Welcome to another edition of Interview with a Forum Ninja! This interview is a long time coming! Oh, and a correction to the blog title... Trevor is a former SharePoint MVP. Now they're called an "Office Services and Servers MVP"! Let's learn a bit more about...
That's enough! Let's get to the questions...
Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?
My name is Trevor Seward and I reside in Washington State with my wife and two kids. I work on SharePoint… a lot. I am a four-time Office Services and Servers MVP (formerly known as SharePoint MVP) and work for a consulting company, ZAACT, based out of Draper, Utah. I am part of the DevOps team, working on a variety of solutions for our customers in the Microsoft stack, both on-premises and Azure/Office 365. In my spare time, either I’m working on open source projects (
) or playing games including Guild Wars 2 (lots of World vs. World), Elite: Dangerous, