Moderating the MSDN Forums can be tough work. There are posts to be edited, questions to be moved, trouble users to deal with, and of course, questions to be answered. Internally, we’ve been using an application called “Answerme” to help ease the burden of this moderation. Answerme’s essentially a webpage that allows us to add little pieces of metadata to the forums. Outside of just the stuff that is exposed on the live forum site, we track extra metadata about the forums, such as what product team owns what forum, or what the internal customer support status of an individual question is. Most importantly, Answerme allows us to assign questions to each other and soon, to collaboratively tag questions and search on those tags. Yea, we joined the tagging bandwagon. And, finally, to give credit where credit’s due, Answerme was written as a pet project by Josh, and was meant to last for about six months. Nearly a year and a half later, Answerme’s still here, and won’t be going anywhere for awhile… 🙂
Now, Answerme’s a great tool, but it has a key shortcoming–it’s a tool that only works inside Microsoft. This means that our community moderators–the real lifeblood of the forums community–are left out in the cold, with only the forum site itself as a tool.
I am going to be working on an IE toolbar for moderators of the Microsoft Forums that will allow moderators to have the same style of functionality that is available through Answerme internally–advanced search on the forums, question assignment, and community tagging. I’d also like to add on some nifty features like forum thread bookmarking. I’m planning on making this a project on CodePlex, and develop the entire project, specs and prototype to 1.0 release, with the help of the community moderators.
What would you like to see as part of a moderator toolbar?