Information when you need

I strongly believe in the power of the community.  One of the most important things our customers need is access to information that they need and when they need.  We do provide product documentation and other kinds of information – but I always say that what we provide is only a small percentage of what the collective community knows about our products.  We have been looking for ways to let the community share what they know with each other in an easy and discoverable manner.    


Historically, we had been relying on phone support for customers almost exclusively.  Given the online world that we live in, we have been looking for ways to enable online support to help developers get information easily and from a variety of sources.  We are investing in online features such as a federated search technology of community content and documentation, code sharing sites, MSDN Wiki where users can add their own content, a single navigation bar on all of our online sites to make navigation easier, and we will continue to invest in our forums.


The forums on MSDN, ASP.NET and IIS.NET are a great way to foster this type of interaction between community members and also between the community and Microsoft. Answering a forum question not only helps the person who asked the question, but also helps all the other community members who have the same question over time, as the forums provide a permanent record of questions and answers that are easily searchable.


Our goal is to grow the answer rate across our forums so that you can get information in a timely manner.



Comments (10)

  1. Vijay says:

    Increasing the response rate and searchability on the forums is definitely a step in the right direction. The discoverability of information, when needed, is going to be a key differentiator of the online resources available to customers.

  2. Joel Lyons says:

    What is the relationship between MSDN Forums and the Microsoft newsgroups (  Should we expect much activity in the newsgroups any more?

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    Joel: There isn’t a relationship today between the MSDN forums and the Newsgroups you mentioned. However our commitments to the newsgroups (in terms of supporting MSDN Subscribers) has not changed. Customers have been requesting the forums as a seperate channel for several years and we listened with the launch of VS 2005.  

    The truth is that shortly after launching the forums customers have been voting with thier feet and traffic for the forums and the daily post volume in the forums is almost twice what it is in the newsgroups.  We aren’t turning off thew newsgroups, but we have turned on a new choice for support.  For some more perspective you can read this post:  

    There may be some opperunities with future releases to converge elements (search results, cross posts, etc) of both platforms, but I don’t have any solid plans I can share with you at the moment. I’ll simply say that ideally we’d take the best of both worlds but today we offer choice.

  4. Pradeep says:


    I agree that information provided in docs attached to a product are not always good even for a simple user since he’s trying to understand some of the tech terms used.

    Is there any way to leverage the newly found community systems like Facebook, Orkut etc. since the Forums are getting out of date?


  5. MSDNArchive says:

    Pradeep: Would you mind going into exactly what sort of scenario you are envisioning with the social networking angle? We are looking at how we enhance our online communitieis in the future with both QnA and better profile systems.

  6. Pradeep says:

    It’s just a very vague idea!

    When I look at Forums today, I feel really bored and too lazy to open up each forum to see what’s going on.

    Other than that, having multiple forums makes me dizzy.

    What I am trying to suggest, maybe, is to make things more fun so that people – real common tech-knowledgeless – actually enjoy coming to your fora and discussing their problems and also making friends at the same time.

    It is also possible in such systems to get a more real feedback of the people actually using the systems know the people they’re talking to.

    Still, its vague and you have a lot to think about.

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  10. Over the past year we have experimented with a few different ways of providing information and help to

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