What's good about this Community and how can we improve it?

Steve Bridger

| 7585 Posts

Community Manager

7 Nov, 2008 14:40


It's been a while since I asked such an open question to all of this wonderful community.

- what do you like about the Communities?

- what single thing can we improve?

- what gets your goat (I mean mean 'what', and not 'who')

- are you an 'answer' person? Why? what do you get out of it (and by the way, thank you for doing what you do)

- has the community helped you get stuff done, and make your life easier? 

- has the community helped you grow your network? Is that important to you? Are we friendly and welcoming?

- what would your #1 piece of advice be to those thinking about posting for the first time?

I'm not expecting you to answer these precise questions. They're simply a guide, a prompt... in case you need prompting :)  

I'm very keen to hear from as many of you as possible. 

Big caveat: I can't promise to implement any of your suggestions - you know, technology & resources and stuff. But I will listen. Listen well, and pass on your thoughts. And you never know. 

Feel free to email me directly at s.bridger@cipd.co.uk if you would prefer not to go public. On the other hand, I do encourage you to share your thoughts with your peers, below.

Thanks in advance!


  • Julie

    | 1954 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    7 Nov, 2008 15:21


    I love the communities, although admit to sometimes feeling frustrated, hassled etc but that is life.  I do have some difficulty navigating around the site but have the same problem in the supermarket so it is probably just me.  Jackie Chiplin is terrific at explaining bits of the techno stuff to me in simple terms.

    I probably read more than I answer and learn a lot.  There are some individuals whose advice I particularly respect so I have selected my "favourites" and can see what threads they are contributing to. 

    For a first poster I would advise to be as clear as possible in the title just go for it, but to give their peers time to respond and not to be dejected if it takes a while.  If it looks scary to the "poster" it might look scary to us too and we take a bit of a risk when we write a response.

    Under the "what gets my goat" heading I have to put the individuals who want their interview questions answered (or in one case provided for him to ask a potential employer under the "have you got any questions for us" part of the interview), and also those wanting their exam/essay/dissertation work done for them.  I know it has been suggested before but please could you consider a separate section for learning/studies etc where these questions could be posted openly and honestly rather than the way some appear to be disguised as a workplace issue.  That's my grumpy bit over with!

  • Hi Steve,

    Very brave asking for feedback. I always flinch when I do that.

    However, on this occasion, no flinching required as I have nothing but good things to say.

    This forum is EXTREMELY useful.  I use it every day simply as a quick look at what is going on in other areas of HR, what are the concerns of my peers, and I without a doubt learn something new from this forum everyday. 

    I have asked questions on the forum a few times and the answers are always really helpful and useful (so thanks to everyone who's answered my stupid questions!).  Its invaluable to have a network of people in the same sort of position (with the experience to pool and help out) particularly as I am the lone-HR bod in my organisation.

    I do answer some of the queries (where I can and I where I think I might be vaguely useful) and in answering some of the posts have learned too, by checking what I think is the right answer against other websites (Berrs/ACAS/etc) so its a great learning experience either in the reading or the answering of the posts.

    Two pieces of advice for first time posters -

    1. have a search and a read through some of the older posts to see if your question has already been asked and answered. 

    2. I would say make sure you include as much relevant detail as possible so as to get the best response.

    Keep up the good work one and all! 


  • Steve Bridger

    | 7585 Posts

    Community Manager

    7 Nov, 2008 15:56

    Julie, Debbie... 

    Many thanks for starting the ball rolling.

    I won't make a habit of stepping in to 'interrupt' the flow of responses (at least I hope not), but I will just say that we created a new 'Subject area' on the Communities in January 2008, for those people who have qualification & exam-related questions. 


    I'm glad we did, as it has attracted 300+ threads in 10 months, and there are probably a few more that have slipped the net.

    Totally with you on the context-less assignment questions. It has been raised several times before. I'll be including this in a new set of Community Guidelines I'm writing - which I will be consulting you all on when in draft.



  • Mike Morrison

    | 4176 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    7 Nov, 2008 16:34

    Hi Steve et al

    "qualification & exam-related questions new section. ... I'm glad we did" yet another excellent idea from the community  <grin>

    I love the community - On the whole 99% of contributers both ask and answer with a genuine openness and honesty (even though it may not read that way at first)

    The time and effort that a number of the community contribute - it would be interesting to calculate the actual cost/ value of that to members

    That no matter how experienced an individual is we all need help sometimes and this is a great peer network

    I love the occasional fun that creeps in from time to time - in what is on the whole a very professional environment

    Hates -

    • Well as well as the 'poorly' thought through headings and lack of initial research as has been listed by others...

    • I hate txt spk - this is not msn!

