In April a new MSDN/TechNet recognition system was deployed across the entire Microsoft Technical Communities. This system incorporates points, achievements, leaderboards, statistics, areas of expertise, affiliations and badges/labels. I have gotten so many questions about the new program that I thought I would share my experience so far.
First and foremost, the MSDN, TechNet and Expression network is bigger than just the Forums. There are many sites and applications that our community contributes to and we want to recognize all contributions. Beyond that the existing recognition system mixed the concepts of quality contributions and quantity of contributions. This makes it hard for community members to quickly know who to trust and what content to trust.
So in designing a new system Microsoft Communities continually asked the following questions:
- How do we help our community determine what community content to trust?
- How do we encourage our community to contribute quality content?
Fun Fact! The new recognition system is powered by Windows Azure!
The process of gathering all the data has been going on for a number of months and as of today, for example, one of my blogs has all the posts up to 2009 accredited to my achievement record. So I’d guess that by the end of this Summer, all my participation in the CRM community will have been evaluated and posted to my profile.
A profile looks like this today:
The following discussion is excerpted and amplified from the extensive help topic located here.
The Recognition System rewards your activities across our network of sites and applications. From those activities we drive the two different “economies” that exist in the Recognition System:
- Recognition Points - Points are given based on the quality of your contributions as determined by other members of the community.
- Achievements Earned - Achievements are given based on your participation in the community. They are given at three (3) different levels depending upon the criteria required to complete and earn the achievement.
Going back to our two original questions then (see the above FAQ question) a community member can use the Recognition Points to help determine who and therefore what content to trust. Recognition Points and the Achievements encourage the community to provide quality content.
The first section is your Recognition Points and is shown next to the Recognition Points icon (and is shown next to the Recognition Points icon . It is the combined total of points awarded based on the quality of your contributions as determined by other community members.
The second section is your Achievements Earned. There are three different levels you can earn achievements at:
So again, using my profile you get something like this:
How do I earn points?
Points are earned by first participating and contributing positively to the community across our network of sites and applications. Then as others recognize your contribution (say by voting or downloading your sample or rating your content), you’ll receive Recognition points. Points aren’t earned by purely participating, that’s what achievements are for.
How do I earn achievements?
Achievements are earned by participating in the community across our network of sites and applications. You can earn achievements at three (3) different levels.
It should be really easy to earn your first few bronze level achievements. Complete your profile or download and rate a contribution from the Gallery and you’ll be rewarded with your first achievement.
Getting silver achievements are a bit more work. They require you to both contribute and for others to acknowledge your contributions. They require you to use multiple features of an application or site. There is definitely a sense of accomplishment in getting any of these achievements.
Finally there are gold achievements. These are rare. They take significant contributions to the community, require significant acknowledgement of your contributions and require investing deeply in applications or sites in our network. If you see someone with a gold achievement it’s worth your time to follow their activities and their leadership.
What can I do with the points and achievements earned?
Today, you can use them to demonstrate your contributions to the community. Points will also be used as we add to the recognition system for leaderboards, statistics or area expert recognition.
In the future your recognition status may also be used for opening up more functionality on a site or receiving special invitations to programs such as the Microsoft MVP or Microsoft Community Contributor (MCC) award programs.