Short, concise description of the idea
An additional support forum that allows beginning LiveJournal users to help each other out without having to worry about strict administration.
Full description of the idea
Although LiveJournal's current Support area is incredibly helpful, there are many requests which are made that cannot be answered according to the rules outlined in the support guide. In addition to this, all request responses are screened from a requester and are accepted by an administrator instead of by the requester him or herself. What I am proposing is a separate Support forum for "unofficial" help responses made by users. The difference between this "Simple Support" forum and the current one would be in its administration structure, which will be explained in detail in suggestions for implementation. Note that this second support area would not be used to replace the current Support area.
An ordered list of benefits
allows for immediate responses from other users in regards to questions
allows more volunteers to help with the site
encourages more volunteering by ensuring that a volunteer's response will be seen by the requester
filters out unanswerable/inappropriate requests from the current Support area
gives less experienced users who want to help the chance to actually do so
gives users who intend to volunteer a chance at working with actual requests before volunteering in Support
provides an additional forum for help if FAQs or the Support forum is insufficient
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
conflicts with official LiveJournal support information
database strain in creating a new forum for support
possibility of users suggesting irreversible unwanted changes due to lack of knowledge
possible abuse of the system or user harassment
An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
Support points would be distributed differently. As a rule, to encourage users to volunteer in the official Support forum, all requests would be given a one point value if answered. A user would close a request, and a notification would be sent to the corresponding administrator(s) of the request category. The administrator would approve the point allotment for the request and thus give points to the user. This prevents abuse in regards to support points as well as decreases the amount of conflicting responses received, as everything will be approved by the administrator(s) of the request category.
There wouldn't be a separate group of administrators for the Simple Support board. The only administrators that would be involved would be the previously appointed Support board admins or privs.
All requests would be accessible to the requester, however, responses are screened from the general community until approved and assigned a point value. This way, there isn't an issue of other users stealing responses & reposting them and incorrect knowledge (if submitted) is not spread beyond the individual user.
Simple Support points in addition to support points for volunteers. A Simple Support point could correspond to .5 support points, or, the default point value of one point could be given to all Simple Support requests. This would encourage the use of the official Support forum in displaying benefits for volunteering in Support.
E-mail notification for both the user and volunteer if a response has been accepted. Separate e-mails would be sent for a response that was approved by the requester but was not acceptable to the administrator, telling the requester that the response they received was not acceptable. This helps to eliminate incorrect or conflicting data being introduced to the Support forums.
Limit the categories that can be asked about. This is so that a user is encouraged to use the official Support forums. Allow certain requests to be sent to Support if they are inappropriate for the Simple Support forum. The limiting of support points that can be awarded will help to dissuade volunteers from answering complex requests in Simple Support.