Delete and SharePoint Forums

Topics: Developer Forum
Coordinator
May 24, 2006 at 2:10 PM
So I'm sitting with a quandry and figured I would solicit feedback.

A long time ago, in an IDE far, far, away I added a ranking system to the SharePoint Forums Web Part. This is the typical ranking system you see on forums. New user joins forum, gets rank of "Newbie" and after some # of posts, becomes a "Member" (or "Journeyman" or "Apprentice" or insert witty title here). All is good in the world.

Currently the Web Part tracks all the posts a user makes. It doesn't track where they make that post, just that they did. Hence if the ranking system was in place, after # number of posts you graduate from one title to the next. Titles are all configurable by the admin. Okay, so the ranking system isn't in the current version (it was pulled late in the game to simplify hunting down any problems the first release would have) but deleting posts affects it and that's where you come in.

When you delete say a forum from the system (and all topics and a posts in each topic) you skew the numbers. Now the counts are thrown off. Say a user posts 100 messages in a single forum and the admin decides to blow that forum away. Now the user has 100 posts in his profile, but there are only 50 messages in the entire system (and nothing from that user because all his posts were in one forum which is now gone).

So, is it worth the time/effort/bother to go through and update each users post count as each post is deleted (which can be time consuming) or does it matter that Jimmy has a post count that isn't indicitive of how many posts are in the system (i.e. some users might have higher post counts than the number of messages in the system).

Like I said, looking for some feedback to determine how important delete is in the system.
May 24, 2006 at 2:49 PM
I don't think it matters. Rankings are a historical record of contributions; whether or not the actual posts still exist, the ranking indicates the overall participation of the user. I would keep it just like it is.
May 24, 2006 at 5:27 PM
I have to agree. What matters is that a person posted 100 items. Whether or not all of those items are still there does not diminish the fact that he/she is an active poster.
May 24, 2006 at 5:31 PM
I agree with the above. The person made 100 posts.. Whether they are there or not now is of no consequence.
May 31, 2006 at 11:11 AM
Yup - I agree.

I do think this whole concept is fantastically important - discussion groups are great for sharing knowledge - but also have a huge value in expertise location - even if having found the expert you don't use the discussion board but actually go and find them or phone them up.

So in my head, an ideal mechanism would not just count the number of posts, but there would be some way of a post being marked as 'helpful' or providing an 'answer'. Expertise is increased by the number of helpful comments provided.

Of course, this starts to become even more complex. Ours is already setup with 6 Categories (and growing) and a total of 20 fora (and growing). While someone may be an expert in one of the categories, or even on of the fora, they may not be an expert in the whole discussion group.

So maybe I have this idea that, at whatever level you are at (Disscussion board, Category, forum, topic) you can see who is the 'expert' at that level by seeing who has provided the most posts, and who has been the most helpful.

Which seems to bring me back to your original question - I can't see how you could achieve anything like that without just doing a partial search on the database - so deleted posts wouldn't count.

How about just flagging a post as deleted, and then not displaying it (so it still counts)?

and if posts need to be removed to save space and keep the fora responsive, have a process that deletes all (non-sticky) posts in topics that haven't been posted to for (say) a year (I guess that would need to be configurable)?

Wow - I have managed to make a simple topic really, really complex!
Jun 1, 2006 at 7:37 AM
QUOTE: <even if having found the expert you don't use the discussion board but actually go and find them or phone them up.>

Does this then defeat the point of the discussion group? If people are contacting the "experts" directly, then other members won't benefit from the results of that discussion?

Jun 1, 2006 at 8:34 AM
Expertise location is a key part of any knowledge management system - and I really don't think you can restrict it to only using the discussion group.

Of course, one might hope that once the item of knowledge and expertise had been shared, it might be capture in the discussion group or even a Sharepoint Wiki system (know any good ones?). One thing is certain - if you can't find the expert, it stands no chance of being captured.