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SharePoint Forums – Why they matter

WARNING: “How cool am I?” post.

I’ve always wanted to spend some time on the SharePoint forums, just to see the fun and benefits of being a “regular”.

I put some initiative into it and, I have to say, the forums are more than what I expected.

Here is why I think the forums are important for the community and every SharePoint expert out there:

  • When preparing an answer, you think about the issues and concepts around the asked question. This educates you. I answer to people, and when I do so I look over my notes on the topic. I have a huge arsenal of material on SharePoint concepts from which I pull out info and I always look up on a search engine to find anything recent. Going over knowledge and blogs is a learning experience. The end result – I am a better SharePoint expert.
  • You see trends of problems. This helps you understand common misconceptions so you can address them through blogs or open-source solutions. You see the biggest problems of the product, and the most often encountered headaches. You end up knowing more about your ecosystem.
  • You help people and they say thanks. And this makes you feel good. It also raises your profile, which is important for the self-development of everyone.
  • And of course, you get the opportunity to ask a question. If you are lucky, someone might even answer within minutes. No support ticket could do this for you.

A screenshot from my activity (taken today):

Which forums do I like? I’m currently a big fan of SharePoint 2010 General Questions and Answers as the questions cover everything and anything. People seem to ask all kinds of stuff here, configuring, development, architecture, search , PowerShell, you name it. I also poke around the others, but that one is my favorite.

How much time does it take? Not much – I answer questions while I wait for something else. Either a person, a task, a system job or an email. Answering a question takes a few minutes if you know the answer. What could cost you time is researching a problem, but hey, that is my job. I should know, so I don’t mind looking into issues or concepts that I don’t know the answer to. Either way, it is time which I am happy to give.

Last point – people ask me questions ALL the time. I always give them the answer, but ask them to post the question to the forums so everyone could benefit from my answer.

So don’t think about it, post a question 🙂

See you on the forums!