Release notes for Microsoft Q&A

January 26, 2024

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • Fixed the issue where depth limit exceeded on Markdown content was returning 500 errors.
  • When a parent tag doesn't have children, we no longer show "See all tags" option.
  • Users now see a placeholder text for a deleted answer or comment.
  • [Multi-locale] Shipped support for Italian, French, German, Russian, Portuguese (Brazil), Japanese, Korean, Chinese (China).
  • Users need to solve a Captcha puzzle before posting a question.

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance, user interface, security, and spam prevention & removal.

Upcoming fixes and improvements

Here are the things we're currently working and plan to ship next:

  • Support questions in Turkish.
  • Private conversations.

January 15, 2024

We made the following fixes and improvements since our last release notes, still focusing primarily on wrapping up work for multi-locale support on Microsoft Q&A.

  • Spanish Tag wasn't localized when editing a question.

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance, user interface, security, and spam prevention and removal.

December 13, 2023

We made the following fixes and improvements since our last release notes, still focusing primarily on wrapping up work for multi-locale support on Microsoft Q&A.

  • [Community feedback] Fixed issue where Q&A was failing to mark questions as a duplicate.
  • [Community feedback] Fixed issue where the non en-us locale tags were searching en-us tagged content rather than the content tagged with its respective locale.

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance, user interface, security, and spam prevention and removal.

November 29, 2023

  • Updated error message when visiting a deleted question.

November 16, 2023

We made the following fixes and improvements since our last release notes, still focusing primarily on wrapping up work for multi-locale support on Microsoft Q&A.

  • [Community feedback] Fixed issue where part of the site wasn't available.
  • [Community feedback] Fixed issue where original posters we able to accept their own answer.
  • [Community feedback] Fixed issue where users were unable to post a comment or answer sporadically.
  • Q&A Assist: AI output is now part of the user's draft.

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance and user interface.

November 1, 2023

We made the following fixes and improvements since our last release notes, focusing primarily on wrapping up work for multi-locale support on Microsoft Q&A.

  • [Multi-locale] Shipped support for Spanish.
  • [Community feedback] Refreshed issue fixed where users were seeing "This page isn't working right now" error.
  • [Community feedback] Improved performance when displaying collections.

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance and user interface.

October 16, 2023

We made the following fixes and improvements since our last release notes, focusing primarily on wrapping up work for multi-locale support on Microsoft Q&A.

  • [AI] Q&A Assist now available to all users asking questions in Microsoft Q&A.
  • [Multi-locale] Continued work to support Q&A questions and answers in multiple languages.

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance and user interface.

September 19, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Experimentation] Close experiment for Answer rating by question authors. Our team is evaluating the results this week.
  • [Community feedback] Filter by questions you follow now enabled
  • [Q&A Assist] Update result cards to use new properties
  • [Community feedback] Updates to permissions for users with MVP and Microsoft affiliations
  • [Community feedback] Continued spam fighting
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Ensure Profile shows tags a user follows with correct tag name
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Issue with Tags / follow functionality – If your followed tags on Q&A are out of sync, sign out and back in again to resync them to your Learn/Q&A profile.
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Enable users to save changes to Q&A email notification preferences in Profile

We also implemented other general improvements to site performance and user interface.

August 28, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Experimentation] Launch experiment for Answer rating by question authors
  • [Q&A Assist] Increase number and relevancy of AI answers
  • [Q&A Assist] Updates to ensure references and sources for AI answers are displayed consistently
  • [Q&A Assist] UI adjustments to results and footer for Ask a Question page
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Increase vote count when user submits feedback on Q&A questions
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Display answer counts for "Find similar question" request
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Ensure seamless transition when user replaces their question draft with AI-generated question draft using Q&A Assist
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Allow users to change code language when using Learn Editor in rich-text mode
  • [Community feedback] Bug fix: Update tooltips for AI features
  • Updates to product taxonomy

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

July 31, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Fix UI error when marking questions as duplicate
  • [Community feedback] Mobile: Ensure Ask a Question page autopopulates tag when opening from a tag page
  • [Q&A Assist] Fix UX bug when surfacing similar questions from Q&A and external sites

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

July 14, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Editor improvements including: Disable '@' mentions in code blocks
  • [Community feedback] Restore missing events from Profile activity
  • [Community feedback] Improve specificity of 400 error messaging across Q&A
  • [AI work] Attribute AI answers to Q&A Assist instead of Anonymous user

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

June 30, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Show basic syntax highlighting for code blocks at rendering
  • [Community feedback] Resolving editor bugs with blank lines and hyperlinks
  • [AI work] Move AI banner next to answers
  • [AI work] Don't automatically accept AI-generated answers
  • [AI work] Improve messaging to users when AI can't provide an answer
  • Ensure deleted spam content is removed from Search index
  • Localize editor toolbar

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

June 15, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Resolved caching issues
  • More improvements to prevent spam
  • [Community feedback] When selecting and deleting a code block in rich-text mode, it's now deleted
  • [Community feedback] Fixed odd keyboard behaviors on code blocks
  • Removed follow actions when editing content
  • Automatic generation of a unique avatar for users who don't upload their own avatar

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

June 1, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • More improvements to prevent spam
  • [Community feedback] Italicizing bold text doesn't remove bold in the markdown editor
  • [Community feedback]Code block doesn't longer get corrupt on edit
  • Experimentation of adding categories when the question author rates an answer as unhelpful

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

May 18, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Improvements to automatically deal with spam.
  • [Community feedback] Creating more than one quote in same comment duplicates quotes and replies.
  • [Community feedback] New users are now receiving Q&A email notifications.
  • [Community feedback] Users don't get an email notification when they post or edit content.
  • [Community feedback] Users don't receive email notifications when content is automatically reported as spam.
  • Editing the same content repeatedly doesn't mark it as marks it as spam.
  • Header options are the same in the rich and Markdown views.

