Microsoft Q&A To Replace TechNet and MSDN Forums Next Year
Microsoft is replacing its TechNet and MSDN forums with a new site, called "Microsoft Q&A," with completion planned for "mid-2020."
The new Microsoft Q&A forum site is currently at the preview stage and was launched on Tuesday, according to this Microsoft document. It just has moderator support right now for some Azure services, the Universal Windows Platform and Partner Center API. The user interface for asking questions in Microsoft Q&A looks very similar to the Yammer-based form that's used in Microsoft Tech Community posts.
Content from TechNet and MSDN forums won't get migrated over to the Microsoft Q&A site, according to a Q&A page. Those forums will still exist, but users won't be able to ask new questions when the Microsoft Q&A migration is completed. A machine learning algorithm will act on Microsoft Q&A searches, though, to sometimes direct users back to TechNet or MSDN forum content.
Microsoft is inviting its TechNet and MSDN forum moderators to participate at the Microsoft Q&A site. However, anyone can answer questions in Microsoft Q&A. The answers are deemed to be definitive when the person asking the question approves a response as an "accepted answer." Microsoft Q&A users get "reputation points" for participating in Microsoft Q&A, and those points are deemed to be markers of their knowledgeability.
Microsoft plans to continue participating in the Stack Overflow forum, according to the Q&A page, but it expects that Microsoft Q&A will offer better support. Here's how the Q&A page expressed that notion:
It is hard to get a full picture of the customer who is asking a question on Stack Overflow. But on Microsoft Q&A it will be possible to connect the asker to their actual product usage and support contract. This will enable new opportunities to offer the highest quality support.
Microsoft Q&A was described as a "natural extension" of docs.microsoft.com, which offers documents on various topics, and Microsoft Learn, which offers tutorials. Users with a profile established for either of those portals can use the same credentials with Microsoft Q&A, or a new account can be created (it's accessible at the top-right corner of the Microsoft Q&A site).
Oddly, Microsoft announced Microsoft Q&A via a document publication. It was spotted on Thursday by veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley, who wrote about it in this ZDNet article.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.