NOTE: These release notes are carefully and closely monitored. Any changes you make will be evaluated and then quickly accepted, refined, or reverted. Make sure you leave a comment (in the Edit tab) to explain any changes you're making. Do you need forum support? See MSDN and TechNet Forum Support.

NOTE:
After the Forums re-design of June 18, 2013, this FAQ requires major modification or replacement. Much of the information still applies, but the images in particular must be replaced. This is a known issue. Although this is a work in progress, several updated "How to's" can be found in the Updated Forums FAQ.
Getting Started

How do I sign in to Forums?

How do I create my Forums Profile?

How do I create a post?

How can I be notified of a reply to my post?

How can I tell who posted a post in a thread?



User Profiles, Registration, and Login

Why do I need to register?

How do I register for a Microsoft Windows Live™ ID account?

What is a Forums Profile?

How do I register for a Forum?

What is a Display Name? How do I edit it?

Why am I receiving an error while setting my Display Name?

What is a Signature? How do I edit it?

How do I add an Avatar to my Profile? How do I change it?

I already signed in to Forums, why do I get signed out automatically?

How do I avoid Spam?

What is the "Use NNTP Bridge" option in My Settings?



System Requirements and Issue Reporting

Which browsers and operating systems are supported by Forums?

What are the recommended screen resolutions for viewing Forums?

Should I have scripting enabled on my browser?

How do I report issues with the Forums?



Notifications

How can I be notified about new posts in the Forums?

What are alerts?

How do I sign up for alerts?

How do I unsubscribe from alerts?

How do I manage the settings of my alerts?

How do I view all threads that I am subscribed to?

Why is my Forum notification missing?

What is the RSS icon next to the Forum name or thread subject?

What happens if I say "I do too" for also needing an answer to a question?



Navigation

What is a Forum?

What is a Thread?

What do the Thread icons mean?

How do I know where I am while in a Forum?

How do I quickly navigate to another Forum?

How do I view all threads that I posted or started?

How do I locate the Forums for a Brand?

How do I get to a Forum's Home page for a Locale?

How do I view top answerers?

How do I search for a user?

How do I view threads for a user?

Why would a user be banned from the Forums?

Can I view a list of banned users?

Why is the Forums Home Page not displaying any Forums?

When I view a Forum, I do not see any posts. Why?

What is a Sticky Thread?

What is a Locked Thread?



Posting

How do I post a new message?

How do I reply to an existing message?

Why am I unable to post a new message?

How do I edit my posts?

How do I rate a post?

How do I delete my posts?

Why am I unable to delete my post?

How do I cancel submission of a thread?

Why my post has words replaced with ***?

How do I indicate a post answered my question?

Why should I indicate a post answered my question?

How do I report abuse?

I have reported abuse but no action has been taken. What can I do?



New Features 

How do I propose a reply as an answer?

How do I quote a post in a reply?

How do I receive live alerts for the modifications made to a thread?

Can I include code in the reply that I post to Forums?

How can I preview a thread?

How do I view the reply hierarchy in a thread?

How can I mark all threads in a forum as "read"?

New My Settings Page

Auto Update Alerts

My Forums

What is the "Use NNTP Bridge" option in My Settings?

What happens if I say "I do too" for also needing an answer to a question?



Searching for Answers

How do I find the right Forum?

How do I browse Forums?

How do I search threads?

How do I use filters?

What do the new filters allow me to do?

How do I find answered questions?

How do I find questions to be answered?

How do I search for posts in a different language?

What if my language does not appear in the Forums lists?



Recognition System

Recent Forums Recognition Changes

How does the new recognition system work?

How do I get points?

How do I get achievements?

I used to have more points, what happened?

I deserve more points or achievements, what do I do?



Moderation

How do I move a thread?

Why am I unable to move a thread?

How do I edit a post in a thread?

How do I delete a thread or message?

Why I cannot delete thread or post from a Forum?

How do I view deleted threads?

How do I restore a deleted thread or message?

How do I post announcements?

How do I post a Sticky Thread?

How do I unlock a Locked thread?

How do I create posts in moderator-only Forums?

How do I know I have been added as a moderator or an answerer?

I have heard about escalating threads, how can I do that?



Glossary of Terms

Answerer

Brand

Category

Community

Forum

Forum Owner

Forum Moderator

Locale

Post

Spam

System Administrator

Thread



Other

See Also

Other Languages
 

Getting Started

How do I sign in to Forums?

You can sign in to the Forums by clicking the Sign In link in the upper-right portion of the Forums page. You will need Microsoft Windows Live™ ID credentials (e-mail and password) to sign in. After signing in, you are returned to the page where you clicked the Sign In link, if you already have a Forums Profile. This page will now show your Display Name.


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How do I create my Forums Profile?

