Are ITKE and MicrosoftExpert just shills for Microsoft?

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Marketing
Microsoft
SQL Server
Is it just me, or areĀ "ITKE" and "MicrosoftExpert" just using this forum to promote Microsoft SQL Server products?

ITKE posts a leading question. MicrosoftExpert posts a reply (that reads suspiciously like Microsoft marketing bumf). ITKE marks the "solution" as "Approved".

Is this an appropriate use of this forum?

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They are questions from the chats that they have on the site. It is not intended to be marketing speak but if users feel that these types of messages arent appropriate for the community we can stop.

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  • Jevanoff
    That's silly to stop using those sites. It's an answer to a question people are asking for which in most cases could be found by the user themselves if they took the time to look. The entire idea of this site is to answer questions as thoroughly as possible in the least amount of time. Selling products or brands is not even part of the discussion.
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  • Labnuke99
    I agree with this previous comment. I do not market or focus on Microsoft answers. There is more to this forum than just virtualization (very high direct Microsoft) content versus the AS/400 or iSeries and general networking content. Take a look at the blogs on here (try my IT-Trenches) and you will see there is more to ITKE than Microsoft marketing. The ITKE login is basically the site moderator posting questions from other sources like direct email or webinar chats.
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  • Kccrosser
    My question was posed due to several recent posts like the following one from today's collection. The answer isn't an answer at all - it is a bunch of Microsoft marketing hype. And why should that answer (if you want to call it that) be "Accepted"? So - I am questioning the purpose (and value) of the postings. If the answers included any decent technical content that would be different. ITKE: How much will it cost to upgrade from SQL 2005 to the 2008 R2? MicrosoftExpert: With SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft continues to be the value leader, offering rich functionality to support OLTP and BI workloads out of the box at a low cost of ownership relative to competitors. With increasing hardware innovations, Microsoft continues to be the only major database vendor who does not price per core for multi-core processors. In light of increasing hardware innovations, the per processor price of SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition is being increased by 25% and the per processor price of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition is being increased by 15% from the current pricing. Actual price increases and effective dates may vary by program and/or region per applicable policies.
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  • Chippy088
    Kccrosser has posted a question that I have been asking myself for a long time. This site is what it is. It, in my mind however, has degraded itself by offering 'incentives' to ask stupid questions, and get your mates to earn the points by answering them. Look through the questions and ask yourself this, what IT professional ask such basic and easily researched questions of a professional community like this one? I started answering questions on this site because I knew what it was like to try to get an answer to a problem many years before the internet was so diverse. Why should I bother to respond no? Surely not because I want to win some piece of sponsored hardware. Not at all. I am always willing to promote knowledge, but why degrade my years of training to promote non serious questions. purely to earn points, I don't think so. Looking at the new members who ask questions that a 2nd year IT student could answer makes me wonder if they are real questions, or they want a part of winning some new technology. Moderators, rethink your corporate strategies please, or all you will be doing is pandering to prospective 'winners' and the serious knowledge will leave you working overtime to decide which pathetic questions deserve publishing on the site. So maybe the big corporations do have there fingers in this pie too.
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  • Denwood
    I have to agree with the general observation that I have witnessed. Many of these questions are too obvious to even answer (wasting time) or they seem to have been written by some grammar school dropout. If these questions are really being asked by IT professionals, I would not want to work with them. I am in favor of eliminating the incentives so that we get true IT professionals helping each other for the sake of good IT knowledge exchange.
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  • ITKE
    Chippy and Kccrosser I appreciate the feedback. I have also added moderator functionality to your profiles. This will allow you to approve answers to any question on the site. I hope you will use it to fix any issues you see with current approved answers on the site. Thanks Sean
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  • Michael Morisy
    Hi all, Keeping the community active, growing, and IT focused are all very real challenges, and we really appreciate the feedback. Sean, Melanie and I all go through every question every day and try to weed out the "too obvious" questions, particularly if they look like homework or have been answered again, and again, and again. But we've been asked before not to be too vigorous, as CarlosDL previously noted: "Today, I saw 3 questions disappear, and none of them seemed to be a homework, a job posting or an advertising, and everything looked fine with the wording." If the wording seems off, remember that a lot of our members are not native English speakers. And we work to make sure that our incentives go to people asking and answering legitimate IT questions: If you look through the winners, I think they've all unquestionably provided value to the community. People who just go in and put in dozens of non-technical answers get blocked. If you do see particular questions that you consider taking away from the community, let me know: I can be reached at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com, on AIM at MMorisy or GChat at Morisy. We delete many questions every day that ask for help from everything from diseases to personal printers, but we try hard to make sure that legitimate IT folk get their questions answered. If you still feel that there isn't a good ratio of IT-to-non-IT, you're always more than welcome to invite your friends, too, to keep the invaders at bay.
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  • carlosdl
    I have to agree with the point that most questions from these chats are taken advantage of by Microsoft to promote their products, but I think these are real questions from the chats, yet answered in the Microsoft way. I participated in one of those chats some time ago, and the questions I asked were posted here textually. The problem is that, as Kccrosser pointed out, most answers don't include technical content. However, I don't see how points are related to this. I believe 'MicrosoftExpert' is just a handle used by ITKE staff to post the answers given by Microsoft people during the chat, and the points from those answers are not going to help anyone winning any contest (and as the questions are not posted for the community to answer them, they have an 'accepted answer' from the beginning).
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  • Kccrosser
    I wasn't really questioning the points or contest issues (although I see that my comment about "Accepted" does raise that issue). What I was questioning was the value of postings where the "answer" contained little or no technical content, but instead contained nothing but Microsoft marketing speak. I am interested in postings where someone asks an interesting technical question, and one or more of us posts a rational technical reply that actually provides a solution. Often, I find new information here that might help me in future projects.
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  • carlosdl
    I'm aware the original question had nothing to do with points. I mentioned them in the second half of my last comment just because of the point-related comments by Chippy.
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  • Michael Morisy
    @Kccrosser Users are always welcome to edit the answer wiki or add on their own answers. The questions are actual user questions, and directly to MSFT which I think should theoretically provide a benefit, but if they give lame answers (and they sometimes do), everyone wins if somebody puts in better answers. We try to do this very transparently: Since we don't have names for live chat participants, we post it with ITKE, which is the site account. "MicrosoftExpert" is the transcript answer of the Microsoft experts from the live chat, but there's been several times that MrDenny, for example, has given a better answer and had his answer approved over another users. Many users regularly ask for these transcripts, and this seemed like a natural way to provide them. If you have suggestions for how we can do this more transparently, please let me know. I definitely don't think there's any shilling going on: ITKE is posting real user questions, and MSFT is answering them directly in a disclosed account. Most questions mention that they are from a MSFT live chat, because the last thing we want to do is undermine the community. Again, if there's particular problems, get in touch with me directly and I'll do my best to resolve them.
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