Welcome to Wiki Life Wednesday!

This is the third article in the Social Synergy series:

  1. TechNet Gallery + TNWiki
  2. CodePlex + TNWiki
  3. TechNet Forums + TNWiki (this article)


First, here are 40+ examples of posting Forum content on TechNet Wiki: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/tags/from+forum/default.aspx

What does Social Synergy mean for using TechNet Wiki with MSDN/TechNet/Expression Forums?


1. Synergy with Recognition Points and Achievement Medals

First, your Recognition Points and Achievement Medals are tied into the same system for TechNet Wiki, TechNet Forums, MSDN Forums, and Expression Forums.

That means that any work you do on TechNet Wiki is reflected in your Recognition and Achievements that people see when the find you in the Forums (and vice versa).


2. Turning your processes into Wiki articles is better for the community

The beautiful thing about Wiki articles is that they don't have to be long. If you write any procedure to help someone in a forum... how is anyone going to find that procedure? How is it ever going to get proven, refined, or added to?

Well it isn't. The only way someone will find that procedure is if it matches well to the title (or has enough of the right keywords in the thread) and someone searches for it by typing text into a search engine. They might find it by browsing, but less people will find it when it becomes answered... less interactive people (it will still get a lot of views, but the people who know the answers and would help refine the answer are less likely to read it once the question is marked as answered - or if it's moved into an off topic forum - or if it's in the wrong forum in the first place).

For example, I had a problem with installing PowerPivot. I searched for quite awhile. I read every KB and troubleshooting article I could find. The winning solution was that I finally found the answer (via search) in an MSDN thread that was on a completely different topic. Somewhere in this long thread, someone presented a new problem (the symptoms I had), and someone found a solution. You would have to scroll down to about half way down the thread to find the solution (or run an IE/browser search on that page in order to jump to the proper keywords).

Sounds complicated, doesn't it?

Here's another example: I had a problem installing a printer driver. After running a search, I ended up on Microsoft Answers in a thread. I had found the symptoms in the title of the thread (the name of the driver)! So I knew I was in the right place (unlike the previous PowerPivot issue). However, I didn't know what issue I had, and the symptoms weren't obvious (all I knew is that it wouldn't install), so I went down the list, trying each solution. I started with the ones that were voted the highest. None of the solutions worked... until I got close to the end to a solution without any votes on it. That was the solution that worked! So I gave that solution the thumbs up and left a post proclaiming its majesties (since one vote wasn't going to tell the story that I had found the answer).

That's still complicated, isn't it?

So TechNet Wiki becomes an avenue for you to quickly and easily turn your solutions into a Web page. All you have to do is copy your forum answer, create a new Wiki page, and then paste it in. Then maybe add an intro (you might already have one from the Forum), add some tags (like if it's about Hyper-V, then add "Hyper-V" as a tag, and then make any other refinements you want. It doesn't have to be perfect or even exhaustive. The community will refine it as the need presents itself.

You'll also notice that this value has nothing to do with MSDN/TechNet. Which means you can do this even if your content is on MIcrosoft Answers, ASP.NET, Silverlight.net, or Stack Overflow. You can do this with any forum where you're writing about Microsoft technology!


There are several values of doing this that benefit the community:

  1. The process/solution can be given a title that is appropriate and is easy for anyone to refine or maintain. That means the community can search for the specific solution easier.
  2. The reader doesn't have to try to read a thread to understand the context.
  3. The reader doesn't have to try to find the solution that's hidden somewhere in a long page they have to scroll down or search on.
  4. The community can refine your process by adding tags, adding alternative solutions to the problem (based on the title and purpose), and even add links to references that help solve it.
  5. The article might start accumulating links to it from other articles, being built into an explorable network of similar articles. So the reader can find it by exploring and by clicking tags, and not just by entering a search or finding it in the forum list. (Note that the tag feature for Forums is being considered.)

But there are also some values that benefit you personally...


3. Increasing your Recognition Points and Acheivement Medals

It also means that you can now double (or increase by a variable factor) your Recognition Points and Achievement marks. For every solution you enter in the Forums, you can turn it into a Wiki article, which will earn you more Recognition Points and Achievement marks (toward Achievement Medals).

One of the values of Recognition and Achievement is authority... if you have a lot of Recognition and Achievement than you might be more respected as someone who knows what they're talking about (at least in your specialty areas).

Another value is that more people get to your Profile, can learn about you, and can click your site link. the more people who visit your profile, the better SEO it gets (higher ranking on searches). Similarly...


4. Increasing your online footprint

You have more pages associated with you that show up in various searches. That means that if a future employer or client searches for you, they will find more proof of the awesomeness you do. Or, you have more places where you can direct them to see that proof. And you would be more likely to send a potential employer a list of URLs to Wiki articles than you would to Forum threads. Right?


5. More community connections

And you're now connecting with a new set of folks in a new community. As a result, you'll build more valuable relationships with Microsoft employees, MVPs, MCCs, and the community as a whole. Those relationships are often the most valuable part of what we do.


And here again are 40+ examples of synergizing TechNet/MSDN Forums with TechNet Wiki: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/tags/from+forum/default.aspx

If you have any thoughts or questions, add them to the Comments!

Jump on in! The Wiki is warm!

   - Ninja Ed (Blog, Twitter, Wiki, Profile)