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Topics: Communications Management, Leadership, Strategy
Discussion topic approaches and best practices
Network:14014



In general, most topics fall into one of these categories:

-- A question asked to fill a void in knowledge.
-- A question asked for the sake of getting opinions on a given topic one is contemplating.
-- Asking for advice.
-- Challenge-based questions.

I’m sure there are others as well, but my question is this: What are the best practices for a submitter and responder in these different categories?

For instance: For “opinion” and “challenge-based” questions, should the submitter moderate the discussion? Should voting be used regularly to “drive to a conclusion”? Do we want conclusions or only opinions?

Please give your thoughts and represent your agreement and disagreement with votes and comments as the thread grows.
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Network:294



I'll throw my hat into the ring and say that I see a lot of repetition in the type, content and responses of questions being asked. I think questions should be grouped together into categories such as team leadership, managing stakeholders, technology trends, professional network events and career progression to name just a few. Also it would be good if a seasoned project manager gave their opinion on specific topic such "Ask the Expert" forum. There is no doubt that projectmangement.com and PMI.org are invaluable resources for Project Managers to access resources, expand their professional network and contribute to the Project Management community. The use of voting on a specific topic is a quick and easy mechanism to gauge the communities opinion on certain topics. Also it is important to maintain the standard and have interesting content so that various project mangers in different fields use projectmanagement.com as their primary portal for the project management community
Network:2381



George, I like your solution-based approach and opportunity modeling with the above viable options on organizing content. If we had categories or tagging available, I'd be a proponent of helping to create some taxonomy. Unfortunately, at this point, we are relying on the due-diligence of the community.

IMO, conclusions are subjective and elicited based on the opinions of others. My recommendation is to use what we have available, which is voting, though, this has been discussed before. It is not consistently enough used to offer any true measure / value. Again, my opinion at the moment.
...
1 reply by George Freeman
Oct 04, 2019 11:28 AM
George Freeman
...
Hi Andrew.

I fully agree that conclusions are subjective in the forum, but my primary interest is the “conclusion from the submitter's point of view”, to the extent that we know their question has been answered sufficiently. Often a topic is created, and the subject is hijacked to a different context (I’ve been guilty of it). So, if the topic intent is not satisfied to the submitter's need, I believe they should be encouraged to moderate the thread back to their intent – a possible example of a good practice.
Network:335



This topic resonates with me.

Regardless of the topic itself, one aspect that applies to all is to treat the subject line and details section like a professional email. Vague or click-bait type headings such as "What do you think?" are likely to be ignored, as are questions that lack any specificity. Granted, technical advice questions require more specifics than general concept questions. On the other hand, if you reached out at work and asked for help, and your only statement was "I need help", your question is likely to be ignored rather than someone being patient enough to guide the author to a specific question that can be addressed without writing a dissertation.

For opinion questions, polls may be useful but "begging the question" or asking a question with the purpose of having others make your point for you is ill advised. Those in the audience who are well versed in logical fallacies will identify this immediately. When the person asking moderates by reinforcing opinions that agree with their presupposition while rejecting those that differ, the intent becomes crystal clear. It is a request for affirmation rather than a request for open dialogue.

Polls can work the same way in this regard. If the poll says 60-40 (and they often change to the side of the author if they steer the responses that direction) it does not mean "most believe X". It means the person was able to sway some respondents to their opinion.

I'm generally quite open to engaging in many different subjects. Meanwhiule, I also ask myself "What is author's intent?" If that appears to be simply self-promotion, that's not worth investing my time and future questions are likely to be ignored as well.
Network:14014



Oct 04, 2019 11:06 AM
Replying to Andrew Craig
...
George, I like your solution-based approach and opportunity modeling with the above viable options on organizing content. If we had categories or tagging available, I'd be a proponent of helping to create some taxonomy. Unfortunately, at this point, we are relying on the due-diligence of the community.

IMO, conclusions are subjective and elicited based on the opinions of others. My recommendation is to use what we have available, which is voting, though, this has been discussed before. It is not consistently enough used to offer any true measure / value. Again, my opinion at the moment.
Hi Andrew.

I fully agree that conclusions are subjective in the forum, but my primary interest is the “conclusion from the submitter's point of view”, to the extent that we know their question has been answered sufficiently. Often a topic is created, and the subject is hijacked to a different context (I’ve been guilty of it). So, if the topic intent is not satisfied to the submitter's need, I believe they should be encouraged to moderate the thread back to their intent – a possible example of a good practice.
Network:2381



Absolutely, I agree, though I'm hesitant to provide confidence that will happen. With some pending updates to the site, it would be great to have an option to select a response as 'answer'. In the meantime, it would certainly be valuable to have the OP update the original posting or a message that the question was answered and was implemented with xyz success rate/value/benefit etc. To your point, I'm also guilty of that. Hence, we need an easy button! :)

Often the post is submitted with no follow-up on the topic. As active community members with a vested interest in the quality of our product, we should take it upon ourselves to ask the question to the OP if an answer was provided.
Network:933



Dear George
Can we contribute to the development of people's critical thinking through questions?
I recently asked a question: "What is your opinion, the most important feature to trade successfully?"
I got some answers, unfortunately few.
All the answers obtained were different which is very enriching.
Did any of them go to the busilis of the matter?
To what extent can this question contribute to the personal and professional development of the members of this community?
...
1 reply by George Freeman
Oct 05, 2019 9:38 AM
George Freeman
...
Luis,

You made two like statements in your comment that I would like to expand upon:
-- Can we contribute to the development of people’s critical thinking through questions
-- To what extent can questions contribute to the personal and professional development of the members of this community.

If your desire is to impact the critical thinking of the larger community, then I would recommend that you leverage the BLOG, Article and Webinar aspects of this site (as well). Articles and Webinars get most of the visibility and attention on this platform and work better for “critical thinking” exercises as you can expand in detail on your thoughts, premises, approaches, etc.
Network:14014



Oct 05, 2019 3:18 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear George
Can we contribute to the development of people's critical thinking through questions?
I recently asked a question: "What is your opinion, the most important feature to trade successfully?"
I got some answers, unfortunately few.
All the answers obtained were different which is very enriching.
Did any of them go to the busilis of the matter?
To what extent can this question contribute to the personal and professional development of the members of this community?
Luis,

You made two like statements in your comment that I would like to expand upon:
-- Can we contribute to the development of people’s critical thinking through questions
-- To what extent can questions contribute to the personal and professional development of the members of this community.

If your desire is to impact the critical thinking of the larger community, then I would recommend that you leverage the BLOG, Article and Webinar aspects of this site (as well). Articles and Webinars get most of the visibility and attention on this platform and work better for “critical thinking” exercises as you can expand in detail on your thoughts, premises, approaches, etc.

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