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How the Heck do I choose the right Forum to post to

    Question

  • Surely I should be able to go to "My Threads", chose the Forum I want to post to and post my question.  Why is it so hard to select the Forum?  I'm going round and round in circles getting nowhere.  If this interface had been designed by anyone in our organisation, it would not have been put into production!
    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:55 AM

Answers

  • I'm sorry you're frustrated.  I acknowledge that it's awkward.  Here are the steps I use, which I consider to be the cleanest, most obvious approach to getting the right forum selected.  And by obvious I mean that the information is clear; as opposed to the technique being easily learned or "discoverable", which I admit that it's not.

    1)  Go to Forums Home (or My Forums Threads) using the left side bar navigation. (Specifically not "My Threads")

    2) If you have selected forums, clear them by clicking the Clear link (next to "Selected forums")

    3) Choose "View All" next to the "Forums" list

    4) Choose the forum you want to post to from the list. (Hopefully this list is easy enough for you to to navigate.) And click Submit.

    5) Click "Ask a Question" at the top left of the left side bar.

    Once you get to asking your question, it will clearly indicate which forum you are posting in, and if you don't like your choice you can click "Change" and select a different forum, but this selector will force you to use a slightly different interface with a two-stage hierarchy broken into two list boxes rather than a tree.

    (OK I see your pain point.)

    It would be nice if they:

    * Made a single consistent interface for selecting a forum.  (The one that's available in the Forums Home or My Forums Threads is not great, but usable/tolerable, IMO.)
    * Made the forum more easily selectable from the "Change" screen mentioned above (after you have clicked "Ask a Question")
    * Made the "Ask a question" button accessible at all times (as a quick link)

    And just to cover all the bases (based on your subject text alone), if the problem is more that you don't know which forum is appropriate, then there is a forum called "Where is the forum For ...?" where you can get help with that and someone will triage your issue.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:52 PM
  • So I use "Quick Access" to choose "Forums Home" or "My Forums" to select and go to a particular Forum.  When I get there, I click  "Ask a Question".  This gets me back to the Question page, which has no idea of the Forum Page I just came from and presents me with the same list of "Forum Categories" - so the whole cycle repeats endlessly!

    How do I get out of it?

    I still can't reproduce your problem.  This procedure so far is always working for me:

    1. Quick Access
    2. Forums Home
    3. View All
    4. (Expand tree nodes and check exactly one forum checkbox)
    5. Submit
    6. Ask Question

    I always end up at a "new thread" page that is destined to post in the forum that I selected.

    Do you get different results?  And if so then which forum are you trying to post in?

    [Or are you trying to go to "My Forums" rather than "Forums Home"?  If so, did you refine your forum selection down to exactly one forum before posting?]

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:14 PM

All replies

  • I'm sorry you're frustrated.  I acknowledge that it's awkward.  Here are the steps I use, which I consider to be the cleanest, most obvious approach to getting the right forum selected.  And by obvious I mean that the information is clear; as opposed to the technique being easily learned or "discoverable", which I admit that it's not.

    1)  Go to Forums Home (or My Forums Threads) using the left side bar navigation. (Specifically not "My Threads")

    2) If you have selected forums, clear them by clicking the Clear link (next to "Selected forums")

    3) Choose "View All" next to the "Forums" list

    4) Choose the forum you want to post to from the list. (Hopefully this list is easy enough for you to to navigate.) And click Submit.

    5) Click "Ask a Question" at the top left of the left side bar.

    Once you get to asking your question, it will clearly indicate which forum you are posting in, and if you don't like your choice you can click "Change" and select a different forum, but this selector will force you to use a slightly different interface with a two-stage hierarchy broken into two list boxes rather than a tree.

    (OK I see your pain point.)

