Update: Check out the new forums welcome post.
Word is starting to get around about the MSDN Forums Beta. I guess I should jump in as well. I helped drive the project from the Developer Division side of things, but we wouldn't have anything to talk about if it weren't for the MSCOM Community team that has been working like mad to get this site ready to support Whidbey Beta 2 customers. If you've been a long time reader of my blog you might have been able to guess we were working on something like this. I've had fun playing with the beta and re-reading some of these discussions...
Today, answering questions online got a lot better: MSDN Forums Beta is now available at http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn!
MSDN Forums Beta allows customers to search a growing archive of technical questions and answers. If an answer can’t be found in search, a customer can ask a new question, be notified when there are replies, and mark the appropriate reply as an answer. Over time we’ll use this Q&A pairing to improve search, build a “hall of fame” of top contributors, and construct a community-maintained FAQ. We’re creating forums for Whidbey Beta2 technologies to start with, and will add more developer technologies soon. There are already people requesting DirectX forums!
How do I efficiently find questions needing answers... and answer them?
A big complaint today is that answering questions online—or even finding what questions are unanswered—is a hassle. MSDN Forums was designed to make things easy for answerers and site users in general. Some examples:
Forums are easier than Newsgroups for answering questions, but we (Microsoft) still have a responsibility to “jump-start” the forums with answers while the community is small. Beta2 adopters will depend on product team members to subscribe to forums and answer questions, especially for the first month or two after release. This stage of our community engagement is critical as we transition our product knowledge to a growing community of Visual Studio 2005 users.
Other cool forum features include: