Thursday, June 30, 2011 11:14 PMOwner
The July 14th Release will include a move to a new recognition system, a new MSDN and TechNet Forums Home page (en-us only) and various bug fixes (known email alerts bugs etc).
Recognition Update (points and achievements)
What is happening – Forums recognition will be updated for the July 14th release. This will introduce a new recognition paradigm in forums. Updates will be made to the recognition rules and user points will be recalculated. Users will also gain new achievements to better reflect their effort in participating.
Why this is happening – The current forums recognition system has not changed in over five years. It has limitations the new system does not have. Three main reasons for this change:
1) Better motivation for users for the right behaviors - The new system rewards user points for quality contributions and new achievements for effort based quantity actions. It also rewards users more points for contributing answers that are viewed and voted on more. The idea here is to better reward users for good, fast answers.
2) A more consistent and central way to describe our users – The recognition system will centralize and offer filtered views of a user’s participation not only on forums but across other MSDN and TechNet properties such as Blogs, Wikis and the Code Galleries. As new properties are brought on board they will show up in one place in a consistent display.
3) A more flexible and sustainable solution – The new recognition system will allow the forums application to continue to add new incentives and adjust rules to promote behaviors that support a more healthy ecosystem. It will also make the application healthier by retiring the legacy points system, a continual cause of stability issues in the application.
When this is happening
There are couple of key dates for this release:
· CTP Preview – Starting now until July 14th. We have updated some user interface element and recalculated user points (up to June 20th) in a test environment. Users can get a preview on what to expect for the July 14th date by going to the CTP environments for forums: MSDN, TechNet, Expression, Microsoft Brand. Users can post questions and give feedback in the Forums Issues forum and the Profile Recognition forum during this time. A similar announcement to this email will be sent to our key forums moderators and also posted to the Forums Announcements and Forums Issues forums later today.
· Release to Web July 14th – The user interface elements for the new recognition and the user points and achievements processing should be complete.
What users should expect
1) New Features – On July 14th users will see new user badges with updated point values reflecting their community contribution as points. Hovering over a forums user display name will show a popup with more detail about the user, their achievements and links to that user’s profile and list of threads contributed to.
2) New Points and Achievements – The legacy notion of points for all behaviors is changing, points will reflect quality contributions to the community. Achievements will reflect quantity based effort for a user.
· Points – Each user’s points will be reprocessed against the history of the application. The new points algorithm will reward user points for contributing answers and helpful posts.
· Achievements – Users will be rewarded for many of the volume based activities by gaining new achievements. Some achievements will incent the ‘new’ users by rewarding their first step towards participation. Other achievements will continually incent users by rewarding ‘level based’ achievements for posting, answering and other activities.
3) Points Changes – On July 14th user points will be updated for all users. Users will see new point totals and achievements for the history of their participation in the forums for the past six years. Some users will gain points but most points will be adjusted to a lower value based on the new points algorithm. Two main differences in the new algorithm:
· New points system rewards users for reply counts as ‘achievements’ instead of the 2 points per reply.
· New points system no longer rewards users for ‘self-answer marking’ on their owner replies. This has been a noted bug in the system for years that until now, we have not addressed.
Users that understand these differences but still have points questions will be able to report these at the profile/recognition forum.
More on the recognition changes can be found at the Forums blog post. This contains more detail about the changes coming, where to post feedback and questions as well as a “Known Issues” list in the CTP environment.
Forums Home Page Updates
July 14th will update the MSDN and TechNet Forums Home pages en-us. These home pages expose too much data making the page footprint too large and the pages slow to load and difficult to use. The coming release is a step towards solving some of these problems by addressing the overall design of the page. High level changes include:
· A convenient new “find a forum” feature enabling users to type in the forum or category they are looking for
· A list of ‘recent forums’ helping users get to places they have been
· A list of ‘most popular forums’ helpings users quickly find the forums that has the most recent activity
Read more about these changes and provide comments at the Forums Blog post.
Community Forums Program Manager