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NNTP RRS feed

  • General discussion

  •  Will NNTP acess be coming?  The directions on Connect seem to indicate that it will.

    Walter B
    Walter B
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:22 AM

All replies

  • I sure hope so.
    I don't know what I think about the beta forum software we're using. I live with the current MSDN forum environment daily since I moderate the OneCare forums, but reading newsgroups is more efficient by a long shot. I need to accustom myself to this environment as I'm sure that the OneCare forums will move to the new communities platform eventually, but...
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:46 AM
    Moderator
  • I'm not optimistic about it, Steve.  I notice that on the Newsgroups link on Connect, there is just the one message from Nadia welcoming folks and inviting them to this forum.  There's no link to reply, and there are no other threads or messages.  Several of us have pleaded with her on other NNTP newsgroups, but no reply yet.
    Walter B
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:11 AM
  • This is a difficult subject since half of our customers prefer NNTP newsgroups while the rest prefer forums. Some functionalities of forums make it easier for us moderators to identify at a glance unanswered threads, top posters, and general statistics about our forum. The tags are also a great method for our customers to find answers they are looking for. Also, I like the fact that people can tell us if a post is useful to them or not. It helps us improve our communication and target subjects of interest for our customers.

    Thank you,

    Nadia

    Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:19 AM
  • If you're having hands-in-the-air voting then i vote for web forums. I prefer the increased functonality.

    I know a lot of people do prefer NNTP though.
    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:31 AM
  • Nadia Fortini - MSFT said:

    This is a difficult subject since half of our customers prefer NNTP newsgroups while the rest prefer forums. Some functionalities of forums make it easier for us moderators to identify at a glance unanswered threads, top posters, and general statistics about our forum. The tags are also a great method for our customers to find answers they are looking for. Also, I like the fact that people can tell us if a post is useful to them or not. It helps us improve our communication and target subjects of interest for our customers.

    Nadia - Count me out from this beta if there is no access via NNTP.  I'm often away from home and use my mobile (cell) phone as a modem.  There is no way I'm going to pay my phone company for the bloated web pages involved in a web based forum.  The lack of proper threading and the inability to work offline are other drawbacks.

    Mike Tullett

    • Edited by mikett1 Thursday, April 24, 2008 1:49 PM Added Material
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 1:44 PM
  • The number of Newsgroups I have is do able but if I have to visit all the same using Forums, sorry no go for me.

    NNTP is the only way I am able to do it, for this time I do make a exception to write it down here.

    But if no NNTP access I'm sorry no comments from me then.


    Ko
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:06 PM
  • Nadia Fortini - MSFT said:

    This is a difficult subject since half of our customers prefer NNTP newsgroups while the rest prefer forums. Some functionalities of forums make it easier for us moderators to identify at a glance unanswered threads, top posters, and general statistics about our forum. The tags are also a great method for our customers to find answers they are looking for. Also, I like the fact that people can tell us if a post is useful to them or not. It helps us improve our communication and target subjects of interest for our customers.

    Thank you,

    Nadia



    Nadia,

    That's an even draw - 50/50, so is it possible to do both?  That is have NNTP access to the forums.  I know it has been done by others.
    Walter B
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:13 PM
  • Nadia Fortini - MSFT said:

    This is a difficult subject since half of our customers prefer NNTP newsgroups while the rest prefer forums. Some functionalities of forums make it easier for us moderators to identify at a glance unanswered threads, top posters, and general statistics about our forum. The tags are also a great method for our customers to find answers they are looking for. Also, I like the fact that people can tell us if a post is useful to them or not. It helps us improve our communication and target subjects of interest for our customers.

    Thank you,

    Nadia



    How on earth can you say that forums help you to improve your communications when in fact 50 % (by your own admission) do not wish to use the forum? And you mention "unanswered threads" - there are not even any threading as I know it... for me it is impossible to tell who is answering what or who... a total mess - or should I say 'mesh'.. :) Additionally, what you are saying in effect is that as long as it is easier for you (MS & beta team) then to hell with those who do not have the time or patience to mesh around with these inefficient forums.
    Art..
    • Edited by artfudd Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:49 PM spelling
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:47 PM
  • Jamie Thomson said:

    If you're having hands-in-the-air voting then i vote for web forums. I prefer the increased functonality.

    I know a lot of people do prefer NNTP though.


