is bad. I think when you run or lead a community you frequently forget that, but it's not a contest. The ASP.NET forums have almost too much volume, unfortunately. I would be curious to know, however, what percentage of visitors there post or just read. I know from my experience at CoasterBuzz, which is just social and not technical, that not all 10,000 daily visitors are posting. It probably isn't more than a hundred.
The other thing that stands out is that, the way Josh sees it, there should be some kind of better medium that is a cross between Web forums and Usenet. I personally have never liked Usenet much, at least not since the proliferation of Web forums, but there are some obvious aspects of the two that could be combined into a better product. That's stuff I think about a lot, but my disregard for Usenet has kind of prevented me from seeing that.
One other thing I guess is that online communities, regardless of the topic, need to breed a culture or protocol where people do actually search for an answer before asking the question. You'd think that since people land in these communities from a search engine that searching them would be obvious, but I know in practice that it's obviously not!