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

May 3, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Improvements to automatically deal with spam.
  • [Community feedback] Fixed issue when posting content with nested numbered list.

Fixes and improvements that only affect moderators.

  • Ability to delete content directly from the question and tag list pages.
  • Ability to filter content automatically deleted by the system.

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

April 20, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • [Community feedback] Line breaks are no longer removed when posting content.
  • [Community feedback] You can now insert triple backticks as inline code blocks.
  • [Community feedback] Headers in the editor match the size of the headers when published.
  • [Community feedback] Updated email notification templates to take you directly to that comment or answer from the email message.
  • [Community feedback] Added a "Discard draft" button for questions, answers, and comments to clear the form.
  • You can now put the cursor before the code span even it's not the first word in a paragraph.
  • Removed the option to follow a deleted question. You can unfollow a deleted question to remove it from your list.

Fixes and improvements that only affect moderators.

  • [Community feedback] Editing only the tags on a deleted question no longer undo delete (restore) the question.
  • Report reasons are now carried over to Delete content modal.
  • Deleted list only lists items deleted the last 30 days.

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

April 4, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • Typing _ in code spans/blocks no longer causes unwanted italics.
  • Anonymous users can now see answer votes on questions they voted.
  • When the user has a draft for a question, answer, or comment, the editor for that content type does no longer disappear.
  • Selecting "My Content" in mobile view as anonymous user wasn't prompting the user to sign in. We removed the "My content" option on mobile.
  • Moderators now have a visual cue when the system deletes content.
  • Search by question author is no longer limited to 20 characters. We also improved the presentation of the user name.
  • We improved the experience when inserting a link in the rich-text editor.
  • Users whose display name was empty due to content validation, weren't receiving mails. We fixed the rules for default content for those users.
  • When converting an answer to a comment and vice-versa, Q&A now keeps the data when the question or comment was first created.

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

March 8, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

  • Some users were experiencing their content disappearing after posting. It was deleted and a moderator had to republish it to reappear on the site.
  • Metadata on the Questions and Tags pages list cards was outdated.
  • Users who signed up for email notifications weren't receiving default notifications, which could have caused them to miss important updates.
  • When deleting reported content with "Other" reason, the description of the reason wasn't visible in the Deleted moderation queue.
  • Deleting content from the moderation queue with the reason "Other" resulted in a 400 error.
  • Some non-moderators had the ability to edit other users' content.
  • All moderators were receiving email notifications when items were in the moderation queue, regardless of whether they had signed up for that notification.

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

February 13, 2023

Here are the updates and enhancements we did since the previous release notes.

We improved the @ mention users when posting content and the searching by question author experiences as follow:

  • Expanded the list of matches from 10 to 30.
  • Prioritize matches for display names that start with the string that you're typing.
  • Show results in alphabetical order within the matches that start with the string you type and then within the string of the display name you type.

We broke down the Microsoft affiliations as follow:

  • Microsoft Employee
  • Microsoft Agency Temporary
  • Microsoft Vendor
  • Microsoft Intern

We fixed the following issues:

  • Some users weren't able to access their attachments after posting content
  • Links were broken in the editor after posting
  • Unexpected errors when converting answers to comments by some users
  • Down voting someone's answer adds reputation points by 5 to their total
  • Comments weren't appearing in the right order
  • Reported items count in moderation queue so it doesn't include deleted items
  • Other minor bug fixes

We also implemented improvements to performance and user interface.

January 10, 2023

Welcome to the new Q&A. We're excited for you to experience this release. It's a big one. We did a ton of work improving Q&A for our users, and this release establishes a strong foundation that we 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're excited to bring you more this year and beyond.

Check out the details on the improvements listed next.

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. By default, you see the theme set on your operating system. to change the theme (light, dark, or high contrast), go to the bottom of any page, select "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 Q&A editor preserves the format!

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're 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 select 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're 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. Select the + sign at the top of the page.
  3. You'll 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, select "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 didn't help you, let us know the reason so the community can help you further.

If you're the question author, 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 select the new answer you want to accept, and we'll make the change for you!

Other users 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 select 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 intuitive and let the other users know that comment is important to read when they're reviewing the question or the answer.

To keep the site safe and healthy, we count on our users to report content that doesn't follow Q&A Code of conduct. Any content reported by the users goes 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. Select 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

Here are the features that we replaced with another feature:

Here are the features that we don't support and we're planning to support on an upcoming release:

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

Here are the features that we have discontinued:

  • 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