How to improve MSDN/Visual Studio Documentation

Given some of my 'feelings' about how we learn about new technology, as written in the previous post, I felt the need to fill in the Visual Studio Content Survey.

MSDN is often the first stop in the quest for more knowledge about a certain API, and these days more often than not, I leave the site with a feeling of disappointment. Now, this is not to say that the MSDN content is bad, perhaps its just that I have become so comfortable with the .NET Framework that, when I do feel I need to explore some unknown part of the it, I end up in a more obscure part of it. Like I had just recently with HttpContext.RewritePath. The docs there are really basic, bare-bones.

So the next reflex is Google (Yes, I tried Live Search a few times, but Google still seems to return the more relevant hits) and there you will find more relevant information in Blogs, articles, forums.

Again there, it is up to ourselves to get a feeling or qualification about how correct the information is. Again, how authoritive (if that's proper english) is the content. Was it written by someone the likes of Scottxxx (Guthrie, Hanselman, Haacked (ok, it's Phil, but same league: up there!)) or some person you have no trust in yet.

I'd love to actually see MSDN become a hub for adding community links to relevant blog posts, articles, webcasts, etc. With an innovative rating system on these links, each rating weighted with a dynamic value relative to the authoritive value of the person..

Example: If Scottxxx adds a link to the above HttpContext.RewritePath page, it should already get a top rating. If I were to add a link to the page, it would only get a normal rating, say with a rating weight of 100. If Scottxxx would rate the link, the rating of Scottxxx would be weighted eg. 10000. Because these guys know a lot more about this stuff, so they are likely to be better qualified (or authoritive) to rate the link.

Such a system would negate the effect of John Doe (or a 100 John Does) giving the link an incorrect rating. The fact that todays rating systems are 'democratic' is probably my biggest gripe. Not everybody has the same experience to be able to rate something.

Posted by: Rudi Larno
Last revised: 19 Jan, 2012 08:47 PM


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