    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.



    What functionality? You have said that you don't even use NNTP newsgroups, so by comparison (if you can even do so) how is there any "increased functionality" with forums? I must be missing something I guess... :)
    Art..
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:56 PM
  • Art, while I prefer newsgroups via nntp, the filtering in the forum alows you to only see threads with new activity. The *problem* that I haven't yet worked out in this new interface is how to see the recent posts within a long thread, without having to page through them by date/time.
    Compared to the forums I live with for OneCare (which will move to this platform eventually) I can't visually see the unread threads at a glance, but I can filter them.
    Answers are defined by someone physically using the green answer check mark and then visitors can vote on them.
    I haven't played with tags yet, but I can see this as useful, too.
    The big problem - and this also exists in nntp - is multiple threads on the exact same topic. As the list of threads grows, it gets harder to manage. I join hot topics into one thread when I moderate the OneCare forum, but I don't join most of the daily/weekly repeaters as it is too much work to do so.
    The big benefit is to Microsoft for statistics and management. NNTP is like the Wild West from that perpective - a big free for all where all you can count is posts. In the forum, there's loads of stats available.
    Given that 50% of the users prefer a forum to nntp, going with forums to also reap the benefit of the administrative side makes sense.
    Now, if the Communities programmers can give us an off line solution, we'd be set. I strongly believe that there should not be an nntp feed in or out of the forums as that only adds to confusion.
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 5:02 PM
    Moderator
  • artfudd said:

    Jamie Thomson said:

    If you're having hands-in-the-air voting then i vote for web forums. I prefer the increased functonality.

    I know a lot of people do prefer NNTP though.


    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.



    What functionality? You have said that you don't even use NNTP newsgroups, so by comparison (if you can even do so) how is there any "increased functionality" with forums? I must be missing something I guess... :)
    Art..



    Where did I say that? Must have bene an oversight because I do use NNTP when I have to...e.g. for the Windows Live Butterfly ng and the MVP newsgroups.

    The reasons I prefer forums are:

    1. Accessible without client software (except a browser - which is ubiquitous)
    2. Each thread/post/etc... becomes a resource. In other words, something addressable with a URL. That, for me, is a HUGE thing and is the primary reason why I prefer forums. I belive Google Groups may enable something similar but I believe there is less value in linking to a copy of a resource rather than the resource itself.
    3. I'm an interface junkie - rich interfaces I like (and I happen to think the one I'm on right now is fantastic)
    4. Better tracking abilities - sort of what Nadia said above. I have an anecdote to share regarding how useful this can be if you'd like.
    5. Forum member reputation. Some see this as a pointless and intrusive feature but I like it. If I'm new on a forum then its a guide as to how useful the answer might be. More information is, to me, a good thing.
    6. I can get setup notifications for when someone replies to a thread. i.e. If I choose to I can get content pushed to me rather than having to pull it.
    7. Therse forums (just like the ones where I earn my MVP stripes) have the ability to insert and therefore highlight/format code. I consider that to be a good thing. I'm sure anyone that used to code in text editors as opposed to Visual Studio can't deny that code frmatting is a good thing.
    8. Instant idicatetion of when a thread was posted e.g. "artfudd 1 hours 31 minutes ago". Again, more information - good thing.
    9. I have the option to embed hyperlinks rather than having to post a whole URL that doesn't become a hyperlink in some NNTP readers
    10. Thread summary on this page is useful. Again - more information.
    11. I can delete/edit posts which I don't think I can with NNTP (I stand to be corrected)
    12. Those edits can be commented upon in some forums - again, more information.
    13. Correct answers can be marked as such. This may seem inconsequential to you but I know that it is HUGE for people in Microsoft (I knkow because I've spoken to them) because they can track ratio over questions to correct answer and stuff like that.
    14. I can search for threads that have certain attributes. e.g. On the forum where I earn my MVP stripes I can go and retrieve all threads that haven't yet been marked as answered. This saves me time because I don't have to read threads that have already been answered.
    15. Forums can be arranged hierarchically. I don't think that's true of NTP (I stand to be corrected)
    16. Some forums show presence. i.e. I can see if a person who posted a thread is online or not. This will be leveraged greatly in the near future I'm sure - it isn't happening yet.
    17. I'm a heavy RSS reader so RSS feeds are a plus for me.

