When Channel 9 started last spring I had the slightly crazy idea of getting direct feedback about Microsoft products by letting anyone add their gripes, workarounds, and wishlists to its wiki pages. The first big hit was the Internet Explorer feedback wiki, which rapidly grew to the point where helpful users began refactoring it into easily-digestible pieces. The IE team still hangs out there, although now of course they also have a much more Slashdottable blog

Then in November the MSN Search team shipped the beta of their MSN Desktop Search tool. Pretty soon I was losing track of all the neat desktop search hacks that the blogosphere was finding, so an MSN Search wiki seemed like another good idea. The MSN Search team took the idea and ran with it, adding pages for the new MSN web search engine as well – you that know a team really “gets” wikis when the guy in charge of program management blogs about it!

And this week there’s been even more Microsoft wiki news. First, Stephan Spencer (who describes himself as “scientist turned web marketing virtuoso”, and he does kinda have that mad-scientist look) had the following nice words to say, which Scoble picked up on:

"Of the major search engines, MSN Search is the only one to employ wikis as a way to encourage customer participation in the product development process. Hats off to Microsoft for showing such leadership!"

Second, Mike Torres of the MSN Spaces team has created an MSN Spaces Feedback wiki, which has already seen a rush of activity. Here’s how he describes what the MSN Spaces team hopes to get out of the wiki:

Why did we do this? Although we have been tracking every single thing sent to us, you don't get to see that entire list. This way, we can all work together to make the list - and you can be confident that the team is following up on your feedback.

Couldn’t have put it better myself