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navigating within MSDN Visual Studio forums

    Question

  • Navigating within the MSDN developer forums for Visual Studio has become very difficult.  Begin at this URL:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/vstudio/en-US/home?category=visualstudio&forum=vsto&filter=alltypes&sort=lastpostdesc

    On the left are the checkboxes for various forms.  On this day I clicked "Select all" to deselect all, then clicked Visual Studio Setup and Installation.  Some thread are displayed, but I am not in that forum.  How do I get to that forum?

    Lets presume I am in that forum.  Click Ask a question. First I must use Forum Category.  But wait, on the last screen I just selected the forum for setup and installation.  I should not have to answer that question again.

    To continue, the category box is way too small.  There are many categories but only five at a time are display.  I dislike looking through a tiny knothole when trying to find something.  Make this dialog larger.  Make it a drop down.  To the web page developers:  You can do it.  You have the technology.

    To continue again: There is no category for Setup and Installation.  Nothing that fits at all.  This is not good.

    So, ...,

    1.  Where is the forum for setup and installation?

    2.  How is the neophyte expected to navigate from the above URL to that forum?

    Thanks for your time.


    ~jag77 We need to know what a dragon is before we study its anatomy. (Bryan Kelly, 2010) If you work with telemetry please visit this bulletin board: www.bkelly.ws/irig_106

    • Moved by Mike Kinsman Monday, September 23, 2013 7:15 PM forums issue
    Sunday, September 22, 2013 3:00 AM

Answers

  • I see what one of the issues is.  When you click on Select All to uncheck everything, for some reason it is placing a checkmark in Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO).  This is easy to miss.  So then you check Setup and Installation and you now have 2 Categories selected.  Again this is very easy to miss.  So now you click Ask a Question and because there are 2 Categories selected, it does not know which one you want to use, so it throws up the selection dialog (which should most DEFINITELY be a dropdown instead!).

     

    After looking a little more, I see your link URL has VSTO in it which is why it probably selects that Category even after you try to deselect everything.  Not sure what the folks who made this new forum would term that...a bug or a feature.  IMO, if you try to deselect all categories, it should NOT auto select one afterwards.  So I would vote BUG.

    To get to where you want to go, first click Select All, then wait a second for the VSTO to check itself.  Now uncheck it, then check Setup and Installation.  You should now be in the Category that you want.

    And yes, a neophyte would probably just give up.  Heck I know of many veteran users who have given up on this new 'improved' design.

    • Marked as answer by JAG77 Wednesday, September 25, 2013 9:12 PM
    Monday, September 23, 2013 10:01 PM

All replies

  • I see what one of the issues is.  When you click on Select All to uncheck everything, for some reason it is placing a checkmark in Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO).  This is easy to miss.  So then you check Setup and Installation and you now have 2 Categories selected.  Again this is very easy to miss.  So now you click Ask a Question and because there are 2 Categories selected, it does not know which one you want to use, so it throws up the selection dialog (which should most DEFINITELY be a dropdown instead!).

     

    After looking a little more, I see your link URL has VSTO in it which is why it probably selects that Category even after you try to deselect everything.  Not sure what the folks who made this new forum would term that...a bug or a feature.  IMO, if you try to deselect all categories, it should NOT auto select one afterwards.  So I would vote BUG.

    To get to where you want to go, first click Select All, then wait a second for the VSTO to check itself.  Now uncheck it, then check Setup and Installation.  You should now be in the Category that you want.

    And yes, a neophyte would probably just give up.  Heck I know of many veteran users who have given up on this new 'improved' design.

    • Marked as answer by JAG77 Wednesday, September 25, 2013 9:12 PM
    Monday, September 23, 2013 10:01 PM
  • Thank you for taking the time to read and check out my complaint.  And YES, I much prefer the forums before the recent changes (maybe the last year or so) began.  Please go back to the old format.  If that's not going to happen, then listen to your current users and make it usable.

    Readers:  If you want something changed, you must say something.  Can I get some support here?  Even if you just post "agree", that may make a difference.

    Thank you for your time,

    Bryan


    ~jag77 We need to know what a dragon is before we study its anatomy. (Bryan Kelly, 2010) If you work with telemetry please visit this bulletin board: www.bkelly.ws/irig_106

    Monday, September 23, 2013 10:27 PM
  • Thank you for taking the time to read and check out my complaint.  And YES, I much prefer the forums before the recent changes (maybe the last year or so) began.  Please go back to the old format.  If that's not going to happen, then listen to your current users and make it usable.

    We've been asking for the old design to return since day one, but it's just not going to happen at this point (~3 months after the redesign). There have been many improvements over the last few months, but there's still a long way to go, IMHO.

    Readers: If you want something changed, you must say something. Can I get some support here? Even if you just post "agree", that may make a difference.

    I suggest posting any thoughts/suggestions in the 'Forums Redesign - Q&A / Discussions' or the 'Suggestions and Feedback for the Forums' forum. Here's a link that will have both selected:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/home?forum=forumsredesign%2Csuggest&filter=alltypes&sort=lastpostdesc

    Several of the issues that I have posted over there have been addressed so far, so changes are being (slowly) made to fix these problems.