    Is that enough? I could type more but my fingers are hurting :)

    Of course, the massive downside is no offline capability but that doesn't bother me too much.

    Of course, the ideal solution would be something that syncs between both. There's that magic word again - sync. What's Live mesh? its a sync platform. I hope that the Live Mesh platform can provide a good solution in this space.

    Its a matter of opinion. I'm not saying I'm right. I just happen to prefer forums.

    -Jamie


    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.
    • Edited by Jamie Thomson Thursday, April 24, 2008 7:50 PM format
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 6:51 PM
  • I'm still trying to get used to the Web Forums also. I've used the current web interface for the NNTP on connect and other Microsoft Forums, and it is ok, but I still prefer some of the functionality of a news reader. I have other web based forums that I like, where you can still read the thread and see who answered who on what. So far on these new Microsoft Forums, I haven't figured it out, but I guess I will have to.

    One thing I do like about these forums is the RSS feed access. I'm trying to get into RSS, but it is taking a little time to get used to it all. I guess one of my biggest problems is that I have been using NNTP since around 1990. Old habits die hard. ;-) Oh well, things have changed.

    As for which one, forum or NNTP? I would still like to see both, but I can probably get used to the forums, as that seems to be where everything is going.


    Steve
    • Edited by swattz101 Thursday, April 24, 2008 7:02 PM update
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 6:58 PM
  • Thanks everyone for the great conversation going on here. I'll answer what I can:

    -Threaded Replies: we do track the message that was replied to. In a future revision, we hope to have the option of Flat View or Threaded View based on user preference.

    -New Messages on a long thread: Great suggestion, we'll look in to providing some sorting options. It was not as high of a priority for the early releases as hisotically the average thread is between 3 and 5 posts in length. But the default sort order for a thread is Message Post Date Ascending. In the most recent release (live now), we've added an "Unread" filter on the Threads page that you could use to find Threads which have new posts since the last time you viewed the thread. *Note: that filter is only available if you are signed in.

    -Offline Solution: We're developing a web service based api that would allow for a pretty wide range of scenarios and Offline has definitely come up.

    -Online Presence: We were just discussing this today and may be prototyping that soon

    We have many more features coming and plan to release updates regularly and often. So please keep the feedback coming!


    Rob J, Forums Dev
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:33 PM
  • There is a Codeplex project to build a client app that supports offline read/write. Check it out here: http://www.codeplex.com/msdnforumsclient
    Jeff Day, Community Platform GPM
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:52 PM
  • One option that’s been suggested is adding an option to read/write to a forum via ListServ. You could subscribe to a forum and receive every post in the mail client of your choice. Replying to a post would post back your reply to the forum.

    Would this meet the need to interact with the forum in a fast, asynchronous, and cross-platform way? Or would you still want NNTP?

    -Andrew


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:08 PM
  • I would still want NNTP.  Another software giant abandoned the NNTP a few years ago and went entirely to forum.  As a result, they lost many good beta testers.  After about 6 months, they decided to tie the forum to NNTP newsgroups again.  Same stuff on both.  Most of those beta testers returned.  Can I say Symantec?
    Walter B
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:21 PM
  • Count me in the group that prefers NNTP. I don't really have the time or temperament to read something that has no rhyme or reason when it comes to threading. All I can see are a bunch of posts, and when I leave and come back, I have no idea what I've already read.

    I will try, but make no promises.


    Nancy Ward Windows Live Messenger 2003-2006
    Friday, April 25, 2008 3:27 AM
  • Since it seems to be a common theme among the NNTP group, how far would a threaded view go towards closing the gap?

    Just thinking out loud here, what about a Filter on the Thread page that would only show messages between the last time you viewed the thread and "now"? I think I've seen a couple asks for something like this.
    Rob J, Forums Dev
    Friday, April 25, 2008 3:42 AM
  • robjoh said:

    Since it seems to be a common theme among the NNTP group, how far would a threaded view go towards closing the gap?

    Just thinking out loud here, what about a Filter on the Thread page that would only show messages between the last time you viewed the thread and "now"? I think I've seen a couple asks for something like this.


    Rob J, Forums Dev



    As far as I'm concerned the lack of threading is only one of the major drawbacks of using a forum.  The introduction of threading would not sway me to participate.  It's all so slow and cumbersome in comparison with NNTP, with no benefits for the normal reader.  With NNTP I can see all threads at the same time, with only new posts showing, and loading takes a fraction of the time a web based system would.