After signing in, you are directed to a page where you must complete your Forums Profile if it has not been previously created. To create your Profile, provide the required information on this page. Note that your Display Name is mandatory, but all other information is optional. After providing the information, click Save.

For more information about Forum Profiles, see User Profiles, Registration, and Login.


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How do I create a post?

See How do I post a new message?


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How can I be notified of a reply to my post?

See How do I sign up for alerts?


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How can I tell who posted a post in a thread?

Short answer: You cannot.
Longer answers:
  • One of the primary principles employed in the design of this forum is a clean, uncluttered appearance.  Consequently, by default, poster display names and avatars are not shown.  Also, there is no option to enable the display of these options in user settings.  See My Settings Page
  • Another principal impacting this decision is user privacy.  Because this forum is intended to reach the widest audience possible its content is viewable by all the world via the Internet.  Some users may work for organizations manipulating sensitive data and this fact may be unintentionally revealed by a poster who could then become the target of a spear phishing attack if their display name is automatically revealed by the forum.
  • If the poster edits their post, then a link to the editor's profile is generated by the forum, but because you cannot be certain that it was the original poster (and not the moderator) who made the last edit, and because most posts are never edited, you cannot rely on this mechanism.  Also note, if you desire to keep your identity hidden, then refrain from editing your post.  See How do I edit a post in a thread?
  • To assist with determining who is replying to whom, it may be helpful to turn on Threaded List View. See How do I view the reply hierarchy in a thread?
  • For those users who desire to reveal their identity, they are free to create a signature.  See What is a Signature? How do I edit it?


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User Profiles, Registration, and Login

Why do I need to register?

You can read Forums without registering; however, to take advantage of the advanced features that Forums offer, such as posting questions and requesting notifications for replies, you need to register. It only takes a few seconds to register, and it is recommended that you do so.


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How do I register for a Microsoft Windows Live™ ID account?

You can register for a Windows Live ID account by visiting the Profile Center. Click My Personal Information in the Profile Center section to begin creating your profile. After creating the Windows Live ID account, you can sign in to the Forums by using this user name and password.


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What is a Forums Profile? To participate in Forum discussions, you must create your Profile after signing in. Your Profile may include personal information that you want to share such as your Web address or Weblog address. We recommend that you should be careful about the information you choose to share because it could potentially be harvested by spammers. To view your Profile, Sign in to Forums, and click My Profile located in the My Links at the top right of the page. To view the Profile of another user, click the user's Display Name from wherever it is displayed and then click View Profile.


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How do I register for a Forum?

You can register for Forums by creating your Profile. To register, simply click Sign in on any Forums page. You can use Microsoft Windows Live™ ID credentials (e-mail and password) to sign in. If you sign in for the first time, you are directed to a page where you must complete your Forums Profile.

Note: You are required to provide a Display Name at a minimum. All other information is optional.


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What is a Display Name? How do I edit it? 

Your Display Name is the name that you use when posting messages to a discussion group and indicates the author of a post. The Display Name that you type in your Profile information is the name that appears in the description of any new posts that you create. You may use your real name as your Display Name, but note that the Display Name is visible to all users in the Forum. You can edit your Display Name by clicking My Profile in the My Links box on any page on Forums, modifying the Display Name, and then clicking Save.


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Why am I receiving an error while setting my Display Name?

You might receive an error while setting your Display Name because of the following reasons:

  • The Display Name contains certain words that are considered profane.
  • Another user is already registered with this name.
  • The Display Name box is left empty.
  • The number of characters in the Display Name is more than 32.


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What is a Signature? How do I edit it? 

A Signature is appended at the end of any posts you create in Forums. You can edit your Signature by clicking My Settings in theQuick Access drop-down menu on the left side of any page on Forums, modifying the Signature, and then clicking Save.

The Signature by default is in plain text format. To add customized signatures and links to your blogs, add the HTML code in your signature.


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Why am I receiving an error while setting my Signature?

You might receive an error while setting your Signature because of the following reasons:

  • The Signature contains certain words that are considered profane.
  • The number of characters in the Signature is more than 100.

 

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How do I add an Avatar to my Profile? How do I change it?

You can add an Avatar while creating your profile. Adding an Avatar to your profile is optional. An Avatar appears besides your Display Name in the interface.

You can change your Avatar by clicking My Profile on any page on Forums, modifying the Avatar, and then clicking Save.


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Why am I receiving an error while setting the Avatar?

You might receive an error while setting your Avatar because of the following reasons:

  • The size of the graphic is more than 1 MB.
  • The graphic is not in a preferred file format.

 

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I already signed in to Forums, why do I get signed out automatically?

When signing in to Microsoft Forums, if you do not select Sign me in automatically, you will be automatically signed out after an administrator-defined length of inactivity. If you want to sign in automatically to the Forums, select the Sign me in automatically check box.

