What I want from the SBS community

What I want from the SBS community

Microsoft’s Kevin Beares and I have been engaged in a squabble about the SBS Community Survey. (See his blog entry and all the associated links and comments.)

Kevin asked me to stop debating the survey’s methodological merits, which I will happily do at this point. He also posed the following questions:

How about telling me what you think the SBS product team could do to improve your experience in the community? Do you think we should move to using Web Forums? Do you think we should have two entry points to the same discussion? In other words, you can either access the same conversations via a newsgroup client or a web forum UI via Internet Explorer (Or whatever Web Browser you prefer).

Let me take the second part first, because I think that’s an easy one. The answer is: What are you talking about? I can ALREADY access the same conversations via a newsgroup client or a web forum UI via Internet Explorer!

Newsgroup client:


Web browser:


Am I missing the point of your question? Were there other types of conversations and discussions you had in mind? If so, please be specific.

If I am missing the point, perhaps it’s because I don’t really understand your first question about how the “SBS Product Team” could improve my “experience in the community.” I have put these terms in quotes here because I don’t know what you mean by them; therefore, I have a hard time responding to your question.

“SBS Product Team”: Who are you and what do you do? Is the product team limited to developers, or does it also include marketing, documentation, support, licensing, research, channel and partner assistance, and so forth? What is under your control, and what isn’t? How do you relate to the other people at Microsoft who are not on the SBS Product Team — the Eric Ligmans, Paige Boesens, and Marie McFaddens of the world? (Although maybe Marie is actually on the Team … I really have no idea.) I can’t start making suggestions about what you should do until you give me some realistic parameters.

“Experience in the community”: This one’s tough because we have to define both “experience” and “community.” If my mayor or police chief asked what they could do to improve my experience in the community where I live, I’d have a pretty good idea of what they were talking about. But this is a lot more ambiguous. Kevin said that

The Windows SBS Community is whatever you define as the SBS Community. I am not in the position to define what our community is. So, no it is not limited to the SBS Community Resources listed in the survey. So, this is not a generally accepted definition or an attempt at a definition. It is what I have defined along with numerous other Community Lead across Microsoft as Categories of Community Resources that could at least be bucketed, rated, and commented on.

And Kevin also said that

My major focus is to get the product team engaged with the community…. Sometimes, we conclude that the community finds little value in [a particular Microsoft] resource, but because it is just that we have not given it enough attention and that they are upset that we have not spent more time keeping the resource up to date.

So I am really perplexed about what/who the community is, and whether the SBS Product Team is a part of it or not. The second quotation seems to put the SBS Product Team outside the community, because of how Kevin uses “we” and “they.” But the first quotation, as well as the survey, implies that “the community” comprises a set of on-line and telephone-based resources, many of them produced by Microsoft. I’m confused as to (a) whether the community is a set of people or things and (b) whether Microsoft’s role is to be the community or to provide information to the community.

Once we figure out who or what the community is, then we can move on to define what my experience in (or of) the community is and talk about how it might be improved. At this point I’m not sure if I should be making suggestions like “allow me to create a custom RSS feed of search results for specified keywords across all microsoft.public and microsoft.private SBS-related newsgroups” or like “create an SBS Community Facebook group” or “pay for pizza at our monthly user group meetings.”

I look forward to continuing our conversation and encourage others to join in.

Update, 6/23/08: Kevin doesn’t think I’m taking his questions seriously, and he has declined to pursue this conversation further. I’m sorry you feel that way, Kevin, because I really would like to provide helpful and constructive feedback. But without a better sense of what you really want to know, I can’t do that. Sorry if I’m being a complete dunce and missing something obvious here, but I am honestly at a loss as to what you’re trying to get at. Perhaps someone else can clue me in.

Posted in All, Business on Jun 21st, 2008, 7:01 pm by David Schrag   

2 Responses

  1. briwlls
    June 22nd, 2008 | 7:08 am


    I don’t understand why you’re wasting your time on this issue. If you don’t understand the merits of the survey, just don’t complete the survey. Why waste time and energy on an issue that not going anywhere?

    On a side note, good job on Karl’s conference call, good info.

    Brian Williams

  2. June 22nd, 2008 | 12:53 pm

    Brian: We’re beyond the survey now. We’re talking generally now about how Microsoft can improve our experiences in the community (whatever that means).

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