    Mike Tullett -  Northern Ireland
    Mike Tullett
    Friday, April 25, 2008 8:51 AM
  • Nancy Ward said:

    Count me in the group that prefers NNTP. I don't really have the time or temperament to read something that has no rhyme or reason when it comes to threading. All I can see are a bunch of posts, and when I leave and come back, I have no idea what I've already read.

    I will try, but make no promises.


    Nancy Ward Windows Live Messenger 2003-2006



    You actually see a bunch of threads when you arrive in the Live Mesh forum - since it only has a single topic index.

    Each item in the initial list view is a thread. They are sorted by newest activity at the top to oldest activity at the bottom. You can apply filters and limited sorts to this view.

    To see threads with new activity since your last view, click the "Unread" button at the top of the index.
    What's missing is the ability to filter the posts *within* a thread to only show unread posts, so you need to scroll or page down to see the activity, which is a bit of a pain.
    Having the ability to apply a filter for only unread posts within a thread or a date range of posts within a thread might make things easier.

    I've suggested both in the suggestions forum for the MSDN/Communities software - http://forums.community.microsoft.com/en/suggest/threads/

    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Friday, April 25, 2008 2:44 PM
    Moderator
  •  
    Andrew Brenner said:

    One option that’s been suggested is adding an option to read/write to a forum via ListServ. You could subscribe to a forum and receive every post in the mail client of your choice. Replying to a post would post back your reply to the forum.

    Would this meet the need to interact with the forum in a fast, asynchronous, and cross-platform way? Or would you still want NNTP?

    -Andrew


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com



    ListServ would help, but it's not always perfect. I used to administer some forums on rootsweb/ancestry.com that use this approach and it works ok, but just felt lacking. I don't remember exactly, as it has been a few years, but links would not translate correctly, attachments in the forum would not be sent. The latter seems like the opposite here. People attach screen shots or files to NNTP that don't show up in the current forums.

    One of the other things about NNTP vs ListServ would be continuity. Email clients are getting better about grouping conversations (and I haven't tried grouping a ListServ yet). One of the biggest complaints I saw on the ListServ from rootsweb was that people would not quote the post they were replying to. On the forum that is ok, as the post is right above it (or would be in threaded discussions :-) On a listserv email, you would get something like "Yeah, I agree, but potatoes are better." Without the previous message, what does that mean? Of course the opposite is quoting to much. :-)

    RSS is good, but as far as I know, you can't reply. You can click on the link in the feed and open the forum, which I guess is better than nothing.
    Steve
    Friday, April 25, 2008 4:00 PM

  • RSS is good, but as far as I know, you can't reply.


    Yeah, does anyone know of a platform that might use RSS as a sync mechanism. I'm SURE I heard about one somewhere ... :)

    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.
    Friday, April 25, 2008 4:03 PM
  •  
    robjoh said:

    Thanks everyone for the great conversation going on here. I'll answer what I can:

    -Threaded Replies: we do track the message that was replied to. In a future revision, we hope to have the option of Flat View or Threaded View based on user preference.


    Threaded view would be great. I hate seeing three posts at the bottom of a flat thread from the same person because they are answering 3 different posts. I understand it as I am doing it now, but it looks bad. It is a lot easier to follow a conversation if the post you are replying to is right above it.

    -Offline Solution: We're developing a web service based api that would allow for a pretty wide range of scenarios and Offline has definitely come up.


    This sounds interesting. I would be willing to try anything if it facilitates my ability to work with the group.

    -Online Presence: We were just discussing this today and may be prototyping that soon


    Also sounds like a good idea. I like the idea of knowing when the person I am replying to is online and I know that if I ask a question, I may get an answer sooner than if they are not online.
    Steve
    Friday, April 25, 2008 4:08 PM
  • Jamie Thomson said:

    artfudd said:

    Jamie Thomson said:

    If you're having hands-in-the-air voting then i vote for web forums. I prefer the increased functonality.

    I know a lot of people do prefer NNTP though.


    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.



    What functionality? You have said that you don't even use NNTP newsgroups, so by comparison (if you can even do so) how is there any "increased functionality" with forums? I must be missing something I guess... :)
    Art..



