A recent discussion on the new partner Online Technical Community (OTC) forum talked about the future of the Dynamics GP forums. The thread was started after the three public forums on the new forum site were locked to prevent further posting. This change was made to avoid fragmenting the Microsoft Dynamics GP community between too many public forums and newsgroups.
It was me (guilty as charged) who requested that the forums be locked for the moment. To explain why, I need to go through the history behind the newsgroups and forums:
We originally had two private partner newsgroups:
and two public newsgroups:
Being based on internet Newsgroup technology, they could be accessed via the web pages above or any number of news reader tools and sites. However, the functionality offered was fairly limited as far as tracking, editing, marking as answer, etc.
Then a new public Community forum was created
So for a long time we had these 5 locations (2 private and 3 public). This was already breaking the community up and that does not include independent non-MS groups (such as the Tek Tips and Google Dynamics GP group).
Now the two private partner newsgroups have been consolidated to a new partner forum, see this post for details, New Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner Forum.
The new forum site allows for greater functionality and a much friendlier environment. If you cannot access the forum link, have a look at the New Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner Forum post for instructions to associate your Live ID with your company's partner account.
When we looked at the new Social forums landing page
We noticed that three public Microsoft Dynamics GP related groups had already been created by someone but had not yet been used. These groups were not created by the product or support teams or the team that handles communities.
Once people started using the new partner forum it was suspected that they would find and start using these three other forums. This is exactly what has happened.
The problem was that we now had six Microsoft public forums or newsgroups. This would fragment the Microsoft Dynamics GP community and weaken the benefits of all of them. You need to reach a "critical mass" of members on a forum or newsgroup for it to truly be a great resource. Dividing the membership across six locations would prevent that from happening.
I asked for clarification of the plan for the future of the public forums. We do plan to migrate the old public newsgroups to the new forums, but not yet. So in the meantime we will be locking down the three public forums.
I was hoping to have those forums hidden or locked before the partner forum came online, but it took a while to find the owner and decide what to do. There will be public forums based on this platform available sometime in the future, just not yet.
I hope this explains everything.
25-Jun-2009: Added information on associating Live ID.
11-May-2010: Follow up post as the newsgroups are being phased out. See Microsoft Responds to the Evolution of Communities.