Microsoft Q&A launches to replace TechNet and MSDN forums

microsoft qa

Microsoft launched a preview of Microsoft Q&A, a "global, community-driven platform for timely, high-quality technical answers" this week.

Microsoft Q&A will replace the MDSN and TechNet forums which IT professionals and developers used in the past to ask and answer questions.

The old forums "are outdated" according to Microsoft. The company created the Microsoft Q&A platform to create a "more consistent experience across platforms"; the service uses the same user authentication as Microsoft Docs and Learn and Microsoft believes that it is a "natural extension" of its docs.microsoft.com service.

Participants benefit from improved and "clearer paths" between documentation, content and answers, and moderators will have new tools at their disposal.

The new platform supports a number of new features and experiences including options to follow posts, or people to get updates, suggested answers as questions are typed, content bookmarking, and tags to "ask questions across products and services".

Microsoft Q&A does not replace the (consumer-focused) Microsoft Answers forum.

The following topics are supported in the preview version currently:

  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory B2C
  • Azure Information Protection
  • Azure DevTest Labs
  • Azure Lab Services
  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • Azure Web Apps
  • Universal Windows Platform
  • Partner Center API

Microsoft plans to add new services to the list.

MSDN and Technet forums will become read-only which means that existing users may still view content but options to ask questions or create responses won't be available anymore going forward.

Microsoft has no intention to migrate content from the old forums to the Microsoft Q&A website but plans to use machine learning to display (read-only) content from the Technet or MSDN forums when users search on the new Q&A website if the initial search of Q&A's database returns no results.

Users need to create new profiles on the Microsoft Q&A website as there is no option to keep on using the MSDN or Technet forum profile. Reputation earned by participating in the old forums is not carried over initially as well but Microsoft revealed plans to introduce an option to link the old profile to the new profile so that badges and points are displayed on the new profile.

Microsoft published frequently asked questions on the company's Docs website. The company hopes to complete the migration by mid-2020.

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