    Where did I say that? Must have bene an oversight because I do use NNTP when I have to...e.g. for the Windows Live Butterfly ng and the MVP newsgroups.

    The reasons I prefer forums are:

    1. Accessible without client software (except a browser - which is ubiquitous)
    2. Each thread/post/etc... becomes a resource. In other words, something addressable with a URL. That, for me, is a HUGE thing and is the primary reason why I prefer forums. I belive Google Groups may enable something similar but I believe there is less value in linking to a copy of a resource rather than the resource itself.
    3. I'm an interface junkie - rich interfaces I like (and I happen to think the one I'm on right now is fantastic)
    4. Better tracking abilities - sort of what Nadia said above. I have an anecdote to share regarding how useful this can be if you'd like.
    5. Forum member reputation. Some see this as a pointless and intrusive feature but I like it. If I'm new on a forum then its a guide as to how useful the answer might be. More information is, to me, a good thing.
    6. I can get setup notifications for when someone replies to a thread. i.e. If I choose to I can get content pushed to me rather than having to pull it.
    7. Therse forums (just like the ones where I earn my MVP stripes) have the ability to insert and therefore highlight/format code. I consider that to be a good thing. I'm sure anyone that used to code in text editors as opposed to Visual Studio can't deny that code frmatting is a good thing.
    8. Instant idicatetion of when a thread was posted e.g. "artfudd 1 hours 31 minutes ago". Again, more information - good thing.
    9. I have the option to embed hyperlinks rather than having to post a whole URL that doesn't become a hyperlink in some NNTP readers
    10. Thread summary on this page is useful. Again - more information.
    11. I can delete/edit posts which I don't think I can with NNTP (I stand to be corrected)
    12. Those edits can be commented upon in some forums - again, more information.
    13. Correct answers can be marked as such. This may seem inconsequential to you but I know that it is HUGE for people in Microsoft (I knkow because I've spoken to them) because they can track ratio over questions to correct answer and stuff like that.
    14. I can search for threads that have certain attributes. e.g. On the forum where I earn my MVP stripes I can go and retrieve all threads that haven't yet been marked as answered. This saves me time because I don't have to read threads that have already been answered.
    15. Forums can be arranged hierarchically. I don't think that's true of NTP (I stand to be corrected)
    16. Some forums show presence. i.e. I can see if a person who posted a thread is online or not. This will be leveraged greatly in the near future I'm sure - it isn't happening yet.
    17. I'm a heavy RSS reader so RSS feeds are a plus for me.

    Is that enough? I could type more but my fingers are hurting :)

    Of course, the massive downside is no offline capability but that doesn't bother me too much.

    Of course, the ideal solution would be something that syncs between both. There's that magic word again - sync. What's Live mesh? its a sync platform. I hope that the Live Mesh platform can provide a good solution in this space.

    Its a matter of opinion. I'm not saying I'm right. I just happen to prefer forums.

    -Jamie


    http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson - If your question is answered, please mark as answered.



    Wow! Great answer Jamie... thanks for that. I will try to examine all of the points you have made and see if I can learn how to use this forum, and then see if I still feel the same way about it. It is not that I am not willing to try new things, it is just that if I have to go through the mish-mash (as I see it) of a forum for every NG that I subscribe to, then the time consumption goes up from maybe browising 30 or so NGs and answering/posting accordingly... to accessing the same number of seperate forums and posting accordingly.... resulting in a time consideration of maybe 2 hours or so for the NG compared to all frigging day for that many forums.

    Perhaps if one is only involved in a couple of forums (like probably most MS people are), then I can see that it would not be that big of a pain in astroturf... but to me it *is* a pain to use a forum in place of every NG I frequent.  One big pain right now for instance is that I cannot even copy my reply that I am writing right now, and past it into a spell checker.. it copies the entire quoted text instead of just what I highlight - in fact it only copies the quoted text and not my highlighted reply - so I virtually have no way to spell check it.. 

    They have a long long long way to go to make forums user friendly IMO... :)
    Art..
    Friday, April 25, 2008 5:31 PM
  • robjoh said:

    Since it seems to be a common theme among the NNTP group, how far would a threaded view go towards closing the gap?

    Just thinking out loud here, what about a Filter on the Thread page that would only show messages between the last time you viewed the thread and "now"? I think I've seen a couple asks for something like this.


