The Lotus Partner Forum

February 23 2007

For over a dozen years, Lotus has connected with a community of business partners through a Notes discussion database called the Partner Forum.  As described on the "communities" section of IBM developerWorks:

The Partner Forum is a peer-to-peer discussion forum for IBM Business Partners who are focused on Lotus technologies. The forum enables the Business Partner community to exchange Lotus technical information with each other to better deliver solutions to our mutual customers. Lotus employees and Business Partners are encouraged to contribute questions and responses based on their areas of expertise in support of this common effort. Information posted becomes a valuable aid for all participants in the Partner Forum.
For the last few weeks, the Partner Forum participants have been discussing ways to increase participation in the Forum.  In general, there's a "what's said in the Forum, stays in the Forum" community norm (the Partner Forum community has a lot of norms), so I'm not out to re-hash or paraphrase those discussions here.

I agree that increased participation in the forum would be useful to all involved.  My own participation in the forum has declined over the last few years, both because my technical depth isn't as good as it used to be, and because the sales/marketing/market-oriented discussions that used to take place in the Forum now tend to take place on the weblogs (mine and others).  I also feel like the participation in blog discussions represents a much larger, and in some ways more mainstream, view of what's going on in the market.

If you are a partner, why do you or don't you participate in the Lotus Partner Forum?  What could be done differently to attract more partners to such a discussion forum?  What role can such a forum have in a market with many other ways for community discussion?

I'll start with some possible answers in the comments.

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