Important Note: When you sign in to the Forums site, it is recommended that you retain the default LiveID setting of Save my e-mail address. Changing the setting to Save my e-mail address and password can lead to problems in signing in to the Forums.


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How do I avoid Spam?

It is likely that you will receive unwanted messages (spam) in your e-mail account. To avoid Spam, try providing a different version of your e-mail address that others will understand but spam tools cannot automatically pick up. For example, if an actual e-mail address is someone@example.com, we would recommend modifying it to one of the following:

  • someone@example.com.(donotspam)
  • someone@REMOVE_CAPS_AND_INVALIDexample.com
  • someone@example.com.NO_SPAM
By codifying your e-mail address in this way, legitimate correspondents will use your actual address, while automated spam tools will send mail to the invalid address.

An alternate strategy is to use a secondary e-mail account, such as a Hotmail account, that is separate from your primary account for posting to discussion groups.


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System Requirements and Issues Reporting

Which browsers and operating systems are supported by Forums?

The browsers and operating systems that are supported by Forums are:

    Windows 8 Beta with Internet Explorer 10 Beta, Internet Explorer 9, FireFox and Chrome

    Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 9, FireFox and Chrome
  • Windows Vista® with Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox®
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) with Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 6, and Firefox®
  • Windows 2003 R2 with Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 6, and Firefox®
Others may work, but some features may not function as expected.


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What are the recommended screen resolutions for viewing Forums?

Recommended screen resolutions for viewing Forums are 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Higher and lower resolutions may work, but all features may not be fully functional.


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Should I have scripting enabled on my browser?

Yes, scripting must be enabled on your browser while accessing Forums so that you can take advantage of all new features of Forums. 


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How do I report issues with the Forums?

You can report bugs, suggestions, and other issues for Forums, by performing one of the following actions:

  • Bug: If the issue seems like a bug in the forums code, go to the Bug Reporting Forum and report the bug by using the template provided in the top forum thread.
  • Suggestion: If you have a suggestion for a feature in Forums site, or a general concern, post this in the Suggestions and Feedback forum.
  • Other Issues: If you cannot post to the Forums site for some reason, or you have an issue that is not a bug or a suggestion, you can use the Site Feedback link at the bottom of any Forums page, and the Contact team will either answer your question directly or will escalate the issue to the Forums team. 


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Notifications

How can I be notified about new posts in the Forums?

You can be notified of changes in the Forums by using two methods: 

  • Alerts: You can be notified about new posts in the Forums by subscribing to alerts. For information on subscribing to alerts, see How can I sign up for alerts?
  • RSS feeds: You can be notified about new posts in the Forums by subscribing to feeds. To do this, click the RSS icon next to Forum name or thread subject, and then click Subscribe to this feed.
You can also be notified about new posts in the Forums by selecting If selected, all forums posts will default to enable Live Alerts check box.


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What are alerts?

Alerts are email notifications users can receive when someone contributes to a thread they are interested in tracking.

Note: To receive alerts, you need to opt in for the service. For more information, see How do I sign up for alerts?


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How do I sign up for alerts?

  • Configure Your Email Address: To receive alerts you first need to provide a valid email address. To do this go to the "My Settings" page when you are logged in. Then enter in a valid email address twice and click "Submit". This will send you a validation email. Click the link in the validation email to complete the process and register your email with the system to receive forum alert notifications.
  •  
  • Subscribing to Threads: After configuring your email address, you can sign up for alerts while creating a new post or reading an existing thread. While creating a new post or replying to an existing post in a thread, you can subscribe for receiving alerts by selecting the Subscribe to Alerts for this thread check box on the interface before submitting the post. To receive live alerts for an existing thread, click the thread subject to open it, and then click Alert Me on the My Threads page. You must sign in to the Forums to subscribe to a thread. You can view your alerts by clicking My Alerts.



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How do I unsubscribe from alerts?

  • Disable All Alerts: You can stop receiving emails for all forum threads you have subscribed to. To do this, simply go to the "Forum Settings" page and clicking "Unsubscribe" in the "Configure Alerts" section of the page. Your thread subscriptions will remain intact, unsubscribe will simply turn off the email delivery.
  • Unsubscribing from Individual Threads: If you unsubscribe from an individual thread, you will stop receiving alerts for that thread. To unsubscribe, click the thread subject to open it, and then click Remove Alert at the top of the page.



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How do I manage the settings of my alerts?

You can manage settings of the alerts that you receive for a thread. On the My Alerts page, click the Configure Alerts. This takes you to the Forum Settings page enabling you to change your notification email address or change your default setting for being alerted when posting.


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How do I view all threads that I am subscribed to?

If you are signed in to Forums, you can view a list of all threads that you are currently subscribed to. To do this, click My Alerts on any page on Forums. You are taken to a page that lists all threads that you are currently subscribed to along with information on the type, subject that is linked to the thread, and the date and time when it was posted. If you are not subscribed to any threads, you see the "You have not subscribed to any threads." message.