    • Posts that lack tags !!!  <grin>

    • Requests for help with no 'thanks' or case study from what they gained sharing their learning with the community

    Single thing to improve - add this link to the community home page!

    Why contribute? - well we all need help sometimes and I believe that if you give....


    Loads more - but that will do for this month.... ;)

  • Steve Bridger

    | 7585 Posts

    Community Manager

    7 Nov, 2008 16:50

    Great Mike - thanks.

    That link... obviously 'hidden' at the moment, hence the rather odd title ("Reporting forums"). The threads with the most recent postings - right?

    As opposed to http://www.cipd.co.uk/community.aspx?tabindex=2 - which list just those new threads.


  • Cally

    | 358 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    7 Nov, 2008 16:58

    I must admit that I do enjoy seeking the opinions of others through the communities as it is good to get an often varied viewpoint or confirmation from other HR professionals.  I have formed some really good networking with other HR people as a direct result of this facility.

    One thing that I personally would find beneficial would be on the list of all discussions that the date of the last entry was easily visible. And the only thing that slightly irritates me is the fact that when someone contacts you you can't reply direct to them but instead it takes you back to a private post instead.  Have found that people have contacted me and when I respond back and provide my direct contact details they often don't get back to me - although that may be due to the users as opposed to the system itself.  I did much prefer the old system where it allowed people to email you direct, but I understand that this system is possibly in place to protect our personal (i.e. email) information.

    Have just come from maternity leave and did miss looking at the postings but unfortunately did not have time to read any as my priorities were somewhat different!  So I am looking forward to reading/contributing in the future......


  • Steve Bridger

    | 7585 Posts

    Community Manager

    7 Nov, 2008 17:14

    Welcome back, Cally. 

    Yes, the contact me facility is still not brilliant. Personally, I think it's better. But not brilliant. It is confusing in that it first looks like your message has been posted to the public boards, which it hasn't.


    This is good. Keep 'em coming! 


  • Mike Morrison

    | 4176 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    7 Nov, 2008 17:18

    Hi Cally - the link I posted in my last shows what you are looking for!

    yes Steve it lists the last 'active' threads and is invaluable and helps people realise that 'old' threads are still active.

     I wont tell you how I found it but I use it daily!

  • Megan Peppin

    | 987 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    8 Nov, 2008 09:51

    Steve thanks for inviting feedback.   I am curious that you have asked for our feedback when you have your caveat "I'll pass it on, Can't promise anything".  It does beg the question for me of well, why are you asking?  It raises expectations that "things might change" when you are asking for feedback in any form so I am interested why you have asked if you aren't sure what you can change?  As there are so many people viewing and contributing to these messages, should you have be more influence as clearly this is where you must find out what your members are thinking/discussing etc more than from any other source.

    Anyway, moan over.  I love these boards (you can tell, it's a Saturday am), I am really interested to see what topics are of interest, what people are discussing, what interests/challenges people.   I feel that it keeps me up to date on some elements of the HR profession in which I am no longer directly involved, but all my clients are so it is helpful for me to share best practice.  I also think it's good that you are asking for feedback!

    I enjoy having got to the level of experience (and age!) where I can contribute to problem solving encourage less experienced colleagues.  My main contribution is to answer and help those studying.

    I don't have many suggestions to change.  The whole threads, favourites etc I haven't paid any attention to.  I may or may not be typical of users.  I tend to log on, see what's being discussed, contribute, or not.  I don't have lots of time to navigate my way around any more than the basics, so not sure what I might be missing.

    What gets my goat?  (cue for Grumpy old woman)  SPELLING.  It makes me quite cross when people post either unchecked posts or misspell what I would consider quite basic words.  What example are people who either don't check their posts, or can't spell, setting to their colleagues.  

    I also feel quite irritated when a lot of help is offered and individuals don't respond/acknowledge/ thank.

    Could you write a fact sheet that can be uploaded for people on writing an assignment, where to start etc then for the endless posts asking the same question they can just be directed to this.  (Although if they search, another irritation, they will find).

     I ponder sometimes that there are a lot of people looking at these posts, but a relatively few that respond, because whenever I pick up a query it seems to be the same group of people answer, although maybe that is simply because we have similar interests.   Another thought, if there are a relatively few, it might be a small enough group to provide some type of forum for Linda Holbeche to use as a research pool.


    That's all! 


    Oh, and would be interested in some type of summary of key themes as a result of this discussion.





  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to make our comments Steve.

    Megan, I understand your point about raising expectations, but I also think there are lots of things we as community users can do to improve things without CIPD intervention.

    For example I would love more people to give a bit of info about themselves in their profile. When someone posts a question it can be useful to give a more context specific answer depending on where they work, what their specialism is etc. I often click on view profile to find no information has been provided.

    I would also like to see photos for eveyone, just cos I'm curious (one of my Seligmann Signature Strengths!) and like looking at faces.

