Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Categorization of user community feedback

Usually any written feedback from members of user community to the author falls down into on of these categories:
  • general message
  • support request
  • bug report
  • feature request
As I wrote in the previous post we try to make the bug report and feature request choice obvious, so that as many pieces of feedback are categorized properly. Of course there is a problem with this common approach.

Many times the users don't have the knowledge to recognize if they are writing a support request or bug report. This is quite understandable, because it's difficult to recognize for a newbie. The senior members of community are there to help with the categorization and answers. The pity is, that in the most common tools used for communities it's not possible to categorize the pieces after they were submitted. The usual result:

  • many bug reports end up in forum
  • support requests in issue tracker

That's why we plan to change the functionality in nLift so that the all of the written feedback is put into simple text boxes and categorized only if the writer is actually sure that it's bug report, feature request or support request. If not the categorization can be added or changed later.

Other somewhat interconnected problem in software community sites is redundancy. I would like to write my thoughts about this problem in next post.