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FORUMS: Why focus on look and feel when you are still missing basic functionality? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I would love to say that I'm impressed with the new MSDN forums. All I can say is "well, the look more pretty." Some of things I brought up this over three years ago still have not been addressed, so I'll list those this again. I also have to report a bug.

    First the bug: here is the description of the SQL Server Spatial forum: 

    SQL server Spatial
    Any questions related to XML in SQL Server.
    last reply by Pure Krome 10 hours 14 minutes ago

    The second line should read: "Any questions related to the use of spatial data in SQL Server."

    Little stuff like this makes me wonder if anybody is really paying attention here.

    On to the stuff that I feel still needs improvement:

    First, one of things that I commented to Ed Lehman about was that pull-based approach to answering peoples questions really only works if somebody just sits on the web site and watches for new posts. Many of us do not have that luxury. Since we could no longer reliably use NNTP as interface, I asked for a different notification mechanism. We got RSS feeds. That would be fine if and only if new posts were immediately dispatched via RSS and the feed was consistently refreshed. To be blunt, neither of these things seem to be happening. What really dumbfounds me still is that we can get timely Live Alerts on threads but we cannot have them on the entire forum! If you really want to make the forums better, that should be a high priority issue.

    Ok, I can easily anticipate your reaction. Of coursem there are some forums that are so busy that having Live Alerts on them would annoy anybody that decided to use the feature. Frankly, I do not have a problem with that. They can choose to unsubscribe to the Alerts then. But, do not tell me that you *must* have some kind of filtering mechanism of everybody to use first -- honestly -- while it is a nice feature, it is something you could deliver later.

    Giving us the option here would be far better than not.

    Second, one of the justifications for moving away from the NNTP-based forums was that Microsoft wanted a better way to track who was correctly answering questions. I agree -- think that is a good thing. I have worked hard to do just in the forums I care about. As of yesterday Morning I was one of the top answers-ers overall in the Katmai spatial forum overall and lead the 30-day count.

    So imagine my chagrin when I come to visit the new forums today and seeing that I have no threads and no answers. Now I can understand if this is just a data migration issue, but if it is not, WTF? How are we supposed to have any faith that Microsoft really cares about contributions when they cannot even bother to transition them correctly?

    Now, I know what I have said here has an angry tone to it. I have only taken that because I am serious and passionate about helping the user community. I also want to underscore another point that seems to have been lost here:

    It is not what you say that matters: It is how you say it and the actions you take that people notice. Right now, the message this site gives me is that you do not care.

    If you do not care, why should we?


    -- Thanks, Kent/DevelopMentor
    Friday, December 12, 2008 10:52 AM

All replies

  • Thanks for your feedback. I'll comment on a couple of the issues you raised that are related to the new forums platform.

    1. Check to see if your threads and points have all updated. Yesterday we moved a large number of threads over from the old platform, so there was some delay in recalculating point totals and the "my threads" list, but that should all be caught up now.

    2. RSS on the forums should work, as with the issue about my threads and points, if you're still seeing the issue post to our bugs forum. On a related note, I definitely agree with you that we should have an option to subscribe to an entire forum via live alerts and this is something we're looking at adding.

    -Andrew


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com
    Friday, December 12, 2008 9:31 PM
  •  Fixed the description on the Spatial forum - it may take a few minutes to show up though. Let us know if you catch anything else Kent.

    Ed
    Ed Lehman [MSFT]
    Friday, December 12, 2008 10:30 PM
  • Thanks for the reply Andrew. Please see the following comments in line.

    1. Check to see if your threads and points have all updated. Yesterday we moved a large number of threads over from the old platform, so there was some delay in recalculating point totals and the "my threads" list, but that should all be caught up now.

    - Threads from before the conversion are not appearing yet
    - Alerts do not seem to be coming through. In the past I got both a a live alert and an email, now getting neither.
    - No top answers are being shown in the spatial forum

    2. RSS on the forums should work, as with the issue about my threads and points, if you're still seeing the issue post to our bugs forum. On a related note, I definitely agree with you that we should have an option to subscribe to an entire forum via live alerts and this is something we're looking at adding.

    I am still testing this.

    Again, appreicate your response

    kt


    -- Thanks, Kent/DevelopMentor
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 1:33 AM
  • Ed Lehman said:

     Fixed the description on the Spatial forum - it may take a few minutes to show up though. Let us know if you catch anything else Kent.

    After a full IE cache cleaning and reboot, this is still showing the old label. First time render of in Firefox shows same. Unless you hear otherwise, assume its still incorrect.

    And thanks for the response, much appreciated.

    kt


    -- Thanks, Kent/DevelopMentor
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 1:36 AM
  • As a follow-up data point... I made a post the Sandbox forum around 2008-12-12 17:44:20.9062500 -08:00, appeared in my Google reader list timestamped as posted around 2008-12-12 18:40 -08:00, for a latency of about 56 minutes...
    -- Thanks, Kent/DevelopMentor
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 5:13 AM
  • Kent,  thanks for the feedback.

    In response to the My Threads issue. This was/is a migration issue that we're working on addressing as quickly as we can get it out. A "Participated" bit wasn't set which in turn causes threads to not be returned in that query. Also, points updates will also be part of the fix.

    For RSS, as it currently stands there's a feed level cache which I think is 15 minutes, so I'd expect some perceived latency just based on that. Beyond that, there's nothing intentional that should be delaying updates further.

    We do care and have been doing nearly monthly updates to the forums since launch. Sometimes the updates are client/visible and others have been back-end focused but we are very actively trying to improve with each release.


    Rob J, Forums Dev
    Sunday, December 14, 2008 4:48 AM
  • A quick update as of 14 Dec 08 1056 CST.

    The XML caption issue appears to be resolved, thanks Ed.
    Threads and points are still missing
    I am testing a more active RSS reader

    Thanks,
    kt
    -- Thanks, Kent/DevelopMentor
    Sunday, December 14, 2008 4:58 PM