    On the negative side, I'm one of those people who annoys Mike by not always tagging. I confess this is because sometimes the key words to use are not immediately obvious to me. I also assume that if a key word has already been used in this thread my contribution will be found when the searcher reaches the thread anyway so no need to re-use the same tags. Am I wrong in this?

    Kind regards


  • Steve Bridger

    | 7585 Posts

    Community Manager

    9 Nov, 2008 20:51

    You're right about that, Anna. That is, the keywords simply help populate the "tag cloud" on the Communities homepage, which is just another way of navigating around the vast number of threads we now have here. I've got a few ideas of how we might make better use of that.

    Megan - good to hear from you. I commit, here and now, to preparing some sort of summary of this thread, once it runs out of steam.

    When I wrote "I can't promise anything", I meant that some of you might ask for a Rolls Royce, when the CIPD can only supply a Lexus (even when a Rolls would do the job even better). But Lexus are still OK, aren't they?

    A note on spelling. It does my head in, too... but I let people off given that they cannot return and edit their contributions. Only moderators can edit posts. We tend to correct errors in thread titles, and any particularly glaring ones that we catch... but it isn't possible (or desirable??) to edit them all out! In the next iteration of the Community Guidelines, I'll recommend that people spell check their comments, before posting. 



  • Megan Peppin

    | 987 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    10 Nov, 2008 09:29

    Even an oil change in the engine would be good, not necessarily a new car!!  Thanks very much for the commitment to provide a summation, regardless of comments I think the boards are great and don't really see much that needs changing.

    I agree with your point Anna that we can, and should, initiate what we want to see changed/enhanced etc.  However, when CIPD are inviting feedback for me it indicates an intervention and I think it's reasonable to want Steve to have some clout in taking forward any key themes.  After all without us......  Steve, would it be safe to assume that others within CIPD read these boards and use them for some of CIPD agenda setting (ie research, articles, press etc?).

    Steve regarding spelling etc, this is nothing I expect CIPD to take on  - perhaps individuals will be interested enough to read  this exchange of views and take it on board themselves.     It's more a reflection on general standards - my view is that I am representing myself on these boards and if my work is full of either typos or incorrect spelling, I don't think it would create an impression of myself as a person who is proud of self and professional discipline.    O dear, does that make me sound very middle aged?








  • Lesley

    | 60 Posts

    Chartered Member

    10 Nov, 2008 09:45

    I have been using these forums for the past 6 months or so, I have found them a great way of learning and when I have requested help I have received very useful feedback.

    I value the information available from more experienced members and hopefully as my experience grows I will contribute more.  Working in a stand alone role the forum is very useful and helps you see that others face the same kind of problems and issues.

  • Jacqueline

    | 2000 Posts

    Chartered Member

    10 Nov, 2008 11:01

    A perspective on the spelling issue.  Some of us can't use the spellcheck facility as our work PCs don't allow us to download the necessary gubbins (yes, Julie that is a technical term.  *grin*).  And given my dyslexia, I sometimes do have trouble spotting and correcting my mistakes before I post, so be gentle with us poor spellers as it may not be just laziness or carelessness.

     I love the Communities - I've learned so much by reading all the posts (and I do read the majority of the HR ones) and hopefully I've been able to help others a little.  The biggest enjoyment for me, is the sense community that reading and responding to all these posts engenders - I've made some very good friends through these boards and I hope to make many more.  And, like Mike, I love the little forays into humour...



  • I also enjoy the communities and find them very helpful.  I've had lots of great advice when I've had a question to ask, and also learn lots through other people's questions.  I usually read a problem and think what I would do, before reading the answers so I can test myself which I find really helpful.

    I think the variety of questions, answers and experience is the bets thing about these communities.  Sometimes I find it hard to find a particular topic, but the tricks posted above are all helpful and with the quantity of information, I think it would be a hard task to improve further.

    I don't like it when people correct my grammar or spelling!  I've been fairly put off and upset when this has happened in the past, as I felt it completely unnecessary and rude.  As long as the meaning is clear, I can forgive typos easily (although all CAPS drives me mad!)  Lack of searching annoys me but it's a fact of life with forums.  I have to admit I'm not great at tagging, so will aim to improve that!

    I still think I ask more than answer, but I find answering helps consolidate my own knowledge and I want to contribute as much as possible as I get so much out of answers from other people.

    I have definitely found this an invaluable resource for advice on specifics and information sources in general.  After the CIPD factsheets and FAQs it is the first place I turn to do to a search for answers.

    I perhaps have not taken advantage of eth networking element as much as I could.  So this has given me some food for thought there.

    Posting for the first time: search! Using several key words if the first one doesn't turn up anything.

    Thanks all for your help!

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