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I saw Microsoft has created its own Q&A system, designed to incorporate the same Stack Overflow-style Q&A, but with additional samples, documentation and tutorials.

Someone asked "Why not use SO" and got some interesting answers.

I assume MS Q&A isn't using SO as the backend platform, as 'saldana' said they would continue to improve their platform to match SO's features.

I know there are other alternatives to Stack Overflow out there, such as Devada's AnswerHub that has not gained nearly as much traction as Stack Overflow has, but Microsoft is a different beast.

If the community is being alienated so much they are creating their own Q&A site, and (I estimate) half the tech questions will start to be resolved on MS Q&A, is there going to be much left here soon?

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    Integration with GitHub could drive people to Microsoft Q&A – Ian Ringrose Nov 27 at 0:35
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    I hope so. Even if that means just getting regular feedback from people that care and can make changes. – user623267 Nov 27 at 0:47
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    I feel obliged to vote to close this. While an interesting topic, the question itself Is Microsoft Q&A the beginning of the end for SO? is basically a request for speculation. – Rebecca J. Stones Nov 27 at 0:49
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    @RebeccaJ.Stones How is that any different than half of the posts in Meta? – user623267 Nov 27 at 0:52
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    @RebeccaJStones it's about SO and how the community here will respond to an alternative. It's entirely appropriate to ask that question of the community here. – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Nov 27 at 0:55
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    When there no longer is a place for "The single best Q/A site in the world", then there have to be multiple (not-so-good) Q/A sites. It wasn't soooo hard to see that coming. – Marco13 Nov 27 at 0:57
  • This question was closed Oct 31 at 7:16 PM by saldana for the following reason: Question is an exact copy of an Stack Overflow question. It doesn't appear to be a programming site. There are no tags for languages, only for products or technologies. docs.microsoft.com/answers/questions/617/… – Scott Hannen Nov 27 at 1:24
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    There is an internal Stack Overflow at Microsoft. – Peter Mortensen Nov 27 at 1:38
  • @ScottHannen they were partnered up over docs, but that has been migrated away, and I think more will migrate too in the future. MS Q&A is very new right now, so its not surprising its comprehensive – gbjbaanb Nov 27 at 1:59
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    @RebeccaJ.Stones fair enough, but the question was right at the end - if all the MS answers go to MS Q&A, will there be enough left to make SO feasible? – gbjbaanb Nov 27 at 2:02
  • A good read there to answer you – yagmoth555 - GoFoundMe Monica Nov 27 at 2:14
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    Competition is a good thing. If SE is the only game in town, what motivation do they have to do better? – user102937 Nov 27 at 2:46
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    @Trilarion hah. Figures. "No thank you" then. – Mena Nov 27 at 10:09
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    Since programming and technology does not revolve solely around Microsoft products, MS Q&A site will not have enough impact to bring SO down. It may reduce SO traffic in MS tags, but that is all. On the other hand, little competition from such big player can make SE management to think twice about their next moves, if they are thinking at all... – Resistance Is Futile Nov 27 at 10:22
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    @Lundin ho ho ho. I believe all of Stack Overflow is built with Microsoft technology. Is that count as successfull enough? – gbjbaanb Nov 27 at 15:12
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No. Their move was planned long time ago to replace the Technet & MSDN forum that were aging.

I am a moderator on Technet, and I can tell that it was move that was talked a lot in the past to resolve some issues.

The focus, as stated in answer linked is not the same as on SO. They welcome almost any question, and there are no downvotes or community moderation as it’s done by almost all by staffers; while on Stack Overflow the contents is more quality over quantity.

I think both platforms got their use (but maybe the "Welcome Wagon" of SO might scrap that balance)

A side note, the CoC of MS for the use is a lot simpler, it’s like the old be nice rule from SO.

