Yesterday I started a rather unscientific polling of how people would like their Visual Studio 2005 talk once a more public Beta is released.  I also posted the question to the newsgroups that exist today. So far, I've received 10 pieces of feedback. The majority seems to favor keeping things the way the are.  Here is a more detailed breakdown of the current standings:

Option 1 - Do nothing and leave the semi-private newsgroups - 7 Votes

  • “I like the private newsgroups, it seems to keep people focused on the product (aside from the "when are we getting a new build" topics) and keeps out a lot of the "Microsoft sucks" topics. “
  • “On the plus side, however, it does keep out the riffraff who are just interested in being annoying but too lazy or disinterested to find the passwords. “
  • “They will be able to put password in correct place of newsreader. “
  • “The only choice, IMHO.“

Option 3 - No private; Create Public “.next“ groups in the public hierarchy - 2 Votes

  • “Wouldn't serve same purpose as these NGs. We are not talking about "unreleased products" here. We are actually reporting problems.“
  • “3 however offers that (searching by google groups later). I use for .net related searches solely google groups, as it gives you the best chance to find an answer to a problem without having to wade through a lot of webpages
    without answers.“
  • “my second choice.“
  • “Maybe second best.“
  • “#3 is a distant second place in my opinion and the others not even worth considering. “

Option 2 - Existing public groups and close down the semi-private ones - 1 Vote

  • “Mixed in with the rest of the babble makes it much less effective.“
  • “I actually favor this choice, grudgingly.  The noise ratio is sure to increase, while the IQ quotient (because of me probably) is sure to decrease.  However, you'll get a wider set of people to help you out.“
  • “Please, don't do this :) The C# newsgroup now already is flooded with people with control, IDE and whatever problems, if people are also going to talk about whidbey beta's, it's even more unclear.“
  • “don't like this, mixing discussions of future products and released products confuses a lot of posters.
    It also leads to silly discussions with people who never touched the new stuff.“
  • “there's already enough clutter in the public NGs -whidbey-specific discussion would irrelevant for most readers, and would be lost in the clutter for those who are interested.“

Option 4 - Web Forums Only without NG access - 0 Votes

  • “Horrible idea.  The web based groups, in my opinion, are nearly useless due to their awful performance and poor feature set.“
  • “No Please“
  • “Forums have the disadvantage that you can't read them in a reader which is dedicated for reading text messages: a newsreader. I definitely wouldn't go this route.“
  • “Ughhh ! How can you even consider this. NGs are always better than Web_Forums as long as they are password protected.“

To try and make this a little more fair I've also posted the question to the Asp.Net whidbey forums and the Windows forms whidbey web forums that exist.  We'll see if that changes anything.

Thanks Much. You guys rock! - Josh