When participating in a user community, like StackExchange or Reddit (or any other forum/bulletin board), what are the useful essentials that make it a good experience for you?
I'm trying to whittle out the dross to find a clean but effective interface that provides only what is necessary.
I read the responses on this thread about the Art of Community Creation, and I'm working my way through Designing Social Interfaces. In my research for designing an efficient community forum, I've joined about 20 different usergroups for the experience of interacting with them.
For example, I find that the following discussion post has too many options:
And the following example may be too spartan:
I understand that based on the intended use and focus of the forum there may be a need for specific information such as location that may not be used for other kinds of forums.
I'm following the forum social patterns on here, but for a user forum where they will share mainly Q&A discussions with some file sharing of an extremely specific and limited type - is there a list of 'must haves' or 'secondary needs' that I can follow?