How can we improve the ASP.NET Forums?

Use Stack Overflow and GitHub

The current forum serves two purposes:

1. Technical Support
2. Product Feedback and Discussion

Forum software are optimized for discussions and not for technical support or product feedback. What is optimized for these are:

1. Q & A software
2. Issue Tracking software

Because of that and network effect:

1. Stack Overflow is the defacto place for quality Q & A.
2. GitHub/Bitbucket etc. are where developers expect to give feedback, right next to where the code is.

My recommendation is to:

1. Put the ASP.NET forum into read only mode.
2. Move all current support staff to answer Stack Overflow questions to ensure quality and accuracy.
3. Encourage and direct product feedback and discussion to the respective ASP.NET GitHub repository.

I used to be more active on the ASP.NET forums, but since the launch of Stack Overflow and the shift to "develop in the open", as a developer, I derive very little value from ASP.NET forums.

When searching for something, I ignore results that take me to ASP.NET forums unless the usual places don't have an answer.

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Omar Khudeira shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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  • Jon Galloway commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    StackOverflow isn't a good replacement for most of the questions I see on the Forums.

    Over the years, I've directed a lot of questions (from Twitter, e-mail, etc.) to StackOverflow. I've stopped doing that since all too often I see intelligent questions, clearly asked, are closed by SO moderators. In some cases, the moderators are just being hostile and pedantic rather than just fixing the question (or helping the user to do it). In many cases, though, a user is asking for guidance and recommendation from experienced developers. Unfortunately, SO has over the years narrowed the scope of acceptable questions down to (in my opinion) the least useful type: questions that only have one clear, undisputable, documented answer. That's not very useful, since by definition those answers are almost always already clearly documented.

    While SO used to leverage the broad experience of advanced users to answer "How should I..." or "What is the best way to..." questions, they explicitly disallow that kind of question now.

  • Ed Chavez commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    +1 Absolutely.

    A lot of the "hostile" comments regarding SO is based on the *documented* rules of how to ask questions in their environment. It's not "hostile", just not a place where you would ask someone to code for you. A ton of "closed" or down voted questions are based on duplicates in SO, sort of indicating not even trying to first do a search on SO nor Google/Bing!

    At a bare minimum, the SO community expects effort (aka "what have you tried so far")? It is not a "tutorial site" - the ASP.Net site (www.asp.net) is an excellent source for tutorials. SO would be a place if you get stuck working on any of said tutorials (not a place to ask where to find a tutorial). Realize that they don't represent any "company", aren't being paid for their time - everyone is a volunteer and tries to keep quality and accuracy.

    In some cases, it's just a matter of the "wrong" Stack Exchange site (SO is just one) - see here:
    http://stackexchange.com/sites

    For example

    - if you want a "software recommendation", don't use SO, use http://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/

    - a "conceptual" (aka "opinionated") programming question? use http://programmers.stackexchange.com/

    It is what makes SO the "de facto" source for trusted answers - obviously doesn't mean "always" nor 100% of the time but the community will vote/down vote and it is well maintained by moderators. In the end, if someone doesn't agree nor think so, then disprove an answer and post your solution on SO. Kind of the point. If you do prove your point, you will get all the up votes you can possibly get from the community and be a rock star :)

    Its a great way to actually learn - don't take down votes nor closed questions personally. It should push you to exert more effort. We all are better for it.

    Caveats:

    - If MS/Asp.net team will point to/use SO for such, it should hopefully also mean that the team does take time to "own" it. I know some do - they are extremely helpful and will resolve an issue (recent example was VS TACO issues and fixes based on posts in SO). I don't think you can find a better answer than coming from the team itself :)

    Overall, I think it's a great idea. IMHO, it should also elevate the ASP/.Net platform - more so if there are MS/ASP.Net teams present on SO.

  • rogersb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    IF asp.net just has to have interaction with the cabal of hackers, aka stack overflow? Then setup some scheme so that the question is just "there" from asp.net and not where each of us opens some useless stack overflow account just to have it downvoted because we had to ask a question

    If you wanted to pipe across a question and have the SO site provide useful answers? its one thing; but all, ALL of their snarky hackish attitude stays at SO. I think its wrong to have any interaction with what seems to be a criminal element there, lawless types.

    There is assuredly talent that may arrive AT s.o. then leaves after finding out who they are, sure that kind of talent may be welcome to participate at asp.net

    As someone who hires, anyone I come across having a high score at s.o. ? will not be chosen because they would be deemed not trustworthy.

  • rogersb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Not a chance, Stack Overflow is a cabal of fools, misfits, hackers, lowlifes, unprofessional jackasses and a small % are actually real developers with professional behavior.

