Ayende @ Rahien

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How to kill the community feedback, or, the uselessness of Microsoft Connect

I just got this in an email:

Did you go to Microsoft Connect and supply feedback about the things you don't like about the product? That may be received better than a rant.

I feel like I should explain better what I think about this. Broadly, I see it as a dead end path, since there is no real way for me as the reporter, to do anything about it except to report it. The main issue here is that a lot of those bugs are being closed for what looks like ridiculous reasons. Eventually, it lead to the belief that there isn't much point in connect, since there isn't any feedback about it, nor any way to get the results back if it it fixed, at least not until the next release. And yes, I know about hotfixes, that doesn't help me when I want a bug fix that affects Rhino Mocks. But that is assuming that the bug was fixed.  I believe that I had one good experience with connect, here, where I reported a bug and it would be closed on Orcas.

A somewhat random selection of issues that I didn't like...

Bugs:

Suggestions:

Basically, the problem is that the feedback loop is broken, it goes only one way. And I am sure that I am not the only one that remembers the flurry of bulk closing of bugs as "By Design" near VS 2005 Beta 2 & Launch. The problem is not that some of those things are by design, the problem is that the design is broken.

So, the best scenario for me is to report a bug to connect, hope that it wouldn't get ignored, and assuming it is fixed, wait for the next release cycle to get it. Oh, and often enough it get postponed, so I may have to wait two (or more) release cycles to get the fix.

Sorry, but that doesn't really encourage me to do anything with it.

Comments

Avish
07/29/2007 09:00 PM by
Avish

Words like hobnails, as they say in Hebrew. Words like friggin hobnails.

Frans Bouma
07/30/2007 07:25 AM by
Frans Bouma

I have/had the same experiences with Connect. I also reported bugs which crashed the IDE (closed by design... huh? Which bonehead designed it that way?), crashed .net code or were simply feedback on render speed. For example the datagridview for winforms, it renders so incredibly slow, and this is still present in orcas b2.

Yesterday I ran into a stupid .NET 3.5 bug. I thought, well.... let's see if they pick this one up and fix it, because it is a nasty one for everyone upgrading to .net 3.5. And what do you know! THey already picked it up and are working on it... amazing, the difference between bugs reported during beta and bugs reported after RTM: bugs reported after RTM are simply ignored and handled by a bunch of morons.

adolf garlic
07/30/2007 01:27 PM by
adolf garlic

I've given up posting on connect. I believe it is to make you feel like you're making a difference when in reality you are not.

Microsoft will have a huge and complex delivery path of functionality they want to release in subsequent product versions, and are not going to radically alter this on the whim of few geeks. It is, after all, the large enterprise that pays for the software licence and not the developer :)

The most popular suggestions always seem to do with very specific issues related to the internals, and nothing to do with improving UI or other obvious quick wins.

Also the connect site itself has the worst navigation of any website I have ever seen to bear the microsoft.com url.

I agree with before/after RTM comment

Frans Bouma
07/30/2007 02:35 PM by
Frans Bouma

Another way to kill community feedback: release a new version of the forums software at http://forums.microsoft.com which breaks down with Firefox v2 so you only can reach it with IE.

I agree with the connect site quality, it's simply crap. Funny thing is: it's brand new! They just released a major overhaul. Go figure.

Phil Brammer
07/30/2007 03:22 PM by
Phil Brammer

Sigh...

1 - Connect submissions are often closed because they've opened an internal bug. ***Now, I agree, the FEEDBACK from Microsoft leaves something to be desired. But they do listen.

2 - To Frans: Firefox still works in the forums -- I use it as my only browser. Clear your cache and cookies to get in. This SP4 should've fixed numerous Passport issues preventing login.

Ayende Rahien
07/30/2007 05:09 PM by
Ayende Rahien

@Phil,

I don't really care if they have opened a new bug, if I can't see progress, it is meaningless.

Also, I want to see results in a less than 2 years timeframe.

foobar
07/31/2007 10:51 PM by
foobar

[Frans Bouma]

bugs reported after RTM are simply ignored and handled by a bunch of morons.

I've just happend to stumble upon Sara Ford's weblog. This dudess is, in her own words, Software Design Engineer in Test (SDET) on the Visual Studio. She writes in a blog entry her team has "3 Program Managers, 2 Developers and 1 Tester."

Three program managers!!! Jeez, what do they do? Is this indicative of the quality of the product and the rate of fixing bugs?

Colin Jack
08/16/2007 07:37 AM by
Colin Jack

Yeah connect is awful, I've logged loads of suggestions/bugs and had very little success.

Adam Getchell
09/16/2007 10:19 PM by
Adam Getchell

Thanks for this posting! I'm on a TAP program, and after logging 5 bugs and getting them all closed (mostly not reproducible) I thought it was just me.

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