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Suggestion: Create a Forums Groups page

    General discussion

  • It's very hard to find an appropriate forum if each and every tiny TechNet department has its own separate collection of forums.

    For example:
    • The Windows 7 forums belong to the Windows Client TechCenter department
    • The Hyper-V forums belong to the Windows Server TechCenter department
    • Even the Virtual Machine Manager software has got it's own collection of forums in the System Center Virtual Machine Manager TechCenter department
    I'd like to suggest to create a forum map, similar to a site map. Some page where every forum can be found, regardless of the department. This list would intrinsically contain a list of all these departments as well. So it would be possible to finally see which departments existed at a glance.
    Sunday, November 1, 2009 7:13 PM

All replies

  • It's going to need a very large page because in addition to all the TechNet forums which you restrict your request to, there are also all the MSDN forums; the Microsoft forums and the Answer forums (and any other different sets they added while I blinked).

    So a good idea, but it doesn't go far enough.

    Maybe all we need is a special search function ("Search for the correct forum here") that will list all the forums that match a particular word. This resulting list *must* include both the name of the set of forums and the name of the forum itself because there are some forum names that give a completely wrong impression of what they cover if used without the name of the parent set of forums.

    (Example "SharePoint Development" which is only for VS 2010 Beta 2 questions about SharePoint development (a fraction of the total). This is only clear if the name of the forum set is also specified.)

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    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 5:26 AM
  • So a good idea, but it doesn't go far enough.

    Maybe all we need is a special search function ("Search for the correct forum here") that will list all the forums that match a particular word. This resulting list *must* include both the name of the set of forums and the name of the forum itself because there are some forum names that give a completely wrong impression of what they cover if used without the name of the parent set of forums.

    Search is good to have, too. But I would like to get that mentioned list also, because things need indexes. But the list shouldn't be one page list only. I have suggested before to create a hierarchical list, that is simple and fast to use.

    So in the first page is nothing more than simple links as major list items. There is no info about who wrote last and no info about who was the most active contributor or such, because those slow the list down. Then you select one list item and get a new page with again simple list of links.

    At the moment MSDN has a kind of index, the big list. But it has a lot of stuff plus it isn't hierarchical enough. And I want the subitems to be in other page in order to make the list clear and fast.

    For example first page could have Windows, Programming, Tools, Architecture, etc. Then if I choose Windows I would get Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc. That would be simple and clear. If I am interested in Windows 7 I go Windows -> Windows 7. Fast and clear. If I choose programming I could get a list of languages. That would be like Programming -> C#. Fast and clear.

    Also because the list is simple, it is easy to be created after you have sketched and then finalized the hierarchy. Just remember to make the hierarchy modifiable by adding permalinks to threads and setting threads to point to hierarchy items. Then you can organize the hierarchy on the fly if people think it should be made better. The hierarchy itself can be a table in database with items pointing to items, and loaded dynamically.

    Benefits of hierarchical list include that it makes people think about what categories, subcategories, metacategories, and or promotions there actually are or should be before adding new stuff. If the hierarchy is mixed and spans accross many sites (MSDN, TechNet, Microsoft, whatnot) then users keep missing better hierarchy.
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 7:00 AM
  • Yes, I agree to both suggestions, and I wish they could be implemented soon.

    Using AJAX or just DHTML it would be possible to combine all our wishes into a single page, where the input search criterion does filter what is being displayed.
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 4:47 PM