    Clearly this is some attempt to bolster Stack Overflow and obliterate its rival, the asp.net forum. Apparently for the cash of getting traffic? So the suggestion itself is something offensive.

    What should happen? Block Stack Overflow. Let Microsoft and all of its affiliates stop with allowing any links to stack overflow, keep them apart in their hacker world. Actively detect the stack overflow URL and throw an error: the hack website stack overflow link is not permitted.

    Keep asp.net just like it is. A place where developers can interact.

  • trailmax commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Problem with "hostility" on SO, i.e. questions been closed - so many of the closed questions are unanswerable in any form. And will be unanswerable on the forum as well.
    I looked through the forums and a lot of topics carry no useful information, mostly prying debugging information from OP. And when it comes to useful answers, it is impossible to find any - a needle in the haystack.

  • ardmore commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    StackOverflow is pretty hard and hostile for newbies. I want to keep use Asp.net forums.

  • Gerry Lowry Wasaga Beach, Ontario CANADA commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    SO has its uses BUT as mentioned by Alexander Prokhorov, the SO environment can be so hostile, especially imho to newbies, that so time ago i posted a meta-SO question regarding inmates running the asylum.

    SO's greatest benefit is also even more so its greatest flaw, i.e., allowing any 5 members to close a question. Many questions are closed just because a clique do not like the question or have misread and failed to understand a question.

    SO's does NOT have the same focus found in forums.asp.net.

    ??? it is UNCLEAR WHO wrote, above: " >>>My<<< recommendation is to:
    1. Put the ASP.NET forum into read only mode.
    2. Move all current support staff to answer Stack Overflow questions to ensure quality and accuracy."
    3. Encourage and direct product feedback and discussion to the respective ASP.NET GitHub repository."

    The forums.asp.net moderators are, most of the time, both CONSISTENTLY EXCELLENT and CONSISTENTLY FAIR.

    GitHub is wonderful in some ways but NOT write for the questions asked at forums.asp.net.

    GitHub excels at bringing together small groups passionate about an API where someone is using the API and is directly contributing code or needs specific help regarding that API.

    forums.asp.net OTOH allows ALL levels of programmers to ask questions and receive quality answers ... whereas a novice might get abused at other forums, forums.asp.net moderators are skilled in fending off trolls.

    THERE is NO GOOD REASON to throw forums.asp.net into the trash.

    Putting forums.asp.net into read only bill is it's death sentence since over time forums.asp.net would become more and more outdated.

  • AdminJeff Fritz (Admin, Microsoft ASP.NET Future Feature Feedback) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    For the time being, we are going to continue to monitor the three sources of input for the team:

    1. StackOverflow is for "solve this problem using the framework / tools"
    2. Forums are for open discussions
    3. GitHub issues for bug reports / improvements to the framework / tools

    UserVoice will be available for feature suggestions and discussion of those items

  • Alexander Prokhorov commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Both Stack Overflow and ASP.NET Forums are useful. SO doesn't allow opinion-based discussions and forums are great for that.

  • wavemaster commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I think it would be a bad idea to use Stackoverflow. The environment there is quite hostile to unexperienced coders.

  • Rion Williams commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    While I can see a reason for proposing something like this, it's worth mentioning that the use of a Forum as opposed to a Q&A site like Stack Overflow is that it allows for discussions about issues or problems (instead of this being done within a series of comments on answers), which I think can be very meaningful for figuring out exactly what the root of a user's problem is.

    Stack Overflow was actually the first site that came to mind when I originally wanted to start helping answer questions within the community, but it's certainly not the most friendly of environments. Some members are quite overzealous with regards to moderation (as it only requires a certain amount of rep on the site) and the competitive nature of it can be a bit off-putting (e.g. everyone trying to get their answer posted first and marked as correct) as opposed to actually trying to resolve the issue. Additionally, Stack Overflow generally frowns upon "discussion" or "open-ended" questions, which quite a bit of the questions here would fall under.

    As far as Issue Tracking, the ASP.NET GitHub already does an excellent job of that. If a user was to post a question pertaining to an actual bug or feature request, they would be referred to the appropriate repository to post the issue (as opposed to here).

    While I suppose there are some things that could be done with regards to integrating with GitHub or making this site adopt some of the features that make Stack Overflow successful, I don't believe that it's a reason to "shut down" this site and migrate everything to SO.

  • Mike Brind commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    A lot of the questions that are posted to the ASP.NET forums wouldn't be accepted at Stackoverflow - especially those that ask for recommendations or opinions.

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