Introduction

This article is the outcome of a long time spent on the forums - having seen both the best and the worst. This article only aims at making forum a better place and to bring to forum owner's notice that few things can be improved to make forum more interactive. It has no intention of challenging policy already governing the forums. People can have different thoughts, if you do have one, please, leave a comment. Your feedback and thoughts are really appreciated.

What is MSDN forum?

MSDN Forum is Online platform created by Microsoft which allows Microsoft technology users to share their views, problems and solutions. It also acts as a reference point for Microsoft team to gauge about what is happening with particular product and also helps Microsoft to take feedback about the product. Although officially one can give feedback about product using connect.microsoft.com.

 One can use forum for

  • Asking questions,
  • Sharing solution and
  • Building community.

Forums play major role in building community, people from all around the world join forum and provide answers to question voluntarily.

With such a wide diversity it becomes a bit difficult to manage forums. We need to make sure forum is spam free and only correct answers are marked and idea of community is cherished.

Suggestions for improvements on MSDN Forum

Effort of Original Poster (OP)

There are lots of questions which really lack an effort from OP and the person just posted it because forum is quite interactive and people would provide an answer.  If we continue prospering this idea, such an attitude would make forum loose quality. We are definitely not encouraging original poster (OP) for "self help".

What is...

Questions like "What is ... SQL Server, DBCC CHECKDB, how can we repair database, update database, log file, transaction log, how to read transaction log" etc...

Answers to any such "what is" related question, can be easily found by using books online or reading Blogs.msdn.com.

With questions like this moderators can put such question on hold and can leave a comment please start reading books online and be specific with your requirement. Plus such questions do not add any value to forum.

I am facing...

Performance issue, database is not performing well, blocking,locks, tempdb is full,log file is full etc..

Such questions can have many reason as to why database is not performing well and why log file is full and its highly unlikely that user might get exact solution which would subside his problem because question just says  the problem is there and provides no further information.  Reason for such question might be user is new with SQL Server and does not have enough knowledge so is not able to tell more about problem in that case any answer is not going to help much. One needs minimum level of competency to deal with SQL server performance issues. On other hand if user adds wait stats, errorlog and other necessary information the question becomes very good and the chances of providing correct and helpful answer becomes more. The motive here is to ask OP to post as much information as possible so that answerer/user does not have to guess from his side. With such questions, again it should be put on hold asking user to search the net and update question with his findings. Let him help himself and eventually learn how to proceed in such situations.

Why

"SQL Server using Lot of memory, I am not able to connect to database, query is performing slow etc..."

Its almost known fact that Microsoft SQL Server is build to use as much memory as possible and one line question why it is using more memory should be marked as irrelevant question because original poster(OP) on first place showed no effort to search about what he is seeing, he could have easily found answer online. Again if user is unable to connect he should refer to various articles on net I am sure solution is available. If OP says his query is performing slow  an does not gives information about query , does not posts DDL and DML such question should be put on hold and comment should be left please post query.DDL,DML so that correct answer can be provided.  Point is any question which lacks effort from OP should not be entertained. On other hand if OP says yes I did following things still I am not able to connect this shows effort spent, posts relevant information related to question such, question should be entertained.

Interview Questions

My interviewer asked me if Log file is corrupt what to do ?

Forum is place for discussion of problems related to SQL Server and other Microsoft products we should avoid making it into Interview answering place. Forum will definitely loose its value

As already said with such two line questions the first thing which needs to be done by Moderators is to put the Question on hold. They can do it by editing the question heading and add on hold. Then they would add comment that please provide more details otherwise question cannot be answered to absolute correctness. User should refrain from answering such question unless complete information is provided. If OP gives complete information he is genuinely facing problem and has spent time in analyzing it.  Questions like above add no value to forum if you want to learn read Microsoft Books Online or purchase books written by Microsoft Press or a renowned author.

Forums can be used for learning purpose but with such questions you are not allowing OP to help himself.  Sometimes we have OP who have been given assignment or some work and post same question here to get easy answer this should be avoided. We are limiting his ability to try and see for himself.

"Quality of leader should be to create leaders not followers".

Licensing

Please get a Licensing expert from Microsoft on this forum who can answer Licensing question.

The contact number posted by Microsoft Contingent Staff (MSFT CSG) guys to contact MS officially is really not helpful many times and OP comes and says he did not got satisfactory answer or no body responded

Why One-liners showing Less Effort Should Not be Entertained

For people who say why should one avoid answering question or why should questions of above type should be entertained  because MSDN forum is palace/ medium of learning. A very basic point is missed here MSDN forum is community contribution, people with this thought are only looking at one aspect of help what about users who provide help. Why should they waste there precious time (which they give voluntarily) on question which has no research behind it, no effort behind it and does not adds any value to forum. If everybody starts asking one line question how would MSDN forums grow in terms of knowledge. It would soon become outdated and slowly would loose quality. There has been movement of few knowledgeable people from MSDN forum because of this practice. As a community you have to think in broader sense.

A way around to this issue is questions like above should be put on hold and a comment should be added with link to thread having same issue. And ask OP to read it and follow the steps mentioned and if he still faces the issue ,of course further help can be provided. By this we are asking OP to help himself.

