Web participation tools: Comments, Forums, Chats, Q&As, on-line interviews…


Opening our web to participation enriches the content and helps us to create loyal readers who will come back more often (user engagement). This article will discuss the different possibilities of participation and some of the tools available

Normally we want our websites to be alive, and display updated, fresh content. Many customers that have hired me to build a website for them hope that to have a website published makes getting clients and business contacts something automatic, like magical. The reality is that a website requires heavy maintenance and updating, and I do not mean here technical aspects, that are obviously essential. I’m talking about generating content, engage audiences and give them the opportunity to participate.

Web participation can be offered in different ways.

Comments. Following an article we can allow users to comment on it. This option can be moderated or unmoderated. Moderation makes the comments less dynamic and includes a factor of “censorship” that can arouse suspicions among readers. But on the other hand, it is true that there are plenty of trolls willing to insult and be disrespectful, hiding behind the anonymity. Freedom of speech has limits.
Web Applications Reviews: Virtually every type Publishing Solutions such as Blogging Platforms, and CMS (Content Management System) facilitate this option:

Besides, there are other independent on-line platforms that can be configured into any web (embedding the comments)

Discussion Forums. Unlike comments, in the case of discussion forums it is the users who initiate the topics for discussion. Usually Forums are used to query and gather feedback from other users who may have more experience than us in any matter. They are also subject to the same problems of moderation and may also have queries or responses with undeclared interests, e.g. hidden marketing activity. Normally they do need to have moderators. In many occasions they are very active users in which we delegate power to moderate.

Chats. In this system users communicate in real time, i.e. comments are posted live, as if it were a talk. Chat systems are booming, especially since the chats have become popular in mobile phones with solutions like WhatsApp Telegram.

On-line Q&A An on-line Q&A is a way of holding a session of questions and answers with a guest speaker. It can also be seen as an interview in which we can open the question turn to the floor. It is a form of popular participation among the on-line newspapers and magazines. Also for corporate communications and content marketing online. It is used both for chats with celebrities and to talk with experts or personalities. There are tools for organising the Q&A sessions both with chat and video:

Click here if you would like to know more about how to publish a live Q&A

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