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Want to write for Microsoft?

Edit: The group I’m speaking to is the Content Team, not the Books Online (BOL) team!

Edit: Updated with FAQs and clarifications.

I’m at the Microsoft MVP Summit in Bellevue, WA this week. Today I’m talking to the SQL Server Content team – one of my very favorite groups of Microsofties – and I’ve got breaking news!

This year, the focus is on adding content that provides not just how to, but also guidance and solutions.  Content with context.  In short, they’re looking to infuse a lot of real industry experience in their TechNet offerings. That’s where you come in.

The BOL team is looking for input on Community-Based Authoring*!  This is an “opportunity for you to help answer the questions of our most vocal SQL server customers.” Here’s the official blurb:

Want to help fill the gaps in knowledge that we’re able to give to customers? Come discuss opportunities to write, review, and curate some of the most needed content our customers are requesting.

If you’re interested in providing technical content (or reviewing / curating time) to be featured on TechNet, email CynthiaM@Microsoft.com.  The formats we’ve discussed so far have been wiki articles, blogs, white papers, samples, books online, and videos. It’s my understanding that samples and blogs can be on your own site, to be featured on TechNet, but I’m sure Cynthia will provide details going forward.

One more thing: They’re very much interested in getting international involvement. If you speak another (non-English) language, please-please contact SonalM@Microsoft.com for more information about this program. What’s more, you’re welcome (and encouraged) to re-blog this entire article in your own language. (I’d appreciate a link back here!)

So: Bump up your hits. Build massive SQL street cred. Help out the community at large.  Win-win-win!

FAQ: Updates and Clarifications

The moment I posted this, Twitter exploded with questions and criticisms. That’s good, because I’m still here talking to the Content team, and they’ve been able to answer some of those questions. That being said, I am not affiliated with the Microsoft Content Team, so these answers may be subject to revision or correction. (Of course we’re all doing best effort and good faith, it’s just that this is a brand new initiative! Keep positive, y’all.)

  • Peer/Microsoft review is ABSOLUTELY part of this.
  • These aren’t additions to BOL, they’re content to be featured in TechNet (possibly elsewhere, like BOL *links*)
  • Will anyone be able to submit, or will people be “invited”? Will submitters be vetted some way, like PASS speakers?
    Anyone can submit, but I doubt absolutely anyone would be published. Tech review is key. And, they’ll be asking for specific topics. Remember, this is about some of the most pressing qusetions, not ANY question.
  • Who will be reviewing the content to ensure it’s accurate AND best practice?
    Who will review? Most likely a combination of peers, content team and CAT team. This is in the very early stages.
  • Who owns IP?
    It’s looking like the answer is “it depends on which kind of content”. Blogs, vids, and wiki yours, white papers theirs. 
  • Compensation?
    Nope. That’s what “community” means.
    Remember, kids: Community doesn’t mean doing unpaid work for a very profitable company. Never has, never will.
    (Me:) *sigh* No no no no no….in this context, I think “unpaid” is implied by the word “community”. Never obliged ANYway. [I meant that we're never obliged to take part in programs like this if we don't want to, anyway.]

Happy days,
Jen McCown

 *…which I’m sure they’ll rename to something with a spiffy acronym later.

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