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CLS16 Finding Experts and Expertise in Communities

Alex Viggio, University of CO
Lou Woodley, Trellis/AAAS
Julia Trimmer, Duke University
Alex, Dreamfactor SW
Sarah, MS

What are other universities/communities doing to find expertise? If you have a top-down reference to experts, is that off-putting? CU’s system is called Experts@CU.

In a military culture like Carlos’, he feels that people like being known as experts and knowing that experts will be answering questions in their forum. It may be that the community wants to be called themselves something particular, like “sages.”

At MS, they were told that experts sounded too uppity so they used “Faces at Microsoft.”

Experts is a loaded term and makes you wonder how is it proven that you are an expert? Other systems make you earn a badge by being engaged on the forum a certain amount of time. Or award them community points based on how much you contribute. People can lose status too. Community managers can promote people.

In Linux questions, they are not called experts. Instead, people have skills and subscribe to a tag with that skill.

At Ubuntu, they do award points to members who are very active.

At CU, the media office keeps a list of people who like talk to media. They are discussing whether to let people self-assert. The community manager could help curate those experts.

The VIVO community is trying to improve the UX and make it more attractive. Do you anything to highlight or feature your experts, like promote them?

SEO isn’t really necessary if you have well-structured web pages and good content. Sometimes the Linux questions people will feature a tutorial based on a really good post.

Carlos’ community is so unique that Google finds them quickly. For people that are active on the site, they get a start on their profile. They suggest people or users based on their interests or the thread.

Featuring people is a great way to thank people who have contributing. But also when you ask about what they do, other connections are made through their other activities.

Highlighting the right people even if they are experts, but those that are thought leaders, experts in certain areas or for specific contributes.

At MS, they do showcase people working at MS and others in open source communities.

We talked about other divisions in our communities such as academics vs non-academics.

Next steps: How can we active the CLS forum and try to activate it again? With a forum thread, probably. You should join the discourse forums.

Another issue is how to get online contributors to also contribute offline to events etc. Tshirts could be a way to recognize experts or contributors.

Experts that help improve the value proposition and the traffic. Affiliate programs or enabling users to earn badges to bring other users.

Are there things we could do in the next 6 months?
Trellis is considering an ambassador program, but more to foster community leaders who could bring their own users. In science, there are questions about how to reward researchers for all of their contributions. Like mentoring in a lab, media outreach, outreach etc. How to measure and display those.

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