Monday, January 3

Big Question - Should It Continue?

I've been moderating the Big Question for more than four years at this point. For me, it's been a great way to foster conversation in the blogosphere.

In the past few months, activity (posts, comments, comments on posts) on the big questions has seen a big drop.

So - here's the big question for January 2011:

Should the Big Question continue?

And if you think it should but with changes, then what are those changes?

How to Respond:

Option 1 - Simply put your thoughts in a comment below.

Option 2 -

Step 1 - Post in your blog (please link to this post).
Step 2 - Put a comment in this blog with an HTML ready link that I can simply copy and paste (an HTML anchor tag). I will only copy and past, thus, I would also recommend you include your NAME immediately before your link. So, it should look like:

Tony Karrer - e-Learning 2.0

or you could also include your blog name with something like:

Tony Karrer - e-Learning 2.0 : eLearningTechnology

Posts so far (and read comments as well):


Anonymous said...

Since I just discovered this blog today, I would certainly like to see it continue. I've learned so much from just reading the archived blogs and responses.

Eloise said...

As an occasional (and relatively recent) responder, I'd like to say yes.

I tend to only respond to questions where I have a strong opinion and some experience to back it up. That probably means only about 1 in 3 topics. That doesn't mean the others are not interesting, just I don't feel motivated to answer them.

One thing that could help would mean more work for you... about half-way through the month and perhaps on the last day, a post with links to all the answers, both to prompt me to read them and to remind me if I haven't answered already would be nice. It could probably be largely automated too I imagine.

Tony Karrer said...

Good suggestion Eloise.

Jason said...

I've been posting for the last 4 - 5 months, since I found this blog and started my own blog pretty simultaneously. I've enjoyed the big questions. They've given me something to think about and it's kinda fun to be part of a tapestry of conversation.

I know it's frustrating to have participation drop as much as it has. I've missed the number of posts that I've seen in months past. But stick with it! Maybe try some new outreach, looking for other ways to get the word out that a big question is ready to consider. And maybe try more frequent questions? Once a week might be too much, but maybe once very two weeks?

Anonymous said...

I have been posting responses to the majority of the Big Questions for over two years now and would love to see it remain. For me it allows for many thought-provoking reads from other bloggers, chances for self-reflection via my own responses and also exposure to new learning professionals and new perspectives.

I, for one, would like to see it continue. I do however, imagine it is a chore to keep it maintained, which you, Tony, have done exceptionally well. You may want to have Questions posted by "guest bloggers" to switch it up a bit and give yourself a bit of a break from it, if needed.

Also a marketing push may be in order too. I would recruit your regular responders for this effort. FYI: I always encourages others to respond including tweeting the question and tweeting my responses.



Tony Karrer said...

A couple of people have suggested doing more outreach/marketing. I'm very curious what you are thinking about? Does it get more bloggers to participate? Or are you thinking about something else?

The idea of a Guest Question person is great. Who's up for that?

Anonymous said...

Tony, I've been an occasional responder too - sometimes I do a full post, other times a comment, and yet other times, too busy for anything other than reading. But I like it and it gets me thinking. But, I can imagine it is a challenge to create and if readership is down, you've gotta wonder...

a Big Q hashtag on twitter with some curating (more work, tho).
Maybe a poll to generate interest about questions.
There is also the "carinval" option that you might want to consider: if you are looking to switch things up a bit, but keep a similar type of interaction.

I agree with Eloise, a reminder is a good idea.


Jeff Goldman said...


I am up to being a guest question person, just let me know when. It would be an honor.

Regarding marketing. I am thinking more participation and maybe even overflow onto Twitter.



Tony Karrer said...

Holly's thought about carnival vs. LCB is interesting. What's the difference - rotation or not? What else? Seems like the HR carnival gets good uptake.

Jeff - I will definitely take you up on the offer.

Shaun said...

I think this is a great resource, I myself haven't been responding as frequently. But I am lurking. How are the page views? Are people coming back monthly or later in the month to see responses? A hashtag and a google group or some sort of subscription with notifications would likely serve to increase activity.

RK Prasad said...

It should. Let's not have any debate about it. It is good forum for qualified professionals. The learning is tangible and substantial.

Let's think why the participation dropped after such a successful tenure of almost 4 years. I think the answer may be a simple one. Readers find the questions not provoking or relevant enough to respond. Or they may not have anything interesting to share.

We as readers should probably have a list of contemporary topics/ questions to choose from.

Tony Karrer said...

Thanks for the continued input. I'm definitely open to questions. And I think the idea of a guest host is a good one. Maybe they can own the question for that month and take special responsibility to review posts and comment. I would prefer if there were 10 people who jumped in to help make that happen and would take responsibility each month to participate.

Claudia said...

I like the concept, the monthly question and responses.

However, posting once a month could be why the interactivity is down. After 4 weeks of no new posts people forget to return.

Perhaps supplementing with weekly guest posts on corresponding topics relating to the question of month could bring more people in and keep them coming back.

I'd love to submit guest posts:
claudiavandermilt @ (minus the spaces, of course)

Anonymous said...

Most of the Big Questions have been around corporate learning. Would it make sense if you open it up for questions related to the education sector? After all, this blog is on learning and technology. So, why not education? There are a whole lot of things that educationists and people in corporate learning can learn from each other.

Tony Karrer said...

Instead of guest posts - I wonder if we could simply have a few specific outposts during each month? I.e., individual blogs that would carry forward the conversation?

In terms of corporate vs. education - I agree that I'm more focused on corporate as that's what I know more. Happy to have help.

Harold Jarche said...

Perhaps there could be a voting system for responses and the best ones get a gift certificate for the ASTD bookstore.

Tony Karrer said...

It doesn't hurt for us to ask ASTD about some kinds of rewards, but ...

Would that get you to contribute Harold? I would think that there would be a whole lot of other factors that would be more important.

Robert Kennedy III said...

Personally, I have not been able to contribute as much as in the past, but I actually like to read the BIG Question on many months. Yes, I know the idea is to contribute more :-). I promise, I will. However, the BIG question does get me thinking on many months and on days where I am not clear on a direction, its one of the places I check to see what people are thinking about that particular month. Like Eloise, I sometimes only respond if I have a strong though about the topic. But, I can definitely say that there are instances where I didn't have a strong opinion but checked some of the responses and my interest heightened. Continue the BIG Question. As some others suggested, soliciting questions might be a help. An iPad for those whose questions are chosen :-D. Steve Jobs will sponsor this. I know you are his BFF. :-D

Tony Karrer said...

I'm trying to schedule a call with interested people who want to help with the big question going forward. Please go to:

And select the times and then send me an email:

So I can send you the call in information.

analee said...

From now on, I will never forget to open your blog.. thanks for the ideas.. it really helps... I like the question and answer portion.