    It would be nice if they:

    * Made a single consistent interface for selecting a forum.  (The one that's available in the Forums Home or My Forums Threads is not great, but usable/tolerable, IMO.)
    * Made the forum more easily selectable from the "Change" screen mentioned above (after you have clicked "Ask a Question")
    * Made the "Ask a question" button accessible at all times (as a quick link)

    And just to cover all the bases (based on your subject text alone), if the problem is more that you don't know which forum is appropriate, then there is a forum called "Where is the forum For ...?" where you can get help with that and someone will triage your issue.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:52 PM
  • Thanks for your reply.  Yes I had found most of that, but my real pain point is that having selected a Forum and clicked "Ask a Question", my expectation is that the Question would know which Forum I want to post to.  On my system it does not!  I get back to this absolutely stupid Question screen that does not know the Forum I've already selected.  Instead it still asks me to select the "Forum Category", which has such a short list of Categories that it is totally unnavigable and has NOT changed as a result of me selecting a Forum.   So I click "Quick Access" to select a Forum and start going around in circles again. Frankly I tried to be somewhat restrained in my original post.  In reality if one of my team imposed this sort of stupidity on our Users, I would fire them!  (Perhaps my problem is that I'm using IE9.  I'd better try FireFox That might work a little better.)
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:29 AM
  • Just pick the least inappropriate forum.
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:31 AM
  • Just tied it with FireFox.  I's still as F.....g stupid!  Where's my machine gun?

    What do you mean "Just Pick the least inappropriate forum."?  They are all totally inappropriate!

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:41 AM
  • It would seem that sometimes my "Forum Category"List Box is not filling with sufficient categories for me to be able to select what I want. 

    This really needs reporting to whoever supports this Forum interface.  How do I contact them?

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:56 AM
  • This really needs reporting to whoever supports this Forum interface.  How do I contact them?

    You're in the right place.  Report away.
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:50 AM
  • Which forum are you trying to ask in? Until you get this sorted it may be easier for you to pick that single forum then Ask A Question will not prompt with choices for where to post.

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:03 AM
    Moderator
  • My original problem, I had already posted in:

    but got no replies.  So I went to "Where is the Forum for.."  they suggested:

    So I've posted there as well.  Hopefully somebody will reply.

    The problem I'm having with site navigation, I used the "Contact Us" and reported it to TechNet Support.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:21 AM
  • I think my base problem is that I'm not starting in the right place - or certainly not using an option that has been fully tested.  (It's little like the old joke about asking for directions in Ireland, only to be told: "If I was you - I wouldn't start from here.")

    I usually visit "My Threads" http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/user/threads?user=Brian%20McGuigan%2C%20Software%20Architect%2C%20On2it%20Software

    If I want to ask another Question, I click "Ask a Question".  When I do I get http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/newthread, which has a "Forum Category" List that starts with "Academic Initiatives", is 25 items long ending in "Windows Tools".  None of these categories, nor any of their Forums, is ever anything I want.  So I use "Quick Access" to choose "Forums Home" or "My Forums" to select and go to a particular Forum.  When I get there, I click  "Ask a Question".  This gets me back to the Question page, which has no idea of the Forum Page I just came from and presents me with the same list of "Forum Categories" - so the whole cycle repeats endlessly!

    How do I get out of it?

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:45 AM
  • Ok, sounds like you've got it then.

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:41 AM
    Moderator
  • NO I most definitely have not got it.  The DAMN system is still sending me in circles!
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 10:20 AM
  • NO I most definitely have not got it.  The DAMN system is still sending me in circles!

    Perhaps this is a question of "branding"?   I notice that your list of forums is mixed brand.  And starting from Fissues I am using the "No brand" Microsoft forum.  See if you get anywhere by starting with the right brand?  That issue was not mentioned in the post you marked as Answer but I suspect it may be important.

    FWIW I just tried selecting  Windows Phone  category (an MSDN brand) and it found a particular forum BLINK.  But the URL in my Address bar is still showing unbranded.  So, I would certainly not expect to be able to post directly to BLINK from that.

    I'll try it anyway to see what happens.  It would be nicer if I could select the MSDN Sandbox this way...

    So, I just typed my question:  Testing forum selection from FIssues   and the "similar questions" all had unbranded URLs.  I don't expect this to end cleanly...

    But strangely it seems to have worked:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/cd8d0c8c-0aa7-4427-a5d1-adf5114e2742/testing-forum-selection-from-fissues?forum=BLINK 

    How can that be?  Where is it really?

    What are you doing differently?



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:22 AM
  • So I use "Quick Access" to choose "Forums Home" or "My Forums" to select and go to a particular Forum.  When I get there, I click  "Ask a Question".  This gets me back to the Question page, which has no idea of the Forum Page I just came from and presents me with the same list of "Forum Categories" - so the whole cycle repeats endlessly!

    How do I get out of it?

