When I say “difficult users” here, I do not mean trolls and other misbehaving folk but users (and people we would like to be users) who pose challenges to admins because they are digital immigrants, technophobe, or simply inert and therefore hesitate to try new technologies where existing technologies seem to work reasonably well or they have difficulties finding their way around your forum, create a new post, or what not.
I have seen these types of users mentioned here and there on meta mainly in two kinds of context:
- UX and feature discussions, where they are mentioned as a reminder that what seems easy or intuitive to most of us, may not work for others.
- Community management questions where admins wonder “Why are users not behaving like I expect them to?” or "How can I get these people to move to a Discourse forum?
The idea of this topic is to provide a space for exchange about the various difficult user types, the concrete challenges they pose and how to work with them. The topic may also help those of us who run forums with many or even a majority of these users, to identify each other. It’s good to know you’re not alone
Finally, let me say that I do not mean to use “difficult user” in any prerogative way whatsoever. In contrast, I believe these people are an important resource for us as forum owners or community managers because they identify real problems that we could not even remotely imagine ourselves. That’s why I think the very first challenge with these users is to get them to articulate their problem (without shame).
So I’ll offer this as a first question: how do you get difficult users to communicate with you?