Recent research on mailing lists and other online documentation

I’ve been researching technical forums in preparation for my upcoming session at O’Reilly’s
Open Source convention
on Wednesday, July 24,

Recent Research on Community Participation in Software Documentation
I’ve just published my latest article,
How to Help Mailing Lists Help Readers (Results of Recent Data Analysis).
I think it’s surprising how many questions don’t get answered (although the lists are still a wonderful resource that operate pretty efficiently when questions do get answered), and the article draws some conclusions about how list members can help other list members make better use of available documentation. People like helping each other (that comes through clearly in a survey we did on the O’Reilly web site) but they’d like to avoid answering simple questions over and over.

You can also look back at my earlier
research on community participation, to which I will also refer in the session (and to a brief talk at the convention’s open source briefing).