Things which needs attention on MSDN Forum

  1. Not every question that is asked needs to marked as answer.  I am not aware about how threads come into search engine I believe a thread with marked answer has higher probability of getting picked by search engine but its better to leave thread unanswered than marking incorrect or incomplete post as answer. Currently the trend is to close as much threads as possible by marking answer. Humbly please take step to avoid this. This is getting lot of incorrect answers being marked and people complain the solution was not helpful.
  2. The option 'Propose as answer' should never appear for person who is looking at his own post. There is article created by Ed Price about it.  Actually the article is widely misunderstood by any newcomer on forum and he/she uses certain points mentioned in the article as a alibi when proposing his own answer. Humbly, NO you should never be allowed to propose your own answer because you never can justify that you are correct you always have to take others point of view this is actually where meaning of community comes in picture we have to see how others see our point of view. There are few points in article which I would like to explain (with all due respect to Ed Price whom we love and respect very much) As per article following points are misused.

You can self propose when

You want the original poster to know that you're trying to answer the question.

Well, every body tries to answer the question. If everybody starts doing that I am sure OP as well as others would get annoyed why everybody is proposing his own answer I am sure this is not exactly what the point tries to communicate but users take this point as a reference and propose their own answer. This has happened many a times on forum where a good discussion is going on and suddenly someone gives some vague answer and proposes it. If the OP is new he would understand wow this is the answer and might take incorrect decision, plus this hinders others from posting. Users think ''I was in good conversation with OP and suddenly this immature guy comes posts something and proposes as answer". Again a thread with proposed answer looses a bit of visibility. Just think about  forum threads where every user gives answer and starts proposing it and he can say well its documented that you want to tell OP that i am trying to answer your question.

Nobody else is proposing your answer

This is because maybe nobody found your answer correct. Or may be its really a good answer and so deep that people (general users) are not able to make judgement whether it is correct or not. Or may be you really posted a bad solution which nobody thinks is correct.

You don't want to leave it unanswered

This is biggest thing which needs to be made clear. Not every thread needs to be marked as answered. Again marking answer should TOTALLY be left to Original Poster(OP). Yes there are many case where OP takes answer and does not feels even a bit of shame when he is not marking the answer even if he has got it. In that case we need to encourage people to Vote the answer provided so that when other users looks at that thread he can see lot of up votes and can consider it as answer.

After such post gets minimum of some up votes Moderator/MVP's/MS employee who is expert on that  MAY mark that thread as answer.

Please also read Ed thoughts about why you should not self propose, its aptly written.

Fair play

Moderators should not be allowed to mark their own answer.

Moderators cannot always be  correct and mistakes had happened few times. There are few occasions where people spend time on forum and  Microsoft Contingent staff comes and gives answer and after few days marks only what he has written as answer in that case it gives great setback to the person who was giving help. I am NOT saying that MSFT CSG guys always  marks incorrect answer I am just trying to say marking answer should be left to OP or as mentioned in sub point c of point 2

When you are proposing others answer don't just propose answer because

  1. Microsoft Employee gave it and since he is MS employee its definitely correct in all sense. Remember forum can have many Microsoft employees, one who is beginner in Microsoft and one who is expert. His answer given can be correct but it might be that some other experienced professional/MVP can give more accurate answer.
  2. A forum moderator gave it and you think since he is forum moderator he would be always correct. No, its not the case. Only propose answer to question(of course not to yours post)  which you know and you are aware that the answer given by other person would definitely solve the issue or at least help him in better understanding.
  3. The friend of yours has given the answer and you both are good friend.
  4. You had some conflict with one of the user who is trying to give answer on this thread so you go ahead and propose answer of other users just to belittle his efforts.

Off topic

Question which is off topic should be put on hold and subsequently be removed or if possible. Like questions dealing with other RDBMS.

Not every answer marked by Original Poster is correct. 

Sometimes OP can mark wrong answer moderators can feel free to pitch in and un mark it giving a valid justification.

We need more Microsoft Technology expert on each forum .

Microsoft wants forum to be community driven and yes community do provide answers but in case of expert answer MS employees expert in that area should pitch in. There are few questions which can best be answered by MS folks there should be one for each forum. He/She should have right to un mark an answers , even if it is marked by OP(if it is incorrect).

What You should do on MSDN Forum

  1. Respect others views on forum even if he is incorrect one should always be polite to say that you are incorrect I have seen people(including me) often going out of way to prove a point but this should be avoided.  Remember its not the knowledge that makes you great its how humble you are when providing knowledge.
  2. Avoid marking any incorrect answer or proposing answer which you have no/little idea.
  3. Encourage people to vote answers if they find it correct. Voting is mechanism which says yes i agree with it. Voting is something we really lack on forum. Emphasis has to be given on voting, not only the answers but questions as well.
  4. Continuing the point, not only the answers start voting questions. Yes make OP feel that his question is good and thanks for doing research and posting good question. Good question asked gives benefit to both original poster and the answerer. As a fact it helps the person who is trying to answer to cudgel his brains , go deep into technology and find the solution.
  5. Always ask OP to give as much information as possible. You can say if you  ask clear questions which shows effort we would vote for it and you would get point on forum and can build reputation.

Where to inform if you face issue with MSDN Forum

If you are facing issue with forum or have feedback related to forum please post a discussion/question on MSDN Report Bug forum.

See Also