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Journaling Forum Question
Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:56 AM
I am about to conduct a beta test for my product, which is soon to be launched. As part of the requirement to become a beta tester, participants must agree to journal their experiences with the product at least 3 times a week.
My thought was to create a page on my site for each participant. On each of those site pages would be a forum for each individual participant to journal his or her experience. This way I can monitor responses, answer questions, and just generally make sure that they are actually journaling the required number of times.
Do you think I should keep these pages searchable or block the search engines from crawling them. Any advice would be very much appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:38 AM
I suppose the answer depends on whether or not you want the world at large to see the results of your beta testing.
Almost by definition, a beta version will have bugs, weaknesses and problems. And your beta testers are going to find them, report on them, discuss them. Do you want those bugs, etc, to be common knowledge after you have released a clean version of the product? Especially as your potential costomers might not appreciate the fact that the forum relates to the beta (they might not even know what a beta version is.)
Personally, I would not want to encourage visitors to the forum, other than the people for whom it is intended. But your goals might be different.
Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:14 AM
If it were me, I wouldn't simply block them from search engine crawling, I'd put them behind a password so only members of the beta test team could access them, ever.
Things like robots.txt or "noindex" metas will work for bots that are compliant, but without a password-protected front end these pages could still get out through other channels.
I've worked on software development teams, both as a tester and as a designer, and I think it's important for your beta testers to be able to speak frankly and openly about both the stuff they like and (perhaps more importantly) the stuff they don't like, without them (or you) having to worry about editing their comments because they might be seen by the public at some point.
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