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Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox discusses participation inequality in online communities, where 1% of users account for almost all the action. Blogs have the worst participation inequality, says Nielsen. “The problem is that the overall system is not representative of Web users.”
How to overcome participation inequality?
You can’t, says Nielsen, who nontheless offers suggesting including:
– make it easier to contribute
– reward people for contributing, he says, even giving them money.
– promote quality contributors by giving them extra prominence
My suggestions:
– respond to comments by getting involved in the conversation a post generates
– highlight the best comments by including them in posts or using them as topics for new posts, since not everyone looks below the hood
– ask questions. ask your readers for information and opinions and experiences
– write interesting posts so people will want to comment
– have a comment policy that makes clear what you will and will not publish. My policy: if I wouldn’t tolerate it in my living room, I won’t tolerate it in comments; comments have to include a valid email address
– comment on other blogs and those bloggers will be likely to comment on yours