Yesterday I read about weak links / weak ties in Enterprise 2.0 by Andrew McAfee--it reminds me of the fabric Peter Block identifies as social capital--and apparently the research about exploiting our personal networks was published relatively recently, in 2004 or 2005. McAfee suggests that the next way we'll be able to benefit from platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and FaceBook will be in referring our colleagues to our FAQ pages. This strikes me as really powerful for objective questions, but misguided for subjective questions. It's not the answers that my network of friends are useful for--it's the diversity of approaches they offer that is important. Since it's a subjective question, it is the analysis of factors, values or forces that will help guide me. I don't know of any scalable resource that connects people for subjective questions in this way. Do you?
There are technologies that connect people by the questions they ask--take the Stack Exchange engine for example. Yet they specifically close subjective discussions:
...questions that are not answerable — discussions, debates, opinions — should be closed as subjective. It seems simple enough: Fact good; opinion and discussion bad. But why?
Most forums and chat rooms have a scale problem. As in, they don’t. The more people that join the discussion, the more noise each of those connections bring. So the forums get progressively noisier and noisier, and suddenly one day … you stop learning.
This seems to leave a gap. Subjective questions often produce conflicting advice on list serves. How do we sort through the answers? I don't see any of these social media platforms helping me decide who to trust. What if we built a community of questions and analyses--no answers permitted, just a catalog of the values, forces, etc. that go into making a decision. Anyone want to help me out? The first place I might begin is at Stack Exchange--but we'll need about 250 committed users to go live. Let's work out some of the details first--post your questions/comments here. One thing I will have to work out near the end is the name--should it be DevIntent, Philly Tech Points, Agile Welcoming Circle, or something else?
Would you such a site useful? Would it help you answer your questions? Would you participate in it?