  • Does Microsoft Q&A support all tech questions, or just those related to Microsoft tech? – user102937 Nov 27 at 20:30
  • @RobertHarvey here on the right hand side they have list of Supported Products. It's a whole bunch of Azure stuff, UWP and some Partnet Center API. So it's not even related to all Microsoft tech, but only a small subset of it. Underneath that list they say "For any products and services not listed above please continue using the current channels." – wha7ever - Reinstate Monica Nov 27 at 20:46
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    @RobertHarvey Q&A support is limited, in start of next year everything that MS forum support will move to it. If you mean in a generic's way; It's hard to give a accurate answer, support yes for programming language that are supported inside their products (c/c++,c#, etc..), but the difference is that offtopic question are guided to the correct place (In exemple I had recently some symantec questions inside my forum. I guided the users to go to the vendor's forum) To be more welcoming mean to see more of such questions, it's why I wonder what the Welcome Wagon will make SO look like in the end – yagmoth555 - GoFoundMe Monica Nov 27 at 20:55
  • Does it mean that quality answers from the new Microsoft Q&A cannot be expected? – Trilarion Nov 28 at 9:07
  • @Trilarion You will have quality, but it will not come from peer pressure (downvote and such) – yagmoth555 - GoFoundMe Monica Nov 28 at 11:14
  • @yagmoth555-GoFoundMeMonica Could be although I somehow doubt it. The old MSDN forums had on average not much useful information as far as I remember. But maybe it works. I'm all for experiments. – Trilarion Nov 28 at 11:46
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    "while on Stack Overflow the contents is more quality over quantity" bahahahahahaha – Lightness Races with Monica Nov 28 at 15:59
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If you go to Stack Overflow reputation league you can see that there is very little MS related technology on the first page for top earners in the last month, and even less MS related products that are currently covered with MS Q&A site.

Programming and technology don't solely revolve around Microsoft products and MS Q&A site will not have enough impact to bring SO down. It may reduce SO traffic in some MS tags, but that is all. It will also reduce pressure on SO by allowing questions that are off topic on Stack Overflow. Little less things to clean up is good thing, IMO.

On the other hand, little competition from such big player can make SE management to think twice about their next moves. MS can decide to expand support to its other products, including languages and that could be more serious threat to SO traffic. But even if that happens MS Q&A is nowhere near being the beginning of an end of SO.

Any kind of beginning of an end of SO will not come from the outside, but from inside the company. SO has huge traction and the only way it can collapse is under its own weight and because its own bad moves.

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    That's nice and all, but couldn't they simply buy Stack Overflow? It seems much easier to buy and rebrand than to build something from scratch. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Nov 27 at 23:41
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    @JJforTransparencyandMonica They are not building SO, they are fulfilling their product support needs. It is not the first nor the last company that has some sort of Q/A around their technology and support (to different extent and different success) – Resistance Is Futile Nov 27 at 23:43
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The way I see it - Microsoft has a different goal in mind.

However, Stack Overflow has specific criteria about what questions are appropriate for the community and Microsoft Q&A will have a more open policy regarding this. More importantly, via Microsoft Q&A we can create unique experiences that allow us to provide the highest level of support for our customers. It is hard to get a full picture of the customer who is asking a question on Stack Overflow. But on Microsoft Q&A it will be possible to connect the asker to their actual product usage and support contract. This will enable new opportunities to offer the highest quality support.

In this response, I take away the following:

  • Microsoft Q&A wishes to have a more loose policy about what questions get asked on the site.
  • Microsoft is explicitly leaning on this product as a means of supporting their products. Stack Overflow is very much not suited for that.
  • There's a lot of metadata that makes supporting Microsoft questions "noise" on Stack Overflow - namely, "actual product usage" and "support contract". Those aren't details Stack Overflow cares about since support isn't the goal.

Besides, this has existed in one incarnation or another for their own products anyway.

This isn't a threat to Stack Overflow in the slightest, but that's not to say that there aren't other groups out there who would seek to create their own platform. Those that wish to face a daunting uphill battle in trying to pool together the actual resources needed to make something similar to the scale and utility of Stack Overflow, and frankly the only entity that could scratch the surface today would be Microsoft.

Although to be blunt, if it were the case that Microsoft wanted to truly ape the Stack Exchange experience, they'd just buy it like they did GitHub...

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If the community is being alienated so much they are creating their own Q&A site, and (I estimate) half the tech questions will start to be resolved on MS Q&A, is there going to be much left here soon?

We might see a decrease in the quantity of new questions (about Microsoft-related technologies, which are much less than half of the traffic, as others have noted), but on the other hand, the quality of said questions may actually increase. They've stated the following:

However, Stack Overflow has specific criteria about what questions are appropriate for the community and Microsoft Q&A will have a more open policy regarding this.

I hope the users who ask questions that are too open-ended or otherwise unfit to be answered on Stack Overflow will finally find a place where they can stay, instead of repeatedly trying their luck here until they reach the question ban.

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