Microsoft TechNet Wiki is a community effort hosted by Microsoft and open for virtually any form of contribution from customers. It's aimed at providing a platform for cooperative authoring and for developing new technical documentation of all kinds. The TechNet Wiki was designed to fill the gap between three main content platforms existing historically:

  • Official product documentation (TechNet/MSDN Libraries) provides consistent, fully verified and officially supported guidance that largely applies to the most common customer scenarios or to lab environments. Official product documentation also serves as a basis and reference for other sources. Official product documentation is likely to become out of date, but can be updated more or less regularly.
  • Blogs provide “rapid publishing” functionality for Microsoft internal teams or field engineers. Blogs often contain latest break-fix information or deep technical references not found in official documentation. They tend to become out of date often, since any post is mostly accessed shortly after the date of publishing, and can only be updated by its original author.
  • Forums provide a form of customer support, both peer-to-peer and professional-driven, where certain problems can get troubleshooting information or specific questions answered. Due to the question-answer format, forums rarely provide comprehensive and deep technical knowledge, but most often contain valuable information on some uncommon and edge cases, even including officially unsupported scenarios.

TechNet Wiki fits as the missing part into the picture described above. Its contents naturally provide solution-driven topics (in contrast with Forums, which are question-driven) started and edited together by multiple authors (in contrast with Blogs) and maintained by the community (in contrast with official documentation). Therefore it might include but obviously is not limited to:

  • How-to and Step-by-Step guidance, including very specific and edge cases, not covered by official documentation;
  • Best Practices, including those grown up and verified by the Community;
  • References of real-world verified configurations that might be supported but not explicitly described as such in official documentation. This includes solutions containing third-party components commonly found in not wholly Microsoft shops;
  • Troubleshooting instructions and workflows, much like the official Microsoft Support Knowledge Base, but potentially more broad and more up-to-date due to significantly shorter publishing and revision cycle;
  • Various Lists and Summary Tables for serving as a reference, assistance in research or better covering concepts and trends that could stretch several possibly unrelated pages from official documentation sets and/or blogs;
  • Deep Dive articles on specific technologies and features. This is a typical content of Microsoft employee blogs, but could also benefit from being under the maintenance of community members, who could update it with changing information and adjust with recent contributions.
  • FAQs, including those composed from most popular Forum threads.

TechNet Wiki went live early in CY2010 and currently is in the Beta stage. Although the Beta tag does not mean any technical or content limitations—we're always on and always open for any type of technical, architectural or developer content that has any connection to Microsoft technologies, from Hyper-V to Small Business Server, Exchange and Forefront. In about half a year, it grew to more than 1100 unique articles by 300 contributors with enormous edits—and counting, with new content being added every couple of hours. Authors include Microsoft employees as well as partner professionals, recognized independent experts and many end customers—maybe the ones like you or your colleagues.

Existing content is logically organized using industry-standard features like portals and tag cloud, can be easily found by full-text search and tracked by using RSS subscription or email notification. A key area of investment that makes TechNet Wiki stand out from other similar projects is its orientation to social media and the reach communication features that make a contributor's personality, not just disjoint anonymous contributions, the key element of the community. You can look up profiles of other Wiki participants or fill in your own, make friends with them and follow their activities in order to learn contributing styles and methods that suit you best. This is as simple as tracking the content of your particular area of interest in order to not miss new articles on your favorite topics.

Since the TechNet Wiki is relatively young (and thus flexible), it very much depends on how you see yourself in it. The Wiki can never end up including every possible piece of information about everything—but it's up to you to add something you think worth mentioning straight away today or even argue with points expressed by someone else! (Although please read our Code of Conduct before starting with the latter one). Your contribution may be as large as writing a whole new large article end to end, or as small as fixing a typo—and that's all counts to the cumulative community excellence! So why not start by registering today—it's as easy as having a Live ID account.

Below are Press-release ideas submitted by Council members by email. Strikethrough is already included into the Press-release draft text (above).  

Consider leading with the new thing - Microsoft is opening this up to customers and trusting them to do the right thing.

How about these TechNet Nuggets for the press release:


·         It is in Beta. Estimated “out of beta” time? Might help convince people to use it.  Maybe we should just remove the beta title and be a real “internet product” that is in constant beta?

·         Anyone with a Windows Live ID can join and contribute instantly. Topics are moderated by the community. Instantly may be a bit much, considering some of the complaints around our signup process.

·         The Wiki is another community channel in the TechNet network.  Blogs and forums are other channels. Together, the community and Library channels provide a rich content experience.

·         Over 300 contributors and 1100 articles written by Microsoft, MVPs and people like you!  Many different technologies and features are represented, from Hyper-V to Small Business Server, Exchange and Forefront.

·         Easy to search by keywords or tags.

·         Receive alerts when topics you are interested in are revised.

·         Monitor content easily through RSS feeds.

·         Follow the Community Council, learn what is happening around the wiki and get involved. Change to “work with community council to learn what is happening around the wiki, how to get involved, and suggest improvements.”  Makes it sound more open to community input.

·         Collaborate with your peers on articles


It is important to draw a distinction between community and the Library, but I think people understand the implications.


Once we have the points, we can wordsmith into a concise press release. 


Should be informal, free of buzzwords, clarify distinctions between library, forum, blog, and wiki content

Business Need

The wiki is technical content about Microsoft technologies co-authored by Microsoft and the community. It is owned by the community and not by Microsoft. The distinction in ownership is important for two reasons. First, it addresses a weakness: lower customer satisfaction around community support when compared to open source technologies such as Linux. Second, community ownership frees contributors to include information about non-Microsoft technologies as part of their solution, which makes the information more relevant.


Intangibles like community matter. A sense of belonging is important to users. Blogs and forums are critical, but the wiki creates an opportunity to co-author and consolidate technical information to improve community support. One way it does this is through social features such as friending, which are commonly used in open source communities to encourage collaboration.


Trust in community content is increasing. A majority of the 150 users who completed a survey at TechEd 2010 indicated that peer validation is more important than authority in evaluating a solution.