Maybe I’m getting too old for this s##t, but I’m yet to really get a handle on how Oracle want to interact with real people on the ground. Oracle Communities is a fairly new site that I’ve not explored so much because of no OBIEE area. My Oracle Support has feedback and comment sections, but in general usability stinks. A support blog is torn down and then reappears. Oracle Forums are popular as ever but the software blows and some forums (eg OBIEE) are withering under a very high noise to quality-content ratio. Oh, and Oracle Mix (“Bringing Oracle Customers, Employees, and Developers together”) too, which looked quite neat but I have no idea how that’s supposed to fit it the picture.
Thriving online communities are worth many times over the sum of the parts, but I have a “real” job to do as well as trying to keep up with the numerous sites (and these are just the official Oracle ones) and establishing a presence on each. There’s no point a person having to ask a question in multiple locations just to make sure everyone who can answer it will see it. And unless you have lots of experts in one place you can end up with one professed expert doling out answers with no-one to challenge them.
As an example of a thriving online community (and this is a prime example for any Web2.0-social-medja-bullsh##ter to take heed of) I would offer up : Oracle-L. A mailing list based on email. Not very cutting edge huh? But it’s followed by a huge number of real experts, and it’s moderated enough that there’s no rubbish on it. Who cares if it’s not written in flash, HTML5, or doesn’t have a twitter feed? The content is superb, and the delivery mechanism suffices. Job done. Sure, it would be nice to have recognition points, user profiles, blah blah blah. But build on the thing that matters – people who know their stuff, and content. Oh, and delivery mechanism. I want RSS (or email, I suppose), I don’t want to have to visit five different sites to find out what’s new.
Maybe it’s too many chefs spoiling the broth at Oracle (i.e. everyone knows there should be one site, but so long as it’s their site). But seriously guys, it shouldn’t be too hard to have a single hub of interaction. Should it?