Hello! My name is Joshua Baxter, and I am a programming writer on the Microsoft team that produces Help content for Visual C++. I am writing this article to explain how Microsoft collects and handles user feedback.
User feedback is an important part of our documentation improvement program. We maintain over 33,000 topics about C++, and we receive an average of 350 comments from Help users every month. Not only does your feedback help us to improve the quality of existing documentation, it also helps us improve the quality of future documentation.
Most of the feedback we receive comes from ratings and comments that users submit through the MSDN Web site. At the top right corner of every topic is a link that you can use to send us feedback.
We encourage you to leave feedback that describes specific sections in the topic that are wrong, misleading, or confusing so that we can better understand how to fix the topic. Perhaps it goes without saying, but we cannot address generic comments (“bad topic”, “needs work”, “unclear”).
Occasionally, we receive user feedback from other sources. For example, Microsoft MVP Joseph Newcomer maintains MSDN Documentation Errors and Omissions, which at present contains more than 400 issues. Although we also address this kind of feedback regularly, we encourage you to submit your feedback on the MSDN Web site so that it gets to us faster.
When we receive feedback that a topic is inaccurate, we verify whether the concern is valid for both Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010. Verification might involve testing the reported inaccuracy by using a code sample or by contacting a member of the development team. If a concern is verified, we revise the documentation as appropriate. Sometimes the topic is actually technically accurate, but it requires clarification or additional information.
Note: We do not maintain versions of the documentation that are earlier than Visual Studio 2008. If we receive feedback about earlier versions, we determine whether it also applies to Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2010, and then revise the documentation for those versions as required.
Although we address feedback and revise topics regularly, changes do not necessarily appear immediately on the MSDN Web site. All revised topics are reviewed to ensure technical accuracy, and this may take awhile. Also, topics may have to wait in the MSDN publishing queue until the next scheduled update, which occurs every few weeks.
Again, we appreciate the feedback that we receive from our users. If you have feedback about a topic on the MSDN Web site, please click the feedback link at the top right corner of the topic and send us your comments.
I leave constructive feedback regularly on MSDN. Usually, it is a suggestion for better example code.
One thing I'd really like to see is putting the most recent product version help topic on top of the page and then the older version's topic below it.
This will really help reduce the number of topics on MSDN and see how a topic affects each product version.
KB articles work best this way but normal SDK/API documentation can benefit as well.
This will keep old useful topics around for much longer (i.e., unlike how VB6 era content disappeard with .NET release).
It also helps sparsely documented products (e.g., Access programming error handling) since multiple older versions of the same topic will cross link to other useful topics for much better detail on the version you are using.
Another useful feature would be the ability to cull out repsonses from technology not needed. For instance, a search for FillRect brings back all kinds of noise when you are just looking for the Win32 FillRect documentation. An example of would be Codeproject.com that lets the user only bring back information for C and C++ - and not bring back .net, MFC, Lithuanian Tupperware, or any other things not germane to the task at hand.
I agree with Chris Walken's comment. There should be a quick filter to search only specific technology(s)
The new ATL way in 2003 made it possible for me to use VC++, it's so much easier and simpler. And just include it in VC++ 2010. All the other macroses still worked, so it wasn't like it was hurting somebody.