Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
Each of you has likely used one of the world’s most popular Wiki’s known as http://wikipedia.org. The English section of that site has 3.2 million articles and there are many more supported languages. An excerpt from the mission of the site is “to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content.” We have a similar TechNet mission.
As you’ll recall from TechNet 2.0 – Episode 1 – Core Scenarios and Branding, three big things we focus on for all TechNet scenarios are Content, Discoverability, and Participation. We really want to invite participation from everyone and what better way to combine that with discovery and content than to use Wiki technology?
Later this year TechNet and the Server & Cloud Division will partner to launch the new TechNet Wiki.
There are a number of interesting features that are part of the Wiki implementation. You’ll notice a very visible tag cloud. If the pic is hard to read, click it or any of the remaining screenshots for a larger version. Tag clouds are great for navigating large number of articles as well as seeing at a glance where activity is taking place. The Wiki has different views depending on whether you are logged in or not. You’ll notice I am not logged in above and we can see quickly the activity taking place, contact information, and how to use the Wiki.
Once I login, I can see additional information. In fact, I decided to click the Windows Server tag cloud and I get a listing of tagged articles as seen in the following screenshot.
I immediately spot an article I am interested in. You can see the one I am referring to above with the Event ID 3112. It’s the third article down. I click the article link and I am presented with the following information. As you can see, Tony Soper is writing about how to go through the process of troubleshooting a Hyper-V virtual machine issue. If you don’t know Tony, he’s one of our virtualization subject matter experts.
This particular article and condition was interesting to me because after modifying the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) for my machine, I inadvertently dropped the parameter to start the hypervisor on the Windows Server 2008 R2 boot entry in the BCD store. Tony’s article details this and how to fix the issue or points you to an article for additional help. Been there done that.
Another interesting aspect of the Wiki is the ability to see the changes that have occurred leading to the current version. You have the ability to run a compare if you like to see the revisions. In the screenshot below, I am getting ready to run the compare against the current version and version # 16.
After I click the Compare Versions button, I can see the revisions that have occurred as depicted in the screenshot below.
As you can see, Tony is correcting his own article but one of you could be adding or changing information as well. In this particular article’s case, you might add some information about using “Boot from VHD” technology and how to be careful not to step on a BCD entry and lose the hypervisor autorun parameter. Wiki’s are great for collecting knowledge like that and we are anxious to get this in your hands soon.
We believe a public wiki for technical content on TechNet has the potential to be a big step forward in all three areas:
I used the word "potential" above because Microsoft cannot succeed with the TechNet Wiki on its own - success ultimately depends on the direct engagement, support, and ongoing feedback from the IT community.
It’s a "big bet" for all of us, but one we believe in and are ready to take.
So, let's start with your feedback - what do you think of a TechNet Wiki? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks !
[NOTE] The screenshots are of our internal beta staging server so there may be some subtle differences by the time we provide access. Enjoy!
Well, I suggest u make TV ads to reach around the word... wikipedia has get a lot of news, and show in many TV news programs.
TV is the main objective for ur Ads, or a good you tube presentation... a really good one.
Sounds right to me - as the info volumes row so this could be a very very valuable resource. Provided enough of us use it to make certain that whats in there is the true version of the truth!
This introduction could prove an interesting one, and as many comments above read generally a positive move for Microsoft documentation. I only hope that two key issues are being addressed:
1. Microsoft review all documents regularly to make their contribution. I do not mean to moderate before documents are made public, but to add the knowlege of the relevant developers and support teams to particular problems.
2. This should not give an excuse to reduce the number and quality of other TechNet documentation.
My experiences of finding and using TechNet documentation is that for me as a installer/configurator/supporter of microsoft products if I can find the relevant document they are very good. Unfortunately as a previous comment said our software developers find that documentation is poor. In many cases what they need simply does not appear to exist and in those cases where it does inevitably is either incomplete or out of date.
Please keep trying hard.
wll b gr8 source of info of innovation of technology!!! :)
i m impressed.. :p
Keith currently 5MB over the air is not big. We here in Oz get 4mbps on our iphones and TELSTRA announced 42mbps will be available in the next month or so. It will be a game changer but whats crucial is the content.
I think this is an awesome idea. I also think success or failure will, in part, on how much participation there is from within Microsoft. In many ways, no one knows Microsoft products as well as Microsoft. We can add real world experience, but without the benefit of Microsoft participation, this may become little better than blogs which can be hit and miss as far as accuracy goes.
Thanks for sharing this information with us Keith!
Sometimes it can be frustrating to look something ones is investigating on.
However TECHNET has never dissapointed me in any way, what so ever. TECHNET wiki will surely enhance the way people would like to cooperate and share information on a web 2.0 kind of way, namely more democratic and controlable.
Keep on the good work, so we can start contributing!
I think this is a great ideia (even if a little late) and I'm sure this is the right path.
For those who want to understand why, I recommend the book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams.
My best wishes,
Great Start !
However IT solutions in present times overlap multiple technologies that finding relevant answer at times can be challenging.
Specificity around scenarious would be interesting.
Curious follower here !
I'm looking forward to solutions for embedded development. Especially the older tools, which are still relevant to some.
I think Microsoft will benefit from this wiki if only to learn a little about what is missing from their documentation. I think it will also help them to address the technical writer issues overwriting a simple concept. If Microsoft learns these lessons well, maybe their documentation will improve to the point where a man on the street can interpret and act on it.
At that point, Microsoft technicians will need to find other means of support, war and famine will cease to exist, and Gene Roddenberry's dream of utopia will have come to pass.
A Wiki format will be great. Even when Microsoft is trying to give us accurate documentation, a lot of it is sometimes not so accurate or is irrelevant to our scenario, as there are thousands different scenarios all over the world. It could enhance all type of documentation with graphics, technical notes, and lot of other useful stuff. I'm waiting for this already!
I wanted to say thanks to everyone that has commented. It's always killer to hear the voice of the people and I can see you all are very interested in this aspect of our feature rollout.
The TechNet Wiki is going to be very interesting and I hope you find that it is a useful source of high quality information.
to: Chris Haaker, Keith Combs
If you have an issue with "non-Microsoft people" adding articles, or "messing up" Microsoft-written documentation, perhaps Keith would consider having "official articles" have a "comments/lessons learned" sections, much like the official PHP documentation exists, but also has a "comments" section at the bottom, where users point out caveats, share examples, etc. I have found that paradigm to be invaluable, because the "blessed" documentation can also be supplemented with "in the field" examples without polluting the original content.
I actually don't worry much about things getting messed up. We have a lot of subject matter experts interested in the Wiki. Inside and outside the company.
The word "official" does add an interesting twist and I'm sure it will be a topic of discussion for months and months.