New Community Tools Highlighted @ Microsoft Watch

Check out this article on for some tidbits about the new community tools being released shortly on Microsoft sites.,1995,1607371,00.asp

What more could Microsoft ask for? It has market share, cash reserves and brand recognition that most competitors could only dream of. But one prize still eludes the Redmond software giant: better customer-satisfaction ratings.

"Another big phenomenon is building communities around Web sites, around products. And virtually every company ought to have on their Web site the ability for their customers, their suppliers, various people to interact and their employees to see the dialogue taking place there and jump in and talk to them and help them," Gates said during his summit address late last month.

Among the new Microsoft tools mentioned were the new chat and web based newsreader clients. You’ll notice, when the new news reader is live, that the UI is very office like and incorporates the increasingly popular 3-pane views. You then should notice that we are starting to care about reputation, identity, and post quality ratings in this tool.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I’ve been working with teams across Microsoft on future threaded discussion solutions. This tool does not yet contain the fruits of those labors. This tool was too far into development to effect much change. Ideally, we can take the best of this new tool, mix it with some of the best features of the Asp.Net forum store (like moderation, search, flexible UI, etc), offer rich offline support, expose services for non-Microsoft owned communities to consume, and enable teams to own and better organize their threaded discussion group hierarchies. I’m sure I’m leaving off some of the feature requests. Regardless… this UI is going to be a LOT better than the previous web based NNTP UI’s you’ve seen from Redmond.