The power of the community

As part of our new community focus I've been spending more time lurking in the ASP.NET
and related news groups.  Yesterday, I spent an hour in our new community
room reading newsgroup posts and answering them.  At first, I answered some of
the easier questions that did not require much research, but once those were resolved
I had to tackle some more difficult questions.  How did I find the answers I
was looking for though?  The answer is:  COMMUNITY
A few google searches provided me with the answers to many of the more complex issues
I came across.

I feel that it is imperative to have a strong community around our products and platform. 
Until recently, I was not sure how strong that community was.  Even in its infancy,
the support provided to everyone through community web sites, newsgroups, chats, bulletin
boards is astounding.   Today, if people put in the time to research they
could find the answers to the majority of their questions already online.  What
is even better is how easily developers can connect with each
other to exchange ideas and advice, leading to better software and stronger skills. 

The question that I pose to you is how can Microsoft and I help build a better
community around ASP.NET and our products (Visual Studio/Web Matrix).  Do we
need to foster more shared source community projects like
Is it that we need more community developed control offerings to ease web development? 
hosting?  What
would make your lives easier?  Let me know.

Also, I'll be in TechEd Dallas from June 1-6!  Should be fun, I'm planning on
hanging out at the ASP.NET booth and heckling the ASP.NET presenters in the sessions. 
Feel free to introduce yourself and rant ;)  Hoping to participate in the TechEdBloggers initiative. 
Very innovative, should be interesting!

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