As part of taking ownership of our community, we should also consider how we can attract experts.

If the site is only populated by "normal users" then experts might not want to participate because the content is too low-level. But once we get some experts aboard, they can raise the level by providing high-quality answers, and also to ask their own high-level questions (perhaps even ones that normal users can't even answer). Raising the content level gives us more momentum, more users, and best of all, better quality.


  1. What kind of people (professions, backgrounds, anything) do we need to attract?
  2. Where do we find these people? How can we contact them?
  3. When we do contact them, what do we say?
  4. How can we make our site more attractive to these people? What's holding them back?

7 Answers 7


Here's a bunch of examples of experts we've encountered in dealing with very early parenthood

Pregnancy Experts

  • OB/GYN's
  • Midwives
  • Doulas
  • Birthing class teachers
  • Labor and Delivery Nurses

Baby/Newborn Experts

  • Pediatricians
  • Lactation Consultants
  • Mother/Baby Nurses
  • Academics researching child development
  • Midwives - interesting. I'm related to one.
    – user106
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 12:02

Other professionals to possibly add to the list would be:

  • Child Psychologist
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Pediatric Occupational Therapist
  • Pediatric Physical Therapist
  • Special Education Teachers/Professionals

These professionals are often seeking resources for the parents/families they serve and they also deal with many parenting questions daily. Their expertise would surely raise the quality of information.

I was introduced to this site by a Developmental Specialist that shared a post about it. I linked it to my facebook page yesterday and already had another Speech Language Pathologist thank me for the connection. Perhaps adding badges for linking to other sites would be helpful.


Speaking as a former foster parent myself, I would add foster parents and social workers to the list. These are people who deal with a wide variety of children with different levels of social skills. That makes them good both as a resource for answers, as well as a good source of interesting questions. I will see about putting an ad on the bulletin board at the county office, and maybe in some parenting classes.


One of the groups of experts I've been thinking about are Doulas. The problem I've had pointed out to me is that many are pretty bummed out by all the bad information out there in so many parenting forums. I think to over come that we need to position the site with a angle toward allowing the good information to float to the surface and the bad information to sink to oblivion.


Thinking about who would be relevant "experts" (people with professional expertise in the field), I came up with ideas like teachers (for school-aged kids) and midwives etc. (for very small kids).

We could reach out to various national associations and ask to have an ad or a small article in their regular newsletters. if such articles or ads require payment, I'm sure we can get some limited funding through Stack Exchange. We should be able to use our elevator pitch for some of the content.

The goal should be to make the individuals aware and curious. I don't think we can (or even want!) to get specific organizations officially backing us. It's the individual brains that would be valuable to the site.


Excellent suggestions have been given, I have a couple more (focused on the people useful for little kids).

What kind of people (professions, backgrounds, anything) do we need to attract?

Parents who have been through Early Intervention programs generally know a LOT, and are some of the most active helpers of other parents I know.

People who work in service agencies such as Health Departments, etc. Often these people act as Service Coordinators for children in Early Intervention, and know of tons of resources (though often very localized).

Where do we find these people? How can we contact them?

Call Early Intervention programs (usually listed by county or state).

When we do contact them, what do we say?

Many of them are trying to build social network sites for their families. Yet since each county tries to build it's own social network site there just are not enough users to make it work. I'm sure many of them would love to have their families be able to access a site like SE, especially if there's a discussion of the additional functions besides the Q&A area (chatrooms, etc.).

How can we make our site more attractive to these people? What's holding them back?

Some things which might attract them:

Show them how to do private chat rooms for families. Service coordinators are generally required to contact families at least monthly with resources. These professionals carry massive caseloads and are always short on time. If they can do that with a scheduled chat time (so they can interact with several families at once), they might find that useful.

Show them how tags could be used to alert providers from their program that one of their families has a question. Though this seems like it might border on being abusive of the tag system and maybe some use of the @ symbol would be better (I don't know, I'll leave that up to you all who know a lot more about the systems than I do).

The issues I would immediately see are:

  1. I would want my kids and families to have some way of identifying service providers or professionals from their program.

  2. How is information protected? Our kids and families are vulnerable, I'd want to know what security is in place before I referred my families.

  3. The answers need to be accurate and evidence based. Most of us in these programs feel overwhelmed by bad information from television, the internet, toy companies, etc. We're exhausted from spending half of our available time with our families just trying to undo the damage that's been done by people convincing them to put an iPad with "learning games" in front of their kids for two hours per day (as an example).


Identifying who the experts are and how to reach them are probably the simpler steps in the process. Motivating participation and especially active participation will be much harder. Some thoughts:

  • The people we are trying to attract are in helping professions. People in helping professions are generally motivated by working directly with others, seeing patients get better, seeing someone smile because they have achieved some success, or hearing a thank you when they have held someone's hand through a difficult time. These people already give a lot in the course of their work. We are trying to entice them to give even more over the Internet to people they will never meet. I am not sure anonymous upvotes will motivate many of these people to extend themselves beyond their work day, which may be extended already. We need to find other sources of motivation.
  • Beyond upvoting and badges, is there a way we can express appreciation that is more personal? Is there a way we can advertise that “lactation consultant Jane Smart has joined Parenting SE this month – please post any nursing questions you have.”
  • People are motivated by building something. Perhaps we need a vision of what it is we are creating that we could ask these experts to be a part of. We should be able to describe in exciting terms just what we are trying to build here, why it is important, what needs we are fillings that are not being filled elsewhere, and why the SE format is so great.
  • While advertising within an answer would be inappropriate, experts can advertise their websites, books, or blogs in their profile. Whenever I see a particularly good answer, I always checkout the profile - I am sure others do too. Our site could be a way for experts to draw more folks to their message. Perhaps there is also a way for them to feed any answers they write on SE into their personal or business blog.

Here is an interesting TED talk by Dan Ariely that discusses studies on motivation.

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