Top Ten Feature Requests for LinkedIn Answers

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answers.gifI’ve been using LinkedIn Answers pretty heavily now since its launch. While I think it’s a really useful feature, it has a lot of room for improvement. Here are my top picks for features LinkedIn could add to Answers to make it supremely useful:

  1. A way to report inappropriate (i.e., spam) questions & answers. LinkedIn tells me this is coming soon.
  2. Filtering – Right now it’s all topics or one at a time. I’d like to be able to see just the questions from my favorite 5-10 topics.
  3. Search!!! People need to be able to see if a question has been asked and answered before asking it themselves. Also, with as many questions as are being asked, it’s a bit much to scan through even the past seven days if you’re looking to answer questions about specific topics.
  4. RSS feeds – I definitely would like to have this in one of my existing content inboxes rather than have yet another new place I have to go check.
  5. Watch topic – I’d like to be able to get email notices for answers posted to questions from other people, not just me.
  6. Ability to edit your questions and answers – We all make typos and often think of additional things we’d like to add to a question or an answer
  7. Ability to ask for clarification of questions and answers – Sure, you can start a private dialog, but if you need clarification, other people reading it probably do too.
  8. Change expert ranking system to be based more on quality rather than quantity of answers so as to prevent gaming of the system by just making a bunch of short, redundant answers.
  9. More robust/granular rating system that allows all members to rate answers, though more weight would be given to the rating from the asker.
  10. An FAQ. Maybe the ability to search would prevent the need for this, but it seems there should be some better way to handle the questions that have already been asked half a dozen times, particularly the ones about Using LinkedIn. I think this could be integrated into the posting form — show the most frequently asked questions for that topic.
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  1. Hi Scott,

    I would definitely go along with number 8. It’s really frustrating to see the effort that I’ve put into LinkedIn Answers almost go to waste because of the people that are starting to just slam answers in in volume with no sense of quality. You and I are both usually on the first page of “Top Experts” based on volume but I for one am going to find it increasingly difficult to keep up the volume. What I am proud of though is having 6 of my 35 Answers rated as Best Answers. I’m sure you’re equally proud of your similarly high ratio. This is what the ratings should be about – a combination of volume and quality.

    I also strongly concur with Number 5 and, of course, everyone’s favourite – number 3.

    Point number 9 is interesting but could be really open to abuse, surely?

  2. I did a lot of work on reputation systems with Cynthia Typaldos when I was at Mongoose Technology. A key aspect of a rating system in an environment such as this is actually a complete LACK of transparency. Good example? Google’s ranking scheme. It’s not only NOT public, it’s so complex and obscure that no one could possible figure it out exactly — it’s the source of much speculation. But the end result is that while a few people try to game it, most gaming strategies get shot down pretty quickly, and in general, the top rankings go to sites that are “deserving”. That algorithm is much of why Google is the #1 search engine.

    The best ranking scheme would be based on some combination of total responses, total “good” and “best” rated responses, and the ratio of the two. Even better… allow all members to rate the responses, not just the person who asked the question, but as I suggested, give more weight to the opinion of the person who asked the question.

    People can know what all the factors are, but shouldn’t be able to easily determine the exact algorithm.

  3. Scott,

    great points. Have you pitched the idea of a complex rating system algorithm to LinkedIn or are you hoping they will recognise the need anyway?

  4. I’m happy to say we added the ability to flag questions as inappropriate last evening. A similiar capability for answers will be coming in the next couple weeks, along with several other intermediate improvements.

    Thank you for compiling the great list; many items are on our list as well. We sincerly appreciate the feedback.

  5. I agree with all 10 of these, Scott. And if you look at some of the similar community utilities, I think most featured in 1, 5, 9, 8, and 10 are fundamental to the utilities on going success.

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