Release Notes: TechNet and MSDN Forums and Profiles

Release Notes: TechNet and MSDN Forums and Profiles

This article is part of the Wiki series: MSDN/TechNet Forums. 

Forums Update 2/13

People may have noticed some hiccups today as we deploy an update. This update does a few things:

  • Addresses the Alert Me bug, when replying to threads the alert setting is not subscribing people automatically to the thread they reply to.
  • Thread states are out of sync, where an question with legitimate answers is not showing as an answered threads (impacts also proposed answers)
  • The forums rich text editor looked bad on Windows Developer Preview IE10
  • MSDN/TechNet English only forum home page update. General design update to clean up the home page. Filter column moved to a find/search forum experience
  • Visual design updates on the TechNet forums to generally have a cleaner design with fonts consistent with other Windows 8 themes and reserved icons that are less distracting
  • Other minor bug fixes.
While the update is being applied (3-6pm PST) users may experience strange behaviors and slow response times.

Forums 4 - Release 35 - February 6

Release Details

This forums release had two main goals

  • Update to the rich text editor
  • Updates to address performance issues in the application, especially for thread page load times for thread that had more than 40 replies

We also expect the performance issues to improve overall stability and availability of the application. In addition to the above there have also been numerous bug fixes.

Known Issues

Editor: Edit code in Google Chrome drops line breaks. When users edit code after it has been submitted, the edit code dialog drops the line breaks. To get around this copy the code and re insert it (instead of editing the code in place).

Profile Site Update - January 19th

  • Translation Wiki: Activities, achievements, points etc. are now being recognized for work done in community translation of library articles. Some information about the Translation Wiki is available here ( with more information coming in the next month or so. The statistics widget will show counts of translations submitted, approved and count of moderator actions completed. Achievements are earned based around these 3 stat counts; more specific details to come.
  • Library: We've been tracking Library annotations (community comments) for a long time now. Tonight the statistics for annotation count has been added to the profile. There are no points and achievements currently defined for this application at this time.

Profile Site Update - December 1st

  • Point History Graph - the second part of our statistics work is going live today. At the top of a profile page you'll see a time graph representing accumulated points over the time a persons profile has existed. Looking at a profile you'll see when they were active, how many points earned in that month and points at that particular month. We plan to add more interaction to the graph over time (such as zooming, achievements earned when, etc.). Please note there are a couple of bugs we will address in our next release including duplicate months being shown at the start or end of the graph.
  • Pie Charts - For Activities by Application and Points by Application, you'll see the tabular data replaced with pie charts. When you hover over a piece of the pie you'll see the actual value along with the percentage of that piece. See someone new in the forums, you'll be able to quickly tell if they've spent time elsewhere in our network with ease. Note there is also one design bug here where the colors between the two pie charts aren't always mapped to the same application. We'll fix that in the next release as well.
  • Missing Achievements - There was another report or two of some achievements not being awarded. We've found that issue and those achievements will appear again over the next week. We'll actually be recalculating all achievement progress to ensure we catch anything else that might be hiding away.
  • Hover User Cards - There was some feedback that the hover cards we display when you hover over a users name, appeared to easily. We've tweaked that some to make that a better experience.
  • Avatar Restrictions - If your avatar when converted and resized exceeded 8KB, the system just stopped processing the rest of the image. Apparently that's not really a good idea. ;-) So we've fixed that so that we process the whole image.

Btw, we have heard the request to flip the activity and stats tabs. We haven't done that yet and are still collecting data around usage of both tabs. We are also working through a design update (that activity feed really does need it) so we'll be addressing what order we have the tabs in conjunction with this other work.

Forums 4 - Release 34 - October 27

  • New surveys on non en-us forums: Enable the team to track success and effort from our users.
  • Tagging: Analysis on how tagging could be integrated into the forums system. Expect details on this later.
  • Database Updates: Continued work to reduce replication dependencies and database complexity.
  • Performance Fixes: Adopt a library that merges resource files to reduce requests and improve performance.
  • Notification Service Fixes: Ability to reprocess recognition activities that have exceeded the failure retry limits
  • Bug Fixes: Analysis and resolution of the higher volume internal exceptions logged by the application. Fixes in end user scenarios 
  • Editor Analysis: Evaluation and internal prototype work leveraging editors that have fewer issues for end users. 
  • Profile Answers: The number of forum answers are now available in the Experience tab of the profiles.