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Why is my Forum notification missing?

In some instances, a System Administrator may decide to remove a Forum from public view. In such an event, the notification subscription for the Forum will be removed from your list.


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What is the RSS icon next to the Forum name or thread subject?

The RSS icon RSS is linked to the Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed for the Forum. RSS is used to allow other applications to subscribe to forums posts.


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Navigation


What is a Forum?


A Forum is a site on the Internet where people interact by posting and reading messages about topics that are of interest to them and the rest of community. Forums contain groupings of related topic threads. A Forum exists in the system with at least one brand, category, and locale. For example, to post messages to the SQL forum, click the SQL Server category on the TechNet home page.


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What is a Thread?

A thread is a grouping of related posts. The first post is the starting of the thread and replies to it are added to the thread.


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What do the Thread icons mean?

The following table lists the Thread icons and their meanings.


Icon Legend



Thread Has CodeThread Has Code

Helpful PostHelpful Post

No RepliesNo Replies

Sort BySort By

Start New ThreadStart New Thread

UserUser

AlertsAlerts

ReplyReply

QuoteQuote

EditEdit

Icon Legend



All ThreadsAll Threads

Unanswered ThreadUnanswered Thread

Answered ThreadAnswered Thread

General Discussion ThreadGeneral Discussion Thread

Proposed AnswerProposed Answer

Sticky ThreadSticky Thread

Locked ThreadLocked Thread

Abusive ThreadAbusive Thread

Deleted ThreadDeleted Thread

Escalated ThreadEscalated Thread


Notes 

  • Threads with the "Locked" icon have been blocked by the Forum Moderator for any additional replies.
  • Threads with the "Sticky" icon have been tagged by the Forum Moderator so that they appear at the top of the list of threads in a Forum.
  • You can move the pointer over any of the icons in the Forum to see a brief explanation of each.


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How do I know where I am while in a Forum?

You can locate your position in a Forum by viewing the Forums Eyebrow element, which is a hierarchical trail showing the exact path for a Forum or Thread. For example, if you search for a Forum or thread from the Home page, and navigate to a Forum or Thread by clicking the search result, the Eyebrow shows the exact location of the Forum or Thread. You can navigate to a higher level by clicking a link in the Eyebrow.


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How do I quickly navigate to another Forum?

You can navigate to another Forum by clicking a higher-level link in the Eyebrow, and then clicking the Forum name that you want to navigate to. 


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How do I view all threads that I posted or started?

You can view all threads that you posted or started after signing in to Forums by clicking My Threads on any page on Forums.


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How do I locate the Forums for a Brand?

You can locate Forums for a brand by typing one of the following URLs in the address bar of your browser:



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How do I get to a Forum's Home page for a Locale?

You can get to Forum's Home page for a Locale by performing one of the following actions:

  • You can directly navigate to forum's home page of a required locale by typing the URL similar to http://social.BrandName.microsoft.com/forums/Locale in the address bar of your browser. For example, if you want to locate forums for the brand MSDN and locale fr-FR, type the URL http://social.MSDN.microsoft.com/forums/fr-FR.
  • You can switch to the Forums Home Page of another Locale from the current Locale by clicking the desired Locale name in the list on the Home page.


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How do I view top answerers? 

You can search for a user by clicking Browse Forums Users on the right side of any page on Forums. A list of some of the top answerers from all the MSDN/TechNet forums is displayed on the Browse Forums Users page.

Second, in any forum, on the right, on the upper right of the Recent Visitors list, click Next two times. You'll see up to 10 of the top answerers for that specific forum. You can continue clicking Next to see the top MVP answerers and top Microsoft answerers for that forum.


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How do I search for a user?

You can search for a user by clicking Browse Forums Users on the right side of any page on Forums. A list of users in that Forum is displayed on the Browse Forums Users page. Type the user name in the Search For Users box, and then click the magnifying glass icon.


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How do I view threads for a user? 

You can view threads for a particular user by clicking the user's display name and then the link to view the user's threads.


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Why would a user be banned from the Forums?

A user may be banned from Forums for using abusive language in posts, display names, using an abusive avatar, or spamming, among other undesirable activities. Each case is considered carefully and a user is generally banned only if there is no other recourse, or the abusive action is repeated and blatant.


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Can I view a list of banned users? 

You cannot view a list of banned users. The users who are banned are not in the list that is displayed on clicking Browse Forums Users.


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Why is the Forums Home Page not displaying any Forums?

The Forums Home Page does not display any forums when scripting is turned off in the browser settings. To view the Forums, enable the scripting.


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When I view a Forum, I do not see any posts. Why?

A Forum may not display any posts if there are no threads in the Forum or if a filter has been applied to screen out the threads or posts.


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What is a Sticky Thread?