    I still can't reproduce your problem.  This procedure so far is always working for me:

    1. Quick Access
    2. Forums Home
    3. View All
    4. (Expand tree nodes and check exactly one forum checkbox)
    5. Submit
    6. Ask Question

    I always end up at a "new thread" page that is destined to post in the forum that I selected.

    Do you get different results?  And if so then which forum are you trying to post in?

    [Or are you trying to go to "My Forums" rather than "Forums Home"?  If so, did you refine your forum selection down to exactly one forum before posting?]

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:14 PM
  • Sorry don't understand what you mean by "Branding".
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:52 PM
  • I'm sorry, but I don't.  This is what I get when I go via "Forums Home" and select just the "Partner>SQL Forum". 

    It appears that the URL may have been set correctly, but the page itself shows no sign of the correct Forum having been set.  I've tried copying and pasting the URL into a different tab, but the results were the same.

    Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:20 AM
  • I'm sorry, but I don't.  This is what I get when I go via "Forums Home" and select just the "Partner>SQL Forum". 

    It appears that the URL may have been set correctly, but the page itself shows no sign of the correct Forum having been set.  I've tried copying and pasting the URL into a different tab, but the results were the same.

    Ok, the partner forums are structured very differently from MSDN / TechNet. Partner forums navigation follows the structure used on Microsoft Answers. This is why we were so confused.

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:42 AM
    Moderator
  • Branding is in the URL ex. social.msdn.Microsoft.com or social.technet.Microsoft.com or plain social.microsoft.com but branding doesn't really apply to partner or answers forums structures.

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.




    Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:46 AM
    Moderator
  • That still doesn't answer the question "How do I select the Forum I want to post to?"  I suspect the answer is "Start from somewhere different." - but where?
    Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:58 AM
  • If you want the Partner SQL Server forum it is here.

    http://partnersupport.microsoft.com/en-us/mpndataplat/forum/mpncatdb-mpnsqlsvr?sort=lastreplydate&dir=desc&tab=Threads&status=&mod=&modAge=&advFil=&postedAfter=&postedBefore=&threadType=All&tm=1406774525653

     

     The filtering is top level down. So in other words yes you can start anywhere but more than likely is start with Categories selection, then by Area and finally Topic

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.


    Thursday, July 31, 2014 2:45 AM
    Moderator
  • I need somewhere that I can always start from, whatever Question I have - not just SQL Server.

    Would you PLEASE get whoever designed/failed to design this shambles to fix it!!

    Tuesday, September 02, 2014 10:42 PM
  • You're not being clear at all, so it's very hard to help you.

    If you want TechNet forums, start here:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/home

    If you want MSDN forums, start here:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home

    If you don't find the forum you're looking for in either of those two, start here:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/home

    Follow steps 3 - 6 in this post:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/f542a71c-f3a4-4377-b1c3-2d38e7596529/how-the-heck-do-i-choose-the-right-forum-to-post-to?forum=reportabug#98679135-aaab-4bc1-8645-ac6e5aaacd82

    Make sense? If not, please give a detailed description of exactly what forum you're trying to find and the exact steps you're taking when attempting to post a thread there.

    PS - I have no access to Partner forums, so I can't help you if that's what you're looking for.


    Don't retire TechNet! - (Don't give up yet - 13,085+ strong and growing)

    Wednesday, September 03, 2014 12:11 AM
    Answerer
  • Surely I should be able to go to "My Threads", chose the Forum I want to post to and post my question.  Why is it so hard to select the Forum?  I'm going round and round in circles getting nowhere.  If this interface had been designed by anyone in our organisation, it would not have been put into production!

    The confusing thing about the forums is that their basic view is a multi-forum view. Viewing a single forum is just the special case where there is only one forum in the view.

    If you want to ask a question, it is very useful to first get yourself into the single forum view of the forum you want to post to. Then, and only then, when you click Ask a Question will the correct forum be pre-selected. Are you not seeing this?

    Some methods for getting into single-forum view:

    1. Add your forums of interest to My Forums, and access them from there.

    2. If you go to My Threads, each thread shows the forum in the second line. If you click the name of the forum, you will be taken to single forum view.

    3. Make browser bookmarks (favorites) for your forums of interest.

    Note that none of these methods helps you the first time you want to ask a question in a given forum. But they are very useful if you often post to the same set of forums.


    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP

    • Proposed as answer by Miguel_Go Wednesday, September 03, 2014 11:01 AM
    Wednesday, September 03, 2014 9:30 AM