Forums 4 - Release 33 - September 29th

  • Leaderboards Changes: The forums leaderboards had a few problems this release addresses. The leaderboards is a list of users in the right rail of top contributors. There are two scopes to these user lists a. the brand locale or "top users for msdn en-us" b. the forum "top users in a particular forum". There are various "cuts" of user data we make available in these two scenarios, offering top user lists by affiliation. We also show top moderators on the forums pages. The problem is the various cuts of user data have historically been brought down to the client on the page view. So the home page, for example, would be burdened with bringing down 5 lists of users (10 each), each 'user' in the leaderboard is a request for avatar images. This caused some performance issues on home and forum pages. This release helps with this by ONLY bringing down the first chunk of user data. There is also a change in how we scroll through the different lists of users. We now have a "Next" link users can click so they can go see other lists of user data. They no longer have to wait for the client javascript to scroll through based on an arbitrary timer defined. This change should make the user lists more accessible and reduce the requests for our pages by about 40. We expect to see a very positive perf improvement with this change and a couple of other performance fixes in the pages.
  • Thread Page Rewrite: We spent this month reworking some of our middle tier code, focusing on the thread page which gets over 70% of the daily view traffic. The page should  be more reliable, resolving a long standing bug where extended hex characters could render a thread useless (http 500). The changes should improve overall load time of thread pages and reduce thousands of monthly errors on the most used page. The changes will also make it easier for us to fix/maintain going forward. The page rewrite also addresses a few issues recently reported, such as reducing how many 'edit' notes we show for users that edit their posts.
  • Database Changes: This month we are doing some major work on the database, simplifying some of the DBs/tables and removing some of the replication dependencies. At a high level this means there should be no more outrages or delays in "My Threads" or "My Alerts" views, the  aggregation job that was supposed to keep this data fresh is going away, being replaces by a more real time data query. 
  • F# Code Formatting: We have added support for F# code formatting this particular language. User can see this when they insert code using the code formatting option in the editor.
  • New Profile Stats Page: There will be a new interface in the user profile which shows some high-level activity counts for the various applications (fourms, blogs, wiki, gallery, etc). For now, we only surface replies, helpful votes and new threads. Answers will not be surfaced until the October 27th release.  
  • Looking Ahead: We are continuing to work on performance improvements. We are also looking at some scenarios that may introduce tagging in the coming months in some contexts. Our plans are to get some of this tagging work in place in a CTP (test/review) environment and get feedback on how we can change and improve it prior to releasing it. We do not have dates for this yet but we are starting the work. Expect more next month.

Forums 4 - Release 32 - September 1st

  • Back-End Management: A lot of work was done recently on some of the internal tooling to enable more back-end management. This sounds minor but was a substantial effort and will be a big time saver for many of the forum owners when managing roles in the system
  • Right-Rail Customization: We enabled some customization so forum owners can customize a portion of the right rail of the application. This will be used to provide custom messaging to various audiences.
  • Notifications: We did a lot of work on the notification service to minimize the outtages that have plagued the system for months. This would should make the email alerts and points/activities reporting more stable and predictable.
  • Font Update: Minor change to increase the font when authoring a post. We still have some work to do here but this is a step towards improving little things as we go.
  • Home Page Locales: We fixed a problem to ensure the new home page design for MSDN and TechNet is enabled on all en based locales; prior to this it would only show up for users with en-us.
  • Performance: Various bug fixes including some minor performance fixes.
  • Dialog Removal: We removed the 'script' dialogs for the reason text, moving to an inline modal div. We also put 'reason' text back in for Mark as Abuse, something we removed but were asked by users to put back in.
  • Published Profile Recognition Info: Details are now published around the points and achievements for forums recognition changes that went live back in July. The FAQ is here:

Forums 4 - Release 31 - August 4th

  • Insert Image: Enable users to insert image (more information: see blog post)
  • Tooling Work: Retire outdated internal tooling to enable more velocity on bug fixes and feature work

Notable Bug Fixes
  • Record profile activities and points for private forums (partner, mvp and moderator forums)
  • Record activity for contributing a proposed answer
  • Multiple fixes in the notification service (activities, points and email alerts)
  • Enabled better monitoring to quickly detect and address notification service outages
  • Bug fix for "Thread Preview" when viewing thread posts out of brand context
  • Minor ux bug fixes

