Ask.Cyberinfrastructure

Facilitators vs users

One of the questions I asked @jma the other day was about the audience for the Stack Exchange site. Who would use the site? The answer I got is that there are two audiences:

  • research computing facilitators: IT professionals who manage computational infrastructure for researchers
  • research computing users: researchers who make use of the computational infrastructure provide by facilitators

I’m somewhat afraid that this won’t work. https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2010/04/19/sites-for-experts/ is a good blog post about why but it comes down to creating a place where experts can find interesting discussions. Expert facilitators and expert users probably have a different idea of what’s interesting. There’s overlap to be sure.

I feel like words are failing my right now but my impulse is to figure out if we can flag the questions in this site as “facilitator” or “user” to see if we’re leaning toward one group or the other. I’ll keep thinking about this but I wanted to raise a flag at least and see if there’s something here to fix or not.

It looks like Discourse supports tags and someone had already created “meta:facilitator” and “meta:enduser” tags. Great. I just went through all the questions and I feel like most questions are for users. Only a dozen or so questions out of 107 “topics” (threads) are things that end users wouldn’t care about, and I tagged these as “meta:facilitator”: https://researchcomputing.cyberinfrastructure.org/tags/meta:facilitator

This exercise reinforces for me that our primary audience is end users. We should probably be careful not to have too many questions on here that only facilitators would care about. The idea is that our primary audience should be able to land on the homepage and think, “I see a lot of interesting questions” rather than “This is a site for someone else.”

If I’m using the wrong terms (facilitators vs. users), please let me know!

Hey All!

Do we think that having the meta:facilitator and meta:enduser tags is still helpful? I hesitate to delete them, but we also have not been tagging topics consistently.

@jma you should definitely feel free to delete them. As I said above, adding those “facilitator” and “end user” tags was mostly an exercise I undertook to understand which was more common. I concluded that this site has much more content that is of interest to end users. Hopefully they won’t be bothered by the content that’s only of interest to facilitators.