    Rob J, Forums Dev



    Make a forum reader that can list every forum I might want to moniter, and then make each one threaded with new posts highlighted, and then make it so I can quickly and readily see and reply if desired to whatever posts I want to without spending 10 or more times the amout of time it takes to do the same thing in a NNTP newsgroup reader.... then I might be willing to give it a real honest try... :)

    Making forums collectively as easy, as fast, as convenient, as newgroups listed in an NNTP reader (like Outlook Express or Windows Mail), has a very long long long way to go IMO before I can do with forums what I do with newsgroups in the same amount of time. Try frequenting and participating in 30 or 40 forums and see how much time it takes compared to doing the same in an NNTP reader for the same number of newsgroups... :) I can't even spell check this silly thing..:)
    Art..
    Friday, April 25, 2008 5:38 PM
  • Spell Check is available by clicking the little green arrow in the toolbar of the compose frame, Art. :-)
     
    Try it, you may like it.
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Friday, April 25, 2008 5:41 PM
    Moderator

  • You actually see a bunch of threads when you arrive in the Live Mesh forum - since it only has a single topic index.

    Each item in the initial list view is a thread. They are sorted by newest activity at the top to oldest activity at the bottom. You can apply filters and limited sorts to this view.

    To see threads with new activity since your last view, click the "Unread" button at the top of the index.
    What's missing is the ability to filter the posts *within* a thread to only show unread posts, so you need to scroll or page down to see the activity, which is a bit of a pain.
    Having the ability to apply a filter for only unread posts within a thread or a date range of posts within a thread might make things easier.

    I've suggested both in the suggestions forum for the MSDN/Communities software - http://forums.community.microsoft.com/en/suggest/threads/

    -steve


    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator



    Steve.. do you know of any kind of 'forum reader' that can be used to monitor and read and participate in like I can in a NG reader like Windows Mail or Outlook Express, without spending a 100 times the amount of time to do so? Until there is such a reader, there is no way that forums can compete with a NG reader for efficiently ... that I can see anyway.. :)
    Art..
    Friday, April 25, 2008 5:49 PM
  • artfudd said:


    You actually see a bunch of threads when you arrive in the Live Mesh forum - since it only has a single topic index.

    Each item in the initial list view is a thread. They are sorted by newest activity at the top to oldest activity at the bottom. You can apply filters and limited sorts to this view.

    To see threads with new activity since your last view, click the "Unread" button at the top of the index.
    What's missing is the ability to filter the posts *within* a thread to only show unread posts, so you need to scroll or page down to see the activity, which is a bit of a pain.
    Having the ability to apply a filter for only unread posts within a thread or a date range of posts within a thread might make things easier.

    I've suggested both in the suggestions forum for the MSDN/Communities software - http://forums.community.microsoft.com/en/suggest/threads/

    -steve


    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator



    Steve.. do you know of any kind of 'forum reader' that can be used to monitor and read and participate in like I can in a NG reader like Windows Mail or Outlook Express, without spending a 100 times the amount of time to do so? Until there is such a reader, there is no way that forums can compete with a NG reader for efficiently ... that I can see anyway.. :)
    Art..



    Thanks Steve... I guess I have not used these forums enough to know what all it will do... But... when I try it, it spell checks the entire text... it will NOT only spell check my reply - even if I highlight it.. not only that, but the spell check window hides some of the highlighted words, and if I click off the window, it dissappears.... it sucks IMO..:)
    Art..
    Friday, April 25, 2008 5:56 PM
  • Unfortunately, the off-line experience of a reader is missing for the forum world. As discussed above, doing a feed to a ListServ or nntp is one direction to take, but I don't think either is good for replies. There's too much of a disparity between the forum functionality and the nntp experience and email experience.
    I know that the Communities team is committed to developing a solution for this as there is a large population that remains very vocal about their dislike of forums.
    Your previous point about the quantity of groups is an excellent case for an off-line aggregator/reader solution. The problem with it would be that *all* of the forums or newsgroups would have to migrate to the same platform to make it useful. If all Microsoft communities were migrated to this same environment and a client application was deployed that acted like an nntp newsreader/email client, we'd be in great shape.