Forums 4 - Release 30 - July 14th

  • Forum Search: A convenient new “find a forum” feature enabling users to type in the forum or category they are looking for 
  • Recent Forums: A list of ‘recent forums’ helping users get to places they have been 
  • Most Popular Forums: A list of ‘most popular forums’ helpings users quickly find the forums that has the most recent activity Forums recognition will be updated for the July 14th release.
  • New Profile Recognition System: This will introduce a new recognition paradigm in forums. Updates will be made to the recognition rules and user points will be recalculated. Users will also gain new achievements to better reflect their effort in participating.

There are three main reasons for the new Profile Recognition System:

1) Better motivation for users for the right behaviors - The new system rewards user points for quality contributions and new achievements for effort-based quantity actions. It also rewards users more points for contributing answers that are viewed and voted on more. The idea here is to better reward users for good, fast answers.

2) A more consistent and central way to describe our users – The recognition system will centralize and offer filtered views of a user’s participation not only on forums but across other MSDN and TechNet properties such as Blogs, Wikis and the Code Galleries. As new properties are brought on board they will show up in one place in a consistent display.

3) A more flexible and sustainable solution – The new recognition system will allow the forums application to continue to add new incentives and adjust rules to promote behaviors that support a more healthy ecosystem. It will also make the application healthier by retiring the legacy points system, a continual cause of stability issues in the application.

Forums 4 - Release 29 - June 9th

Forums 4 - Release 28 - May 12th

Forums 4 - Release 27 - April 17th

Forums 4 - Release 26 - March 17th

Forums 4 - Release 25 - February 17

Forums 4 - Release 22 - November 18

Forums 4 - Release 21 - October 28th

Forums 4 - Release 20 - September 30th

Forums 4 - Release 19 - September 1st

Forums 4 - Release 18 - August 5th

Forums 4 - Release 17 - July 8th

Forums 4 - Release 16 - June 10

Forums 4 - Release 15 - May 21, 2010

Forums 4 - Release 14 - April 18, 2010

Forums 4 - Release 13 - March 18, 2010

Forums 4 - Release 12 - February 18, 2010

Forums 4 - Release 11 - January 21, 2010

Forums 4 - Release 10 - December 17, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 9 - November 19, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 8 - October 16, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 7 - October 1, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 6 - August 28, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 5 - July 9, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 4 - June 25, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 3 - May 28, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 2 - April 23, 2009

Forums 4 - Release 1 - March 27, 2009

This article is part of the Wiki series: MSDN/TechNet Forums.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 4 and 7 and type the answer here:
  • Post
Wiki - Revision Comment List(Revision Comment)
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
  • Richard Mueller edited Revision 21. Comment: Remove zeros from <a name> tags in HTML so TOC works properly

  • Rich Prescott edited Revision 19. Comment: Added Forums Update 2/13

  • Rich Prescott edited Revision 18. Comment: Added Release 35

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 16. Comment: Adding links for navigation

  • Heslacher edited Revision 15. Comment: Changed heading

  • FZB edited Revision 13. Comment: profile update 19th jan

  • Rich Prescott edited Revision 12. Comment: Added December 1st profile updates

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 2. Comment: Filled in Release 30

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 1. Comment: Minor formatting

Page 1 of 1 (9 items)
Wikis - Comment List
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
Posting comments is temporarily disabled until 10:00am PST on Saturday, December 14th. Thank you for your patience.
  • Wow, impressive! Thanks Rich!

  • A great example of why we need collapsible headers.  :)

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 1. Comment: Minor formatting

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 2. Comment: Filled in Release 30

  • Rich Prescott edited Revision 12. Comment: Added December 1st profile updates

  • This could be a useful "updatable" page every time there are changes in the Forums or in the Profiles.

  • Nice wiki ...

  • FZB edited Revision 13. Comment: profile update 19th jan

  • Heslacher edited Revision 15. Comment: Changed heading

  • Thanks for the updates Heslacher and FZB!  Beat me to the punch.

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 16. Comment: Adding links for navigation

  • Rich Prescott edited Revision 18. Comment: Added Release 35

  • Rich Prescott edited Revision 19. Comment: Added Forums Update 2/13