How Am I Supposed to Find the Right Forum?

I’ll admit it–the MSDN Forums have grown to the point where it’s very difficult to find the appropriate forum to ask a question in, especially if you are new to the forums.  If you just get dumped off on the homepage of the MSDN Forums you’ll likely have to CTRL+F on the page to find what you are looking for.  Even more confusing for new users is to figure out exactly what technology you’re having trouble with when you’re stuck.  You’re developing a WinForms app in C# using a SQL database to populate a DataGridView and you can’t get it quite right.  What technology are you really having trouble with?  WinForms?  C#?

In the past, these questions got dumped into “General” forums, such as the Visual Studio General forum.  That forum grew to be unmanageable, and the forum moderators such couldn’t keep up moving all of those questions to appropriate forums and trying to answer the scattering of questions that were arriving there.

I’m happy to announce that we’ve come up with a “stop-gap” solution involving pretty no new technology:  the “Where is the Forum For…?” forum.  In this forum, new users can ask for guidance in using the forums–especially where they should post their development questions.  No technical questions will be answered in the forums, but the community moderators have agreed to help guide new users through the forums by monitoring that forum closely.  Once again, I don’t know how other companies are able to maintain a great forum support community without giving that community the power they need to be effective and help…

In the future, I’m hoping to leverage technologies such as tagging and text analysis to help automatically filter questions into the correct forum, but for now, this seems better than forcing users to use the Find function in their browsers…

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