MSDN Forums

Have you checked out the MSDN Forums lately?


Customers continually tell me the most important community feature is being able to find quick, accurate answers to technical questions - using online communities as a way to stay connected and leverage information.  The MSDN Forums have already been a huge success for early adopters of Visual Studio 2005 who needed a place to post questions and get quick answers.  The forums allow customers to search a growing archive of technical questions and answers and if you can’t find it via search--go ahead, ask a new question!


My favorite feature is the integration of the forums with the help system in Visual Studio .NET 2005 or SQL Server 2005 - there’s no need to leave the product to get help.  To search the forums, go to Community > Ask a Question and search for your question.


Our goal is to have a healthy peer to peer developer support/answer ecosystem system in addition to the pay for support programs that we already sponsor.  We measure health in the developer forum community with numbers that look at usage, answer rates, and time to answer. We also hold product teams in developer division accountable for the health of their communities.  We encourage them strongly to make sure customers can leverage them to increase their level of success with our released and unreleased products.


Last I checked, my team told me we had about 40,000 users registered on the forums and 75% of their questions were being answered – over 20,000 answers since we launched the forums in April.  Through the forums, the product teams are able to have conversations directly with our customers—allowing our product teams to see customer pain points more clearly--and often allowing our customers to learn why we made particular design decisions.  A significant percentage of answers during our beta releases have come directly from Microsoft employees on the product teams.  We still have a long way to go, but we are excited about the direction we are heading.


What's next?  Stay tuned for additional products/technologies and non-English forums to be represented in the near future.  Visit the forums and let us know what you think.  You can post feedback directly in our Suggestions Forum.



Comments (7)

  1. jiangsheng says:

    I recieved an email from you

    Dear Sheng Jiang,

    Thank you for being a great contributor to Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.

    You have been nominated to receive the Award for Customer Excellence. This award recognizes your extraordinary contribution to the Visual Studio 2005 product and will be shipped to you without charge. Please click the following link to arrange shipment of your award:

    (link omitted)

    Should you have any questions about this award, please contact (email omitted).

    All the best,

    S. Somasegar

    Corporate Vice President,

    Microsoft Developer Division

    It comes from the domain A whois search shows the domain is registered to:

    Saltmine Inc.

    710 Second Avenue

    Suite 1100

    Seattle, WA 98104


    Domain Name: MICROSOFT-ACE.COM

    Why Microsoft is awarding customers through a 3rd party company?

  2. TAG says:

    Adding to above comment – SSL certificate for it was expired several days ago !

  3. Kunal Sikka says:

    The Award for Customer Excellence program is very much a Microsoft program and offer is a genuine offer. The fulfillment of the award is handled by an external vendor. Very much like ancillary processes of other Microsoft programs are handled by vendors – eg: the survey of the MVP program.

    Re: the SSL certificate. The vendor involved informed us rather late that their SSL certificate has expired. We have asked the vendor to update their SSL security certificate ASAP and we are expecting that to happen any day.

  4. Ken Lin says:

    Oh? Award for Customer Excellence? Only when you contribute on VS2005? As I am always answering in MSDN Connection newsgroup in Hong Kong.

  5. stewart_whaley says:

    I think it’s great that Microsoft is actively trying to answer community questions, but when I look at responses like this, "Closing thread due to inactivity for over 20 days. Please post the issue again if appropriate." (See: Obviously this is of little help.

  6. Josh Ledgard says:

    Hi Stewart. Clearly this thread was not resolved in accordance with the guidance we’ve posted. The MS and non-MS moderators should be following the moderation guidelines outlined here ( ).

    What I’ve done is unmarked that reply as an answer and actually deleted the reply. I’ev also contacted the team internally that posted this reply to get them on-board. If you see any other threads like this don’t hesitate to ping me at

    There are several things wrong with that resolution including the fact that the answer tag actually has weight in search results and we don’t want to boost junk in the search rankings. 🙂

  7. Wow. It has been a long time since my last post. I’ve never gone an entire month without blogging since

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