Release notes for Microsoft Q&A

January 10, 2023

Welcome to the new Q&A. We are excited for you to experience this release. It's a big one. We have done a ton of work improving Q&A for our users, and this release establishes a strong foundation that we will continue to build on going forward.

Goals and highlights of this release:

  • Overall improved user experience
  • New rich-web editor
  • Unified search with the rest of Learn content
  • Unified tag/product experience with the rest of the Learn site
  • Improved tag experience
  • Question/answer/comment rating
  • Sharing questions
  • Stay informed with announcement banners and email
  • User reputation enhancements
  • Simplified moderator workflow
  • Unsupported features

This is just the start. This release unlocks our ability to continue to innovate on Q&A and create better integration with the rest of Learn. We are excited to bring you more this year and beyond.

Check out the details on the improvements below.

Improved user experience

Our new user interface is optimized for readability, improved workflows, and efficiency.

Previous Q&A version New Q&A version
Screenshot of the previous Q&A site user interface. Screenshot of the current Q&A site user interface.

Additionally, we now support themes. We will default to the theme set for your operating system, but you can change your theme (light, dark, or high contrast). Go to the bottom of any page, click on "Theme", and select the theme of your choice.

Theme selection control.

New rich-web editor

Our new editor supports editing in a preview mode (new default) or you can use Markdown. The new editor is supported for asking, answering, posting comments, or editing content.

For additional time saving, you can also copy and paste formatted content from other places and the format will be preserved in Q&A!

We have made including attachments easier. You can drag/drop, copy/paste, or browse for images or attachments to include them in a post.

Previous Q&A version New Q&A version
Screenshot of the previous Q&A site rich-web editor. Screenshot of the new Q&A site Markdown editor.

Never worry about losing your work in progress. If you need to move away and come back while you are in the middle of a question, answer, or comment, we have you covered with improved drafts.

Some people aren't familiar with the Q&A format and sometimes people post a comment as an answer and vice-versa. So, it's very easy to convert the answer to a comment or convert the comment to an answer. Comments do not have character limits anymore, so you will be able to convert any answers to comments, regardless of their length.

Unified search across Learn content & more findability improvements

We have integrated Q&A content in the Learn site search experience. So you can find Q&A content from anywhere on the site. This is the first of what we hope will be many ways that we better integrate Q&A into the rest of the Learn experience. Search shows a question preview of up to 255 characters which gives you additional information of what the question is about without having to click on it. In addition, we improved the question cards for better readability. The improved card experience is available within search and the questions/tags details pages.

Screenshot of the new search experience for Q&A on Learn.

In addition, we've revised filtering and sorting capabilities in all these experiences.

Once you find the information you are looking for, you can easily manually follow content, automatically follow content, or add it to a collection for later reference.

Steps for adding to a collection:

  1. Go to a question.
  2. Click on the + sign at the top of the page.
  3. You will see a prompt to save the question to a collection. You can select to add the question to an existing collection or to create a new one and add the question to it.
  4. Once you finished, click on "Save".

Questions/answers/comment ratings and safety

Content ratings are more meaningful now. As a question author, you can rate an answer to indicate to the answerer (the community and the support teams at Microsoft) whether their answer helped you. If the answer did not help you, please let us know the reason so the community can help you further.

If you are the question author, please continue accepting the answers that helped you solve your problem. If you receive a better answer afterwards, no worries, we made it easier to switch accepted answers. Simply click on the new answer you want to accept, and we will make the change for you!

Other users can can also rate any answer and help others know which answers are most helpful. This should provide a strong signal about what answers the community find most useful. Screenshot of the new answer rating experience.

Any authenticated user can click on I have the same question control, so users answering can find out the most popular questions. Screenshot of the new question rating experience.

Voting on a comment is now very intuitive and let the other users know that comment is important to read when they are reviewing the question or the answer.

To keep the site safe and healthy, we count on our users to report content that does not follow Q&A Code of conduct. Any content reported by the users will go to the moderation queue where a moderator can edit it, delete it, or mark it as an invalid report.

Sharing questions

You can now share questions with others outside Q&A. The sharing menu aligns with content sharing across Microsoft Learn site.

Steps to share:

  1. Go to a question.
  2. Click on the overflow menu (the icon with three vertical dots) at the top of the page.
  3. Select the option to share the content to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Mail.

Stay informed with announcement banners and email

You can stay informed with site-wide banners for announcements or issues related to Q&A or local banners in part of the site for issues or announcements with specific products supported on Q&A.

Another way you can stay up to informed is by enabling and configuring an expanded set of email notifications on Q&A. You can change what content you automatically follow as well as have control about receiving email notifications.

User reputation enhancements

To easily evaluate the reputation of other users, we now show reputation on the user's card. This includes the user's affiliation (Microsoft employee or Microsoft Most Valuable Professional or MVP) together with their reputation points.

Design of user affiliation in Q&A v2 showing both [Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs)](https://mvp.microsoft.com) and Microsoft employees.

You can continue follow users via the card, and you can see who is following you in your profile.

Simplified moderator workflow

Microsoft Q&A moderators assist with the day-to-day affairs of the community. The effectiveness of moderation directly impacts the quality of the community, the overall usefulness of Q&A, and the customer satisfaction rate.

Moderators are essential to maintaining the integrity of the site. Moderator support includes ensuring that questions and answers are posted with the correct information, helping to protect customer privacy, and managing violations to the Code of Conduct.

From the simplified moderation tools and throughout the site, moderators can perform the following actions

  • Moderators can Edit content and see full contents of the question thread for additional context. Also, moderators can now edit question content and tags in a single action.
  • Now moderators can see a list of all deleted content in the moderation queue and edit or undo delete them from there as necessary.
  • Instead of redirecting questions, moderators can mark questions as duplicate to send users to another similar question with answers or an accepted solution.
  • Moderators can convert answers to comments when its purpose is to clarify a question or another answer. Moderators also convert comments to answers when it provides the solution to the user's problem.

Unsupported features

The following is a list of features that we replaced with another feature:

The following is a list of features that are not currently supported, but we are planning to support them on an upcoming release:

  • Filter by questions you follow
  • Related questions
  • Community experts will evolve into Community Champions
  • Private messages

The following is a list of features that are no longer supported:

  • Posting feedback. Microsoft is in the process of unifying product feedback and will be moving Learn platform there in the future, this includes Q&A. In the meantime, you can provide us feedback by using the Microsoft Q&A tag.
  • Threaded comments (a comment on a comment). This is to ensure a more focused conversation to get the question answered as improve readability.
  • User’s page
  • Ability to see revisions
  • RSS Feeds