Clarifying Forum Expectations... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • We've had some confusion about what expectations you should have with respect to the MSDN forums. This thread is an attempt to clarify that confusion, at least as far as how the folks from Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) interact with you here in the forums.
    Q: What is the VSTS goal for the MSDN Forums?
    A: The forums provide a community-driven mechanism by which customers can have questions answered about Visual Studio Team System. In addition, they are a feedback mechanism for the product, the product documentation, and product-related activities. Product group members, Customer Support Services personnel, and MVPs will respond to questions here, but we also hope that the community becomes self-sustaining, and that users of VSTS can help each other.
    Q: What metrics does VSTS measure related to the MSDN forums?
    A: The primary metric we've been using to date has been the percentage of posts answered in 7 days or less, with a goal of 80%. This doesn't mean that all posts will be answered in 7 days. Some posts require back-and-forth discussion with the customer to isolate the issue, or require lengthy investigation.
    Q: Who marks threads as answered?
    A: In general, we prefer it when the original poster marks the answer to their question, since only they know if their question has been completely answered. However, the forum moderators also recognize that, once someone has their question answered, doing bookkeeping on the forums is not likely to be a priority. Moderators will typically mark a post as answered if it appears that the original question was answered. This will happen as Moderators review threads. Usually this will happen after a few days have passed.  This only happens in cases where there appears to be an answer. If a moderator marks a post as answered and you still have open issues, you can click Unmark as Answer so the thread will show up as unanswered.
    Q: Why are some unanswered posts deleted?
    A: In cases where additional information is needed to resolve an issue and the original poster of the thread has not responded after several reminders, one week after the last reminder, the thread will be deleted, so we can keep the forums focused on questions that have answers. This allows other forum participants to search and find issues that have been resolved, without having to wade through incomplete threads that do not contain any information that can help them resolve their issue. If the thread contained useful information (for example, if some data had been collected, but the problem had not yet been resolved), the thread might instead be changed from a question to a comment, so the information is not lost. This allows the folks looking for questions to answer to focus on open, active issues that can be resolved.
    Q: Why doesn't someone from VSTS answer all new questions immediately?
    A: There are a few reasons. Primarily, we want to see an active user community develop where users help each other resolve issues and share tips and best practices. Additionally, the forums are one of many support mechanisms for VSTS. The forums are not intended to replace the traditional customer support methods, but rather to augment them. Most of the VSTS folks that respond to your questions are full-time developers, program-managers, or quality-assurance, rather than customer support.
    Q: How does VSTS coordinate forum participation?
    A: Each team within VSTS has a forum moderator that will look to assign unanswered threads to an appropriate team member once a post is more than a few days old. For released products, we typically review forum metrics on a monthly basis. For a new product, we might review the metrics more often.
    Q: Why did my post get moved?
    A: In some cases, a question gets posted in a forum that doesn't have the right people to answer that question. By moving the thread to a forum that is monitored by people more likely to know the answer, we can help you resolve your issue more quickly. When a post is moved, the moderator should add a response to the thread, indicating that the post was moved, and why. This can also help you find other community members with similar issues and experiences.
    If you have additional questions or concerns, please let us know.
    Monday, November 13, 2006 11:09 PM