    I'm really liking the experience in this forum software so far, but it does have a few things I'd like to see that I've now suggested. However, I'm looking at a single forum topic - Live Mesh - in the larger collection of forums available. As long as this forum stays in an active browser session, filtered to unread, and showing a list of threads, I can see new activity at a glance. In the OneCare forums, I've got 15 topic folders to watch and more when there's a beta running! I can't see having all that activity in a single topic folder and I certainly don't want 15 bowser tabs running.
    Browsing through 40 or so active beta newsgroups can be done fairly quickly in nntp and my reader, Agent, retains older messages that I can unhide if I need to understand a thread where the discussion drifted. In a forum I'm loading the thread each time and paging through it... I can't imagine handling 40 forum topic folders in a browser to keep track of various beta discussions.

    So, yes, I long for an off-line solution, too.

    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Friday, April 25, 2008 6:02 PM
    Moderator
  • artfudd said:


    Thanks Steve... I guess I have not used these forums enough to know what all it will do... But... when I try it, it spell checks the entire text... it will NOT only spell check my reply - even if I highlight it.. not only that, but the spell check window hides some of the highlighted words, and if I click off the window, it dissappears.... it sucks IMO..:)
    Art..


    The spell checker is a start, but it probably needs some work. I think they might want to borrow the Windows Live Hotmail inline, on the fly checker, especially since my spell checker from IE7Pro doesn't work on the Ajax forms here...

    We are probably way off topic at this point, though, for Live Mesh. You might want to venture to the Feedback forum for Communities by clicking the breadcrumb link: "Microsoft > Forums > Live Mesh >" - click on Forums. You'll see the feedback and suggestions forum: http://forums.community.microsoft.com/en/suggest/threads/
    -steve

    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Friday, April 25, 2008 6:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Count me in for the NNTP as well.  BTs are willing to volunteer to participate in betas, and do so in order to help MS produce the best products it can.  But, we have real lives too, families, jobs, health issues, important things that must also take part of our very precious time. So if we are willing to share the non-replenishable time out of our daily life to help MS, the very least MS can do is try to assist us by providing a means for us to participate that does not require additional time to do so.  The technology is there, we are not asking MS to reinvent the wheel, only to use the one that is already available. There is no reason why there can not be both. For experienced BTs who are already freely giving a good deal of time to MS, I truly don't think it is too much to ask of MS in return.

    Jan :)

    Windows XP - Vista - Internet Explorer
    Saturday, April 26, 2008 5:41 PM
  • I'm another vote for an NNTP interface. Wouldn't have an NNTP interface be kind of like having a local cached version of the data in the cloud? Like, oh I don't know, Live Mesh?? NNTP is way faster than forums.
    Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2:08 AM
  • Glenn Blinckmann said:

    I'm another vote for an NNTP interface. Wouldn't have an NNTP interface be kind of like having a local cached version of the data in the cloud? Like, oh I don't know, Live Mesh?? NNTP is way faster than forums.



    Exactly.  Mesh at one level is a kinda NNTP server on the clients and the cloud.  So the next mesh app should be an NNTP "like" client to read the forums.  For more then 1 or 2 groups, NNTP is the only way to go.  I would guess that people that like forums actually have not used NNTP a lot and don't understand fully the advantages (naturally there is always exceptions).  Myself, it is painful and slow to use forums.  They are fancy, but that itself gets in the way of production.  Why couldn't you just use NNTP and somehow hide metadata in the message for forum users?  That said, I still kinda find it interesting to create a new forum/NNTP backend (i.e. Mesh based).  The UI could then be NNTP clone or web page based or WPF or Silverlight or Console based or PowerShell cmdlets, and have Linq ability.  Interesting proof of concept app.  I'd build the darn thing myself if I had an API :-)
    Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2:34 AM
  • My vote is for NNTP for the following reasons:-

    Interface

    The layout will always be the same. There is no need to worry about having to navigate when the site gets redesigned. One can customize my reader as much as want, rather than being restricted to what the forum software offers.

    Speed

    One can obtain all new posts in a few moments, rather than having to navigate each thread. Also since it is mostly pure text it is much more efficient and reduces data download which is great for mobile connections.

    Flexibility

    Like the interface, one is not limited to the functionality of the forum software. If there is something my newsreader cannot do, one can just code in the appropriate functionality.

    Someone mentioned about being able to see which threads have new replies; many nntp clients can do this, just perhaps not some or all of the Microsoft ones.
    Thursday, May 22, 2008 9:38 AM