A Sticky Thread is a special post that is placed at the top of a thread list for a specified amount of time. A Forum Moderator can turn any thread into a Sticky Thread. Moderators might make some threads sticky for a specified amount of time to promote the visibility of these threads, which ensures that they are displayed at the top of the thread list.


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What is a Locked Thread?

A Locked Thread is a special post that does not allow replies. Only a Moderator can lock posts.


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Posting

How do I post a new message? 

After signing in, you can post a new message to a Forum by clicking "Ask a Question" at the top of the page. This will take you to a forum that lets you chose whether your submission is a Question or a General Discussion. After selecting the type of post that you want to create, you can type the subject and body of the post. You can either input and format code to your message by using the rich text editor code snippet toolbar and dialogs or copy formatted text from Visual Studio and paste it into the rich text editor.

After creating the subject of your post, the page will search and display related messages that have already been posted. This may be useful if you have a common question or are about to post a topic that others have already posted.

Finally, you can submit the post by clicking the Submit button.


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How do I reply to an existing message?

To reply to a post, click Reply displayed with the post. You can also quote an existing message as reply by clicking Quote next to the post that you want to quote as reply. If you do not see the Reply or Quote options when viewing a post, you either do not have permissions to reply (you may need to sign in first) or the post does not allow replies.


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Why am I unable to post a new message?

You might have problems in posting a new message if active scripting is disabled in your browser. To resolve this issue, you can either enable active scripting or add the Forums site to the Trusted Sites list in Internet Explorer 6 or later and Allowed Sites list in Firefox Mozilla.

To add Microsoft Forums as a trusted site, perform the following steps in Internet Explorer 6 or later:

  1. In Internet Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  2. On the Security tab, click the Trusted sites zone.
  3. Click Sites.
  4. In the Add this Web site to the zone box, type the URL for this Web site that is, http://forums.microsoft.com, and then click Add.
To add Microsoft Forums as an allowed site, perform the following steps in Firefox Mozilla:

  1. In Firefox Mozilla, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. In the Options dialog box, click Content.
  3. Click Allowed Sites.
  4. In the Address of web site box, type the URL for this Web site that is, http://forums.microsoft.com, and then click Allow.


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How do I edit my posts?

To edit your post, click the Edit drop-down next to the post you want to edit, and then click Edit. The post opens in an editor where you can modify it. After modifying the post, type the reason for modification in the Edit Reason box, and then click Submit.



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How do I rate a post? 

To rate a post as helpful click the Vote as Helpful on any post. You can vote only once.


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How do I delete my posts? 

To delete your post, go to the thread's page and click the Delete located next in the tool strip beneath the post, click Delete, type the reason for deletion, and then click OK. To cancel the deletion, click Cancel. Note that you will not be able to delete the post if the post has one or more replies. In such cases, submit a request for deleting the post to the moderator. You can delete any posted reply as long as it is not marked as an answer or proposed answer. To work around this, you can unmark it as an answer first. However, the thread can only be deleted if there were no replies to it or the user is a moderator.


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Why am I unable to delete my post?

You will not be able to delete your post if:

  • You have not signed in to Forums.
  • Somebody has already replied to your post.
  • The post has been marked as an answer or proposed answer.


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How do I cancel submission of a thread? 

To cancel submission of a thread that you have started, simply navigate away for the "Ask a Question" page by clicking the eyebrow. Or click you back button in the browser, returning you to the page from where you initiated the thread.


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Why does my post have words replaced with ***?

The System Administrator can specify a word filter for posts. The word filter has a set of words that must not be used by the community. When word filter is enabled on Forums, all characters of the banned words are replaced with asterisks (*).


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How do I indicate a post answered my question? 

To mark a post as answer, click Mark as Answer beneath the post. You can unmark a post as answer by clicking Unmark as the Answer.


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Why should I indicate a post answered my question?

When someone adds a post to a question you asked, you can rate this post as "the answer" to your question. By rating a post as "the answer", you acknowledge the contribution of the person who posted the answer, help others find the answer quickly, and steer further discussions in the right direction.


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How do I report abuse? 

To report abuse, click the Report as Abuse link, type a reason for the post to be abusive, and click OK. The post reported as abuse now shows up in the Reported Abuses list that can be viewed only by the moderator. A moderator can review the posts that are reported as abusive and take actions on these posts.

 

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I have reported abuse but no action has been taken. What can I do?

If you have not seen any action on your report, and suspect that the Forum is not being actively monitored, you can request action by clicking the Site Feedback link at the bottom of any Forums page.


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New Features

How do I propose a reply as an answer?

Users who did not create a question thread can evaluate and propose any reply as a Proposed Answer by clicking Propose as Answer.


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How do I quote a post in a reply? 

You can quote an already existing post in a reply while the post editor is open. by clicking the Quote icons next to the post that you want to quote. You can also quote multiple posts by using the same method.

