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Please clear confusion between forums and newsgroups. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I know the MSDN forums are in the midst of getting shuffled around, but that's not the problem.

    I'm confused as to whether the MSDN forums are the same as the Microsoft public discussion groups, or are these separate entities?

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/  AND http://forums.microsoft.com/ 
    VS http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/list/en-us/default.aspx

    If they are separate, how do I determine which one I should post to, or do I need to duplicate my posts on both?

    Why can't I find older content on the MS public discussion groups on the MS site? I can find older (archived) content on other sites when I search the web but not on the MS site. Does MS keep their own copy of the archives so we can have a single place (Microsoft.com) to go to with a single login (Windows Live)??? If so, where is this?

    I hate to say it, but I seem to get better results just using another search engine outside of Microsoft/MSDN.com to search for what I need on these sites. The problem then comes when I need to post/reply to messages...I then have to come back to Microsoft/MSDN.com and try to find the same group/forum/posting to interact with. I'd prefer to come to the source initially, but it's just hard to find what I need here.

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 7:56 PM

Answers

  • One set are called "forums" and one set are called "newsgroups".....

    The forums (at present some using the old forum software; some using the new forum software ) are run by Microsoft on their own equipment and using their own software.

    The newsgroups are run as part of the general (old) UserNet system.

    The forums offer at the moment only web-based access

    The newsgroups offer web-based access and (faster) newsreader access.

    The forums offer the opportunity to add value by being able to edit posts; delete duplicates (moderators only); move posts to the right forum (moderators only); mark a thread as answered etc.

    The newsgroups offer none of the above so there are postings with errors in them the poster didn't intend (can't edit); postings that were posted several times; postings in the wrong newsgroup: no information as to whether a thread contains an answer.

    Searching the forums works in the forums. There are various pre-specified and useful options for the scope of the search such as single forum; set of forums.

    Searching the newsgroups in OE (for instance) very rarely works. Instead the best approach is to go to Google *Groups* / Advanced Search and specify the newsgroup (or group of newsgroups by the use of a *) you want google to search.   This would be the method used to search old content that perhaps otherwise is no longer available.

    As for duplicating posts.

    In my opinion any duplication of posts is bad as it means that one group of people are spending time to answer your question unknowing that another group of people have already answered it. Much better to post to one location and if no useful reply has been received in say 3 days, post to the other location (including the failed attempts made in the meantime).

    As for support.

    Microsoft people support some of the forums (not all). They look at every message presumably concentrating mostly on those with no replies or those not marked as answered.

    Microsoft people support some newsgroups (not all) via the "managed newsgroups" system (MSDN or TechNet) which is free if you register. They only look at the specially marked threads (markings which normal people can't see - the posts look like normal posts to us) which have been posted as part of the managed newsgroup system. All other threads they ignore.


    Whew!

    That enough for you ? Did I miss anything ?





     

    • Marked as answer by emc3 Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1:09 PM
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:27 AM

All replies

  • The forums and newsgroups are distinct entities.  On our old forums platform there were certain forums that were sync'ed between newsgroups, but that functionality is not available on the new forums.

    In general you can probably find someone to answer your question in either location.  I'm not familiar with what older content is available for the newsgroups, for forums you can generally find all of the old information here.

    -Jeremy
    Jeremy Kelley
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:03 AM
    Moderator
  • One set are called "forums" and one set are called "newsgroups".....

    The forums (at present some using the old forum software; some using the new forum software ) are run by Microsoft on their own equipment and using their own software.

    The newsgroups are run as part of the general (old) UserNet system.

    The forums offer at the moment only web-based access

    The newsgroups offer web-based access and (faster) newsreader access.

    The forums offer the opportunity to add value by being able to edit posts; delete duplicates (moderators only); move posts to the right forum (moderators only); mark a thread as answered etc.

    The newsgroups offer none of the above so there are postings with errors in them the poster didn't intend (can't edit); postings that were posted several times; postings in the wrong newsgroup: no information as to whether a thread contains an answer.

    Searching the forums works in the forums. There are various pre-specified and useful options for the scope of the search such as single forum; set of forums.

    Searching the newsgroups in OE (for instance) very rarely works. Instead the best approach is to go to Google *Groups* / Advanced Search and specify the newsgroup (or group of newsgroups by the use of a *) you want google to search.   This would be the method used to search old content that perhaps otherwise is no longer available.

    As for duplicating posts.

    In my opinion any duplication of posts is bad as it means that one group of people are spending time to answer your question unknowing that another group of people have already answered it. Much better to post to one location and if no useful reply has been received in say 3 days, post to the other location (including the failed attempts made in the meantime).

    As for support.

    Microsoft people support some of the forums (not all). They look at every message presumably concentrating mostly on those with no replies or those not marked as answered.

    Microsoft people support some newsgroups (not all) via the "managed newsgroups" system (MSDN or TechNet) which is free if you register. They only look at the specially marked threads (markings which normal people can't see - the posts look like normal posts to us) which have been posted as part of the managed newsgroup system. All other threads they ignore.


    Whew!

    That enough for you ? Did I miss anything ?





     

    • Marked as answer by emc3 Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1:09 PM
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:27 AM
  • Thank you much. Still somewhat frustrating, but at least now I know the differences and what to expect where. May I suggest adding a summary of your answer to the "Help" or "FAQ" on both the MSDN Forums and NewsGroups sites?

    It may also be worthwhile to give the forum administrators/moderators the ability to easily "publish" interesting/helpful forum threads (marked as "answered") to associated/related newsgroups to help propagate information and make it publicly searchable on the internet (I'm assuming that the MSDN forums are not publicly searchable like the newsgroups are). Alternatively, maybe automatically "publish" forum threads with "x" number of "Helpful Votes".

    I do like the new MSDN forums and the functionality you've mentioned (ability to edit posts, etc.).

    Thanks again.
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1:21 PM
  • Actually, forums by there nature are all indexed by search engines and fully searchable. Newsgroups on the other hand are only searchable via google groups, which works well if you know to use it, but most end users never discover the content from Newsgroups because it doesn't show up in standard search engine results.

    -Andrew
    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com
    Saturday, December 13, 2008 6:38 AM