Real People. Real Frustrated.

On February 28, 2011, in news, by

While the normal IT pro shouldn’t need to hang out over on the Microsoft answers forum, you may be surprised how the ecosystem of the Microsoft answers forum has actually helped you on the ITpro side.  In particular the ‘dead bodies’ of the Windows update forum primarily came from the “VistaWU” forum over on the old Answers 1.0 platform.  While the forum was called VistaWU, it really was all of the Windows update issues.  Many a time an issue that impacted patching in the IT pro community was also seen in this VistaWU forum.  And in fact typically earlier than the ITpro side as the consumer patching community tends to update as soon as updates come out (which is why they are installing Windows 7 sp1 as soon as it hit the Windows update window).

So this weekend the Microsoft Answers forum flipped over to the 2.0 version.

And so far the motto of the site should be “Real People.  Real Frustrated.”  Granted anytime someone makes a major change there is a ‘who moved my cheese” moment.  Humans don’t take to change easily.  In the defense of the site, it’s had a rough debut.  The performance over the last few days has been worse than the worst performance I’ve seen in a web site…ever… and this blog site has been pretty sucky.  Time outs on the page.  Sometimes fast, sometimes horrifically slow.  It’s been a nightmare of a rollout.

But I’ll be blunt tonight and say that it’s also not done a good job ensuring that answerers have the best tools they can for tracking and answer to questions on the site.  So far I’ve found that instead of clicking on a thread that if you open the thread in a new window means you can more easily go back to the forum view you want to have.

Keep in mind there’s no “Product forum” per se, it’s all based on filtered views.  If you wanted to get a view of Windows update posts with zero replies, you need to build that view and either bookmark it or click on the RSS feed icon and pull it into your RSS reader.  Yesterday the RSS feed wasn’t working because the performance was so bad, today at least it’s responding better.

So if the forum gods are smiling, either the bookmarked view or the RSS feed works and you can get to the filtered view you want.  If you see a subject line you might want to answer, don’t forget to open the question in a new tab.  If you do not, you’ll either need to go back-back-back to the view you want, or start over again on the bookmarked page.  Once you post your answer, if you want to make sure you get an alert when the original poster has come back to follow up with more info, if you are not a moderator for that particular forum, you need to click on “me too” button to subscribe you to the thread.  Mind you, I’m not sure I like this practice as I don’ t think it gives valid forum counts of issues, but so far that’s the best workaround.  Also make sure you copy your answer before you hit the submit button in case you hit the site as it’s having performance issues.

Bottom line, patience is not only a virtue but required if Microsoft Answers was a place you answered questions in.

So I’m interested…what forums or Q&A venues do you hang out in?


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