You can also edit or truncate the quote after you have copied it into your post. You do not have to quote the entire post.


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How do I receive live alerts for the modifications made to a thread?

You can receive live alerts for thread activities like a thread being marked as proposed answer, a thread being moved, or a post in the thread being replied to by subscribing to alerts. To view steps on how you can subscribe to threads, see How can I sign up for alerts?


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Can I include code in the reply that I post to Forums? 

Yes, you can include code in the reply to a post. To do this, click the Insert Code Block icon in the Rich Text Editor that appears on clicking Reply. Type the code in the Colorize Code dialog box, click the code language in the drop-down and then click Insert.

Select the Show Line Numbers check box if you want to view the line numbers for the code. Click Preview to preview the code, and then click Insert. The formatting of the code will be retained in the reply to the post.


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How can I preview a thread?

In the forum view users have can select Preview Thread when their mouse is hovering over any thread row. This expands the thread allowing the user to browse the content without having to enter another page load. Threads can be collapsed by clicking the close option in the bottom of the expanded thread. Previewed threads are recorded as being read.


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How do I view the reply hierarchy in a thread? 

Users can change their view from Flat to Threaded by visiting the My Settings page and changing their thread view to Threaded View. This preference will show threads in a hierarchy for both preview mode and thread view mode. Users can change the mode back to Flat in the My Settings page.


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How can I mark all threads in a forum as "read"?

Some users like a fresh view of the threads so they only see new content. There are two options for these users. First, when signed in and viewing the forum view, a user can select the Unread filter option. This filter will show only thread that contain content the user has not yet viewed. Users can also apply the Mark All Read filter option. This filter marks all threads as read. From that point forward the Unread filter will only show unread threads since the mark all read filter option was applied. This is particularly useful for migrated forums allowing a user to start off fresh from a given date.


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New My Settings Page

Users see a My Links box in the right column when they are signed in. This box contains many useful user specific links. One of these, My Settings takes the user to a page listing their forum contributions and forum specific settings. Users can change defaults for viewing threads as flat or threaded lists, choose to turn off automatic updates, change the default for signing up for alerts whenever they post, decide whether they want to see Answers at the top of all threads by default or update their signature. 


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Auto Update Alerts

Users viewing a forum list of threads will see yellow highlighted items in the list. This indicates a new or changed thread is in the forum. Users will only see this behavior if they have not expanded any threads. 


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My Forums

All forums have an Add to My Forums link next to the forum title. Users that select this option and the confirmation dialog now have the forum in their list of forums. Users can select My Forums in the My Links in the right column of any forum page when they are signed in. This My Forums page can be bookmarked for convenience and has a link to My Threads, an aggregate forum view including all threads from all the My Forums


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What is the "Use NNTP Bridge" option in My Settings?

The NNTP Bridge Client application allows a user to configure their NNTP Reader to read and post to the forums. Users can install the client bridge at the Online Forums Connection. To use the bridge users must first select "Use NNTP Bridge" in the My Settings page. Note: at this time, there are no plans to localize the support documentation for the tool but the tool should work any locale forum. Users can visit the Online Forums Connection for more information, bug status and to report issues or suggestions.

As an alternative, the Community Forums NNTP Bridge CodePlex project can also be used to access the MSDN Forums with an NNTP News Reader. Instructions to download (~ 1 MB), install and set it up are available at the project's documentation page. Further information is available at these two other blog posts (post#1)(post#2).


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What does "Need an Answer" mean?

Need an Answer number reflects the number of users who have clicked "I do too" on the question for also needing an answer. Users can filter and sort unanswered questions to see which ones are most urgent to answer.


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Searching for Answers

How do I find the right Forum?

While searching for a topic, it is not always easy to select a Forum that best covers your interests. If you are not sure about the Forum that you should choose, you can perform a search on some of the terms that you are using and see where similar threads have been posted. To search for specific topics, type keyword(s) in the Search All Forums box and click Go.


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How do I browse Forums?

The list of Forums is displayed on your Web browser. The list is grouped by product or technology. Clicking a Forum name will open the discussion space and display the conversation threads posted to the Forum.


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How do I search threads?

You can search threads within a forum by entering the search criteria in the Search All Forums box on the Forums Home page.


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How do I use filters?

To view specific threads instead of all threads in a discussion group or in your search results, you can use filters. On the My Thread page, in the Filter By section, click the criteria by which you want to filter a thread.


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What do the new filters allow me to do?

By using the new filters, you can view your thread list filtered by:

  • All Threads: Filter the thread list by answered questions, unanswered questions, general discussions, and proposed answers. You can click All Threads to clear the applied filters.
  • Has Code: Filter the thread list by posts containing code in the reply.
  • Helpful: Filter the thread list by posts that are marked as Helpful.
  • No Replies: Filter the thread list by posts that do not contain replies.


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How do I find answered questions?

