AskAboutProjects.com: How you can help save it
Stephan Baranowski reached out to me recently to inform me that this site was in danger of being closed down. It’s a great website where you can vote answers up or down to questions and the best answers rise to top. It’s amazing! I asked him questions about the site, and what’s happening.
1. What’s the problem?
AskAboutProjects hosts a free service called StackExchange.com. This is a network of community-driven, free Q&A sites. It used to take just a few clicks to set up a new Q&A website, but they have made it a more complicated process in order to ensure that there is enough support for each site. This process also applies to existing sites like AskAboutProjects. They didn’t want to just remove all sites that had little or no activity. They wanted to give everyone a chance.
As we are now in the third ‘commitment’ phase of the procedure (see http://area51.stackexchange.com/faq for the complete explanation), we need to ‘prove’ that our community is large enough to keep the site alive and kicking for some time. We need to have people’s support for our cause. Only after we have attained 100% commitment can we move on to the final ‘beta’ phase, or trial period.
If we can’t get enough people to sign up for the cause, the site will be shut down. We’ll need to find another way to build a new community and use other software.
2. Why is AskAboutProjects.com so important for project managers?
AskAboutProjects allows anyone with any question about Project Management to ask a simple, low-risk site. It is ideal for beginners, people who are considering a career in project management, and for veterans of the trade. All of the contributors have contributed questions and answers. It is more valuable than LinkedIn Answers because the community can vote up good answers, and not just the person who asked them. It is very user-friendly because the best answers are at the top of the list. People who give good answers get “reputation point”, which is an additional indicator of the value of the answer.
The site is independent and not tied to any industry or organisation. This makes it an easy-to-reach resource for anyone with questions about project management.
3. What are your favorite examples of AskAboutProjects.com’s value to its visitors?
As we have discussed, the main value lies in how it works (like all Stackexchange Q&A websites). Good answers get votes from readers as well as contributors. The best answers are pushed to top of the list. You don’t need to go through many replies to find the one piece of wisdom.
These questions can be as simple as: What is the job description of the project sponsor? What is a WBS (Working Boss System)? To make it more complicated: “How do you convince clients to adopt agile methods?” Sometimes, a specific case or situation is presented. People respond from their own backgrounds and industry, often sharing specific experiences. This makes it more valuable than reading a book.
4. What is the purpose of committing support?
The site is currently at 40% commitment. We need additional support to keep it running. Anyone in project management can benefit from an online mentor. You can also use the internet to learn by answering questions.
The only thing people have to do is register with an e-mail address and commit to the site here http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/10947/project-management. I’m not sure if AskAbout is still available.