    EDIT: Also, just so you know, most of us who will respond here aren't Microsoft employees, and we can't actually make any changes. All we can do is voice our opinion.


    Don't retire TechNet! - (Maybe there's still a chance for hope, over 11,925+ strong and growing)


    Monday, September 23, 2013 10:35 PM
    Moderator
  • You can check this article http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/17968.new-forums-design-suggestions-impressions-ideas.aspx There used to be a thread link to vote to go back to the old design, but at some point someone removed it from that article and I didn't re-add - there is no point and no hope.

    From 2009 till 2013 I used to be very active in SQL Server forums especially in Transact-SQL forum. I read all new messages and when I lag behind, I spent my weekends catching up.

    Now I may open this forum once a day just to check. Sometimes I don't even open it for days.

    The forum's team killed something I loved :( I am yet to find something else to fill the void. I know many people left the forums, one of them is Erland Sommarskog whose advices were invaluable. 


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles


    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 3:04 AM
    Moderator
  • Naomi I did not realise this... I am bitterly disappointed to hear that Erland has gone. 

    I answer some questions, but ask a lot as well.

    I ask questions for professional, business purposes. 

    Erland is one of the most honest and help MVPs around on the forums.

    I make a living from Microsoft products and rely on these forums as a method of reaching out to other professionals/members of the CRM and SQL Server communities who also make a living using these products.

    Seeing the likes of Erland Sommarskog (and yourself) stop contributing to the SQL Server forums is a huge disappointment. 








    • Edited by Josh Ashwood Monday, September 30, 2013 10:26 AM
    Monday, September 30, 2013 5:26 AM
  • I am happy to see these posts.  The MSDN forums were much better before all these recent changes.  I have some hope that if we can generate enough traffic in this forum the original format might be returned.

    Contact everyone you know and get as many posts here as possible.


    ~jag77 We need to know what a dragon is before we study its anatomy. (Bryan Kelly, 2010) If you work with telemetry please visit this bulletin board: www.bkelly.ws/irig_106

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 4:57 PM
  • I am happy to see these posts.  The MSDN forums were much better before all these recent changes.  I have some hope that if we can generate enough traffic in this forum the original format might be returned.

    Contact everyone you know and get as many posts here as possible.


    ~jag77 We need to know what a dragon is before we study its anatomy. (Bryan Kelly, 2010) If you work with telemetry please visit this bulletin board: www.bkelly.ws/irig_106

    I wouldn't hold your breath. There are countless threads asking for this and we've gotten nowhere.

    Don't retire TechNet! - (Maybe there's still a chance for hope, over 12,000+ strong and growing)

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:24 PM
    Moderator
  • I don't think it will help. In the beginning we were pretty loud about our disappointment. There were lots of threads, votes, etc. In 3 voting threads there were hundreds of - 1 vote and just a few positive votes. But the forum's owners are keeping their design and just making bug fixes. Nobody cares that some people left the forums, that I stopped answering in the forum I loved :(

    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:24 PM
    Moderator
  • You are probably right.  Still, I will attempt to throw in a new wrinkle.

    To the person or people that decided to make these really bad changes:

    Have you the courage to stand up and say: 

    My name is _____ and I made the decision to implement these changes.  Here is how to contact me: me@myaddress.com

    Or: Do you plan to meet our complaints with the stonewall of no response at all and hide behind your corporate anonymity.

    Of course, there are other possibilities.  For instance, the people that maintain these forums, at a non-trivial expense I suspect, simply don't want to mess with them [the forums] and longer and are taking this backdoor exit strategy.

    And yes, I am hoping to goad someone into taking responsibility and replying to the Microsoft programmer / developer community.  Maybe even enter a conversation as to why you have made these changes.

    No, I'll not hold my breath.

    To other users and forum management:  Will we be censored if we list other forums where we will attempt to post our questions?  I would put a forum up on my web site if I thought anyone would look there. 

    Bryan Kelly


    ~jag77 We need to know what a dragon is before we study its anatomy. (Bryan Kelly, 2010) If you work with telemetry please visit this bulletin board: www.bkelly.ws/irig_106

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 6:19 PM
  • Well, if you want to know the forum I consider perfect in terms of User Interface, then I recommend www.universalthread.com forum. Many regulars are there for more than 10 years. I've been there from 1999.

    It is only one person who created that forum and he is also a user of that forum - e.g. he doesn't hesitate to ask technical questions. He is also very responsive to requests.

    That forum does not have a huge traffic, but it does have several good knowledgeable users, especially in .NET section.


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 6:52 PM
    Moderator
  • Well Naomi... thank god Joe Celko hasn't left... 

    that would really break my heart... :D


    *chuckles*


    Thanks! Josh

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 3:36 AM
  • Actually I think it might have been Joe Celko who designed the new UI....

    (jokes)


    Thanks! Josh

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 3:38 AM
  • Nah, he is a database guy, he never works with interface. May be he helped to develop underlying DB structure with DUNS and such.

    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 2:10 PM
    Moderator