To view only answered questions in a forum, navigate to the User Threads page, in the Filter by section, click All Threads drop-down, and then click Answered.


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How do I find questions to be answered?

To view all unanswered questions in a Forum, navigate to the User Threads page, in the Filter by section, click All Threads drop-down, and then click Unanswered.


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How do I search for posts in a different language?

You can search for posts in different languages by using the locale selector to browse to the locale of that language, and then searching for posts.


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What if my language does not appear in the Forums lists?

You can choose the language in which you want to view the Forums by using the locale selector located at the top-right of the page. If the Forum that you want to view does not exist for the language that you selected, you will return to the current language. For example, you are viewing a Forum for SQL in En-us language. You switch to the Fr-fr language by using the locale selector. If the Forum does not exist in that language, you will return to the En-us language.


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Recognition System

Recent Forums Recognition Changes

MSDN, TechNet and Expression forums have recently adopted a new recognition system. This replaces the old forums system in place for over six years and provides for a consistent and consolidated recognition system across MSDN, TechNet and Expression online resources such as Blogs, Wiki and Galleries. 


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How does the new recognition system work?

At a high level the system breaks down user participation around quantity and quality, where points reflect community contribution (quality) and achievements reflect raw effort and participation (quantity). A good overview of the new recognition system can be found at the Profile and Recognition FAQ. Specifics around the forums portion can be reviewed below. 


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How do I get points?

You get recognition points by contributing posts the community finds valuable. Points are not effort based but instead based on quality as perceived by the community.
  • Contributing Answers: Replies the community decides are answers get you points. Marking your own replies as answers does not give you points.
  • Contributing Helpful Posts: Contributing replies the community votes as helpful get you points.
  • Asking Good Questions: Users that ask valuable (helpful and/or popular) questions will be rewarded additional points.
  • Bonus Points: Users can also gain extra points by contributing valuable contributions quickly or when their contributions are deemed valuable by the users asking the questions.

Note: Specific point break downs will be published at a future date. Until then the team will be making slight adjustments to algorithms going forward and ensuring the points and achievements allocation is balanced across the other properties and applications leveraging the new recognition system. 



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How do I get achievements?

Users can gain achievements by participating at various levels in the system. Newer users will gain entry level bronze achievements. Continued participation will be rewarded by level based silver and gold achievements.
  • First Time Activities: reply, marking and contributing an answer, identifying valuable content, and reporting spam
  • Level-based achievements: replies, contributing answers and proposed answers, answering questions with code, identifying valuable content and moving threads to the right place

Note: More achievements will be added to help encourage users in areas that continue to benefit the community.
 


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I used to have more points, what happened?

The new recognition system has a new points algorithm. Some user points will be lowered on the new system, others may see increases in their points totals. In the new system points are allocated for community contributions of value while achievements are gained for various other activities. In the past five years, users have been accumulating points for a few key activities that, in the new system, do not gain points:
  • Basic reply to questions: In the past users would get points for every reply, regardless of content. The new system rewards users for replies as new level based achievements. (Replies Levels I=IV)
  • Self-marking answers: Answers and moderators in the system might reply to a question and mark their reply as an answer. In the old recognition system, users would gain points for this activity. In the new system, users will not be given points. The new point totals in the system reflect this correction and accounts for a fair amount of the points adjustments from the old to new points totals.

Note: More achievements will be added to help encourage users in areas that continue to benefit the community.
 


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I deserve more points or achievements, what do I do?

Understand the recognition can take up to 24 hours to record an activity and recalculate a user’s points and achievements. If you still feel there is a problem, click the "site feedback" at the bottom of this page. Please include as much information as you can. Users can also post general questions about how forums works with the new recognition system to the Profile and Recognition Forum or the Forums Issues Forum.


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Moderation

How do I move a thread?

After signing in to forums, Forum Moderators can move a thread from that forum to another by clicking Move Thread above the thread. Clicking Move Thread takes the user to the Move Thread page where the moderator can select the new category and forum location and then Submit. After clicking Submit the moderator is returned to the forum they started from.


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Why am I unable to move a thread?

Moderators are unable to move a thread when it is locked. When a thread is locked, Move Thread is disabled.


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How do I edit a post in a thread? 

Moderators can edit a post in a thread by clicking the Edit button at the bottom of the post. The moderator can then edit the post and click Submit.


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How do I delete a thread or message? 

Moderators can delete a thread or post by going to the thread view page and clicking the Delete button. This then lets the moderator type the reason for deletion, and then click OK. The thread is no longer available to users. To delete a post in a thread, click the Delete button beneath the post. Moderators can select the Deleted filter to review or undelete threads or posts.

Moderators cannot delete a thread or post from a Forum if the thread contains an answer. The options for deleting the thread are disabled after it is marked as an answer. Forum Moderators can still view the deleted threads and restore them.


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Why I cannot delete thread or post from a Forum?

