TechWhirl, the largest free online resource for technical communicators in the world, rolled out their newest site earlier today with the launch of TechWhirl Community Forum. Today’s launch, phase one of two, brought the Community online and replaced TechWhirl.Com’s current commenting functionality.
The Community Forum starts with approximately 400 members, because of the number of migrated comments from TechWhirl.com articles and features. These founding members represent a wide range of professionals in technical writing and content management roles in many countries.
The Forum is free to join and participate for anyone interested in Content Management, Technical Communications and Customer Experience Management. Other groups include academics, students, and people who want to “meet up” offline to network and discuss topics of interest. Al Martine, co-owner of TechWhirl said, “It was really important to us to create a dynamic and free resource for anyone who wants to explore the world of content and communications. We finally found a solution that allows visitors the web and via their desktops to participate in the conversation.”
In addition to commenting on articles that appear on TechWhirl.com, community members can ask questions, or start and continue new conversations, using either online or email channels, Aligning with current trends in gamification, The TechWhirl Community Forum will foster engagement using awards and points for participation in the community.
The forum will be managed using a similar approach as the technical writing list, which is heavily moderated to ensure posts are on appropriate topics. Professionals can engage in relevant and meaningful dialog without sifting through job-recruiting notices or announcements about unrelated events or topics.
In the second phase of the project scheduled for later this year, the Technical Writing Email Discussion (TECHWR-L List) list members will be migrated to the forum. “The email discussion list has provided tremendous value to me and other communicators over the years, by engaging in some pretty lively debates and providing really useful advice about a whole range of subjects. It’s exciting to be able to extend the conversations beyond the world of email and open it up to a whole new group of people who want to know what’s happening in tech comm and content management.” The migration of the list provides members with new options for how they engage in the community, while preserving the email channel.
ComponentOne, provider of the Doc-To-Help authoring and publishing solution, is the underwriter for the project. ComponentOne focuses on providing its customers with innovative components, controls, tools, and solutions. “Doc-to-Help has been a long-time sponsor of the TECHWR-L list because we understand the value of sharing knowledge. We are pleased to support TechWhirl’s efforts to update and improve the community experience,” said Dan Beall, Doc-to-Help Product Manager.
The TechWhirl community has been active since 1993 when Eric Ray formed TECHWR-L or Technical Writer List. Eric had grown tired of working as a “lone” tech writer and wanted to connect with others in the industry, so he created the first list of its kind in the world. The migration of TECHWR-L to an online forum will be its third move, once from the Oklahoma State, then from LISTSERV and now from MailMan. Each time the technology gets better and the list is reorganized to keep up with trends in communication.
Founder Eric Ray commented, “‘I’m excited to see TechWhirl continuing to adapt and grow to meet the changing needs of technical communicators. These latest changes show great promise for all TechWhirl users.”
Interested people can join the new TechWhirl Community Forum at community.techwhirl.com.
In addition to the new forums, TechWhirl will continue to provide articles, tips, tricks and ideas for communication professionals and those interested in learning more about content management and technical communications at the current site, techwhirl.com, job listings at jobs.techwhirl.com, and the archive of 20 years of discussions at www.techwr-l.com.