It's all about community!
There have been a lot of hallway conversations on the p&p team lately and the state of our community infrastructure is one of the popular subjects. Customer feedback influences our guidance more than anything else ... period ... and since our communities are one of the primary ways we interact with customers, you can imagine how important it is to us that they be happy with the experience.
GotDotNet, as it exists today, is not a long-term solution. By the end of the fiscal year, I will have a plan in place to transition off of it and on to ... well, that still remains to be decided. These hallway conversations have been about how we can improve the community experience. Unfortunately, we don't have a very good understanding of how our customers WANT to interact with us - seems strange to hear that, huh? So right now I'm drafting a document that lists all of the capabilities (stacked and ranked) we feel are necessary for our community infrastructure to have - independent of anything that may already exists.
I fully intend on making this document publically available, but first, we would really like to know how YOU would like to interact with it. First, think about the communities you've seen and use today: gotdotnet.com, channel9.msdn.com, codeplex.com, forums.microsoft.com, sourceforge.net, netfx3.com, blogs, etc. Think about the things you like, and don't like. Think about the things you use and don't use. Feel free to read the following questions to stimulate some brainstorming even though it is a far-from-comprehensive list.
- What are your thoughts about "joining" a site?
- What do you prefer for member credentials (username/password, hotmail/passport account, other)?
- What is needed as far as roles go (owner, contributor, member, anonymous)?
- How do you want to get new drops (zip, exe, msi)?
- Do you want a source code tree to sync with?
- What is the right frequency for releases (weekly, forthnightly, monthly)?
- What is the right quality bar for releases (just builds, no exceptions, very stable)?
- How far back do you want to be able to go? Realistically?
- Do you want to be able to submit bugs? And track them (priority, status, etc.)? How?
- What kind of queries do you want to run against the bug database?
- What would you use the issue tracking feature for?
- Is a forum (message board) the most appropriate mechanism? If not, what is?
- What features are needed (sticky posts, creator control, post popping, quoting, etc.)?
- What metrics are you most interested in (e.g. number of [unread/answered] posts)?
- How do you want to provide feedback to the team?
- Is wiki the most appropriate mechanism? If not, what is?
- Will you edit pages (like written guidance) if given the choice?
- Would you contribute new topics if given the opportunity?
- How can the team communicate to you more effectively?
Like I said, this is FAR from comprehensive, but hopefully it generated some sparks. I can tell you that any direction you can give us will influence our decisions in a big way. Think of what the perfect community site would let you do - and let us know. Thanks!