Moderators cannot delete a thread or post from a Forum if the thread has been marked as an answer. The options for editing and deleting the thread are disabled after it is marked as an answer. Forum Moderators can still view the deleted threads and restore them.


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How do I view deleted threads? 

Moderators can view deleted threads by clicking All Threads drop-down, and then clicking Deleted in the Forum view.


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How do I restore a deleted thread or message?

Moderators can restore a thread or message by clicking the Edit drop-down next to the post, and then clicking Undelete.


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How do I post announcements? 

Moderators can post a new announcement by clicking Create at the top of the Forum. You can then create the post in the editor, and click Submit. The announcement appears at the top of the thread list and is visually different from other posts. You can edit existing announcements by clicking Edit next to the announcement. To delete an announcement, click Delete next to the announcement.


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How do I post a Sticky Thread? 

To post a Sticky Thread, Moderators should post the new thread and then select Make Sticky in the thread view. A Sticky thread appears at the top of the list of threads and is visually different from others. At any point in time, moderators can remove the sticky status of the threads restoring the thread's original position and date time in the Forum after the sticky time set by you ends.


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How do I unlock a Locked thread? 

To unlock a Locked thread, open the locked thread and select Unlock Thread.


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How do I create posts in moderator only Forums? 

You can create posts in moderator only forums only if you have the rights of a Forum moderator or Forum Owner by clicking Ask a Question in the top of the page.


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How do I know I have been added as a moderator or an answerer? 

You know that you have been added as an answerer, when you see options to mark any reply as an answer. As a moderator you will also have options to perform tasks such as making threads sticky, locking, moving, and deleting threads. Note that as a moderator, you will not be able to split or merge threads and forums. When viewing the list of forums in a forum category, those which contain ("You are a moderator of this forum") below the title are forums you have moderator rights to.


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I have heard about escalating threads, how can I do that? Forums recently enabled the ability for MVP affiliated moderators to escalate threads that need Microsoft's immediate attention. This feature must be enabled by the forum owner using some internal tooling. By default this feature is NOT enabled so most forums will not allow for escalations. For further questions about this feature MVP Moderators can contact their Forum Owners using existing communication channels.


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Glossary of Terms


Answerer


An answerer is an individual who has a Profile on Forums and provides answers to question threads. The answerer can perform tasks like marking a reply to a question thread as an answer or unmarking a reply as a non-answer.


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Brand

A Brand represents a site for displaying a specific set of forums, which cater to a specific type of audience, in a number of Locales. Examples of a Brand include MSDN, TechNet, and Microsoft.


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Category

A Category is used for grouping forums with a common theme e.g. all C# related forums. While most of the categories group forums based on product/technology, there may be categories to group forums for a specific country or some other type of topic. A forum can be associated with one or more relevant categories.


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Community

The Community is you, other users, and the interactions among all users. Some of those interactions will happen through this online forum and other Microsoft Community properties. This allows you to get answers to your questions, share ideas, and learn more about products and technologies that interest you.


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Forum

For information on forums, see What is a Forum?


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Forum Owner

A Forum Owner is an individual who is provided ownership of the forum by System Administrator. Forum owners manage moderators or answerers and can perform tasks like adding and removing users from forum's moderator and answerer roles and assigning other Forum Owners. There is at least one owner for each Forum.


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Forum Moderator

A Forum Moderator is an individual selected by the System Administrator to ensure that the discussions on the Forum are of high quality. By default, a moderator can perform any number of tasks within a particular forum or set of forums. This includes approving posts, moving posts, deleting posts, editing posts, or banning users. If you have a problem with a particular forum, the best place to start is with a moderator.


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Locale

Locale is a combination of language and country/region. A locale can contain a mixture of generic forums and forums specific to that locale, and categories are generally associated per locale. Examples of Locales are en-us, fr-fr, de-de.


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Post

A post is an individual message in a discussion thread group.


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Spam

Spam is considered junk mail posts that are sometimes posted to Forums (or replicated from posts created in Newsgroups). Also, "junk mail" or other unwanted, unsolicited messages that you may receive in your regular e-mail account if you use your actual, unmodified e-mail address in a discussion group.


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System Administrator

A System Administrator is an individual whose primary responsibility is to create forum sites and archive them. In addition to the tasks performed by all other roles, a System Administrator can also start, cancel, submit, edit, and delete new system-wide announcements, create moderator-only forums, add users and assign roles to them, and ban users, assign profanity filters. This is the only role that can change the default brand or the name (URL) of a forum.


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Thread

A Thread is at the fifth level in forums taxonomy. It is a collection of posts that reference each other. The posts in a thread are displayed in chronological order, with the original post at the top and each reply indented and beneath the post to which it is replying. Each reply may be replied to as well. The different types of threads are identified by the icon next to the thread title in the thread summary.


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See Also


Other Languages