o communities, where are thou?

ok. i installed/enabled the eastern asian language pack on my tabletpc. for some (unknown) reason however, i couldn’t enable chinese handwriting recognition. i was only given a choice of “de” (german), “de_ch” (german for swiss) and “en” (u.s. english). bummer.

so i asked ben who first pointed me to a tabletpc mvp’s blog (which appeared having been abandoned as it only featured a single, out-dated entry), then to microsoft.public.windows.tabletpc. the thing i actually was looking for was some kind of synchronous real-time peer support the way it is common in oss communities (almost every oss project provides irc channels for its devs and users). as it turned out, there doesn’t seem to exist any such thing (a central real-time meeting point for devs and users, like irc.freenode.net) in the ms-sphere.

now here comes my free consulting for microsoft: get synchronous community communication up and running. i know there are efforts in this direction (e.g. www.codezone.ch or www.codezone.de) – but this is not enough. don’t implement community building from top-down. it’s too much services-like, with all the disadvantages i bet you can imagine. instead just provide infrastructure (think of irc.microsoft.com) for user groups to build a sustainable community from “bottom-up” themselves. and heck, if it’s a matter of money, divert some hundred million marketing dollars to initial grass-roots, bottom-up community building efforts. users will thank you (and stockholders as well).

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