Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th May 2010 15:58 UTC
Microsoft "Beginning in June 2010, Microsoft will begin closing newsgroups and migrating users to Microsoft forums that include Microsoft Answers, TechNet and MSDN. This move will centralize content, make it easier for contributors to retain their influence, reduce redundancies and make content easier to find. Overall, forums offer a better spam management platform that will improve customer satisfaction by encouraging a healthy discussion space."
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That's too bad.
by Tuishimi on Wed 5th May 2010 16:02 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

I remember when newsgroups were THE place to get your information. I guess they still are in some cases.

Reply Score: 3

Centralizing information
by umccullough on Wed 5th May 2010 18:38 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

It also conveniently centralizes all the information so that the content is completely controlled by Microsoft.

I'm not trying to convey any conspiracy theories here, but one of the major drawbacks to "Forums" is that the data basically resides in one place, with no redundancy, and can conveniently disappear without anyone noticing.

Mailing lists and news groups at least have the advantage that those interested in the information can retain a copy of it themselves, and can also search it offline if desired.

Edit: BTW, broken link in the article - has a trialing " on it

Edited 2010-05-05 18:43 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Centralizing information
by Zifre on Wed 5th May 2010 22:31 UTC in reply to "Centralizing information"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Mailing lists and news groups at least have the advantage that those interested in the information can retain a copy of it themselves, and can also search it offline if desired.

True, but this is possible with forums too. There is nothing stopping you from screen scraping and backing up the forum. And if Microsoft pulls the plug, you could always setup your own forum from the backup.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Centralizing information
by umccullough on Wed 5th May 2010 23:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Centralizing information"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

True, but this is possible with forums too. There is nothing stopping you from screen scraping and backing up the forum. And if Microsoft pulls the plug, you could always setup your own forum from the backup.


Sadly, I think you are trying to be serious.

Doing so would likely require writing a custom tool to go through all threads of the forum, parse out the details (who wrote which response, when it was written, etc.) and store it in some kind of useful, searchable format. Note that Email and newsgroup posts already come in nicely formatted packages like this.

Furthermore, as you continue to use your tool on a daily basis to scrape the content off the forums (we're talking about doing this continually on all content over many years, right - or were you talking about the one-time copy-paste action of a single bit of information?) you have to deal with changes to the forum layout, and attempts by the website running the forum to prevent your activities (after all, they often are using forums to control the content).

There's also copyright issues, and dealing with robots.txt rules.

Fact is: They're designed to limit the information to only that one source, whereas mailing lists and newsgroup postings are meant to distribute the information to all people who are willing to receive it. It's a completely different paradigm for storing and accessing information.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Centralizing information
by Laurence on Thu 6th May 2010 08:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Centralizing information"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

While the earlier post was over simplifying the situation, you're now overstating the problems:

Doing so would likely require writing a custom tool to go through all threads of the forum, parse out the details (who wrote which response, when it was written, etc.) and store it in some kind of useful, searchable format. Note that Email and newsgroup posts already come in nicely formatted packages like this.

Forum scrapers already exist.

Furthermore, as you continue to use your tool on a daily basis to scrape the content off the forums (we're talking about doing this continually on all content over many years, right - or were you talking about the one-time copy-paste action of a single bit of information?) you have to deal with changes to the forum layout, and attempts by the website running the forum to prevent your activities (after all, they often are using forums to control the content).

Forum changes wont happen on a quarterly basis let alone more frequently. So adapting the tool wouldn't be that difficult.

There's also copyright issues,

No more than the same copyright issues with newsgroups

and dealing with robots.txt rules.

robots.txt is irrelevent as it's just a guide for spiders. robots.txt can't stop you from taking whatever information you want should you choose to ignore the text file.

Fact is: They're designed to limit the information to only that one source, whereas mailing lists and newsgroup postings are meant to distribute the information to all people who are willing to receive it. It's a completely different paradigm for storing and accessing information.

If the information can be downloaded and viewed (as it is in the webbroswer) then it can be downloaded and archived.



The fact is though, forums were never designed to limit information (as you suggested) - they were just designed to centralise it in an easy to navigate interface. If Microsoft do decide to use this centralised ecosystem to limit information then it wont be long before unofficial wiki's and forums crop up (just like you see with various Apple hacking comminutes). And let's not forget the multitude of existing third party websites that already offer technical support and programming tips for MS products.

So personally I'm more worried about having to more heavily rely upon navigating MSDN (and it's woeful layout) than MS withholding information.

Edited 2010-05-06 09:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Centralizing information
by ssa2204 on Wed 5th May 2010 22:33 UTC in reply to "Centralizing information"
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22

I think the problem was that most users were simply unaware of these groups, or better still how to access them. On the other hand most were familiar with reaching support through the forums. It was my impression that many were using the online forums that mirrored the usenet groups to post.

This is sad because they were one of the few tech companies that actively ran Usenet support groups. My preference would be for tech companies to support both formats.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Centralizing information
by xaeropower on Wed 5th May 2010 22:56 UTC in reply to "Centralizing information"
xaeropower Member since:
2005-12-16

Problem with forums is that the dick admins delete everything they don't like and it's the same all over the internet.
It would be much better keeping everything unmoderated regardless to spam and violent forum comments.

Reply Score: 2

Hmmm...
by fretinator on Wed 5th May 2010 19:38 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

I thought everyone was still on Fidonet. I guess I better put my offline QWK reader away and jump on this new Prodigy/AOL bandwagon.

Reply Score: 5

Support Newsgroups
by jimsing59 on Thu 6th May 2010 02:56 UTC
jimsing59
Member since:
2009-06-27

It is a good idea for them to go to the forums, they work better.

Reply Score: 2

ho hum.
by BluenoseJake on Thu 6th May 2010 11:10 UTC
BluenoseJake
Member since:
2005-08-11

As long as I can find the information I need, fast, then I don't care if it's a newsgroup, forums, or wiki. I just want the info I need.

Reply Score: 2

MicroSoft bails out...
by StychoKiller on Sat 8th May 2010 01:11 UTC
StychoKiller
Member since:
2005-09-20

"Healthy" and "Discussion Space" are mutually antagonistic and in no way should be "Encouraged."

Reply Score: 1