Since starting Hang With Friends, my biggest headache has been what we might call the discussion-starting threshold. It's ever so much easier for members to contribute comments or replies than to add discussions. My husband identified it as a design function flaw. Ning hosts us, and their software designers made choices embedded in our medium of communication.
We get comment and reply windows, right in our faces. But they almost hide the add a discussion feature.
Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is invisible, we only pay attention to its message.
Frankly, people, I'm at a loss as to how to overcome this psychological barrier to adding discussions.
Am I misinterpreting what's going on here? Do you have a different take? Within minutes of Roz and Russ starting their discussion on updating, contributions flowed in. Sometimes almost a day goes by with no new discussions added. To me the response rate seems three orders of magnitude higher for replies compared to starting discussions.I'm open to suggestions.
Heather, you said, "I'm not sure how one would go about getting the ball rolling..." Please check out Hints for Newbies, where we clarify how to add a discussion.
Your dance hall analogy brings up the issue of social risk. Initiating discussions is perceived as risky. I'd like this group to feel like a safe place, but I'm not sure what else to do. If anybody makes a personal attack on another member, I can remove him or her from the group and delete the attack. What would reassure you? Does that question seem too personal? Maybe if people shared their horror stories of having been shot down after posting. I might learn something from that. We should get this fear out in the open to deal clarify the underlying issue. I only have my own social network experience to guide me as moderator.
I don't think it's due to site mechanics. For me personally, I'm the last person to start a conversation, much less one where I'm requesting multiple people to direct their attention to me, and that unfortunately transfers to the online realm.
That isn't to say I am not interested in what's going on because I do read everything, however, I only post where I think my response isn't just a rehash of someone else's thoughts, and when the topic isn't a nitpick fest over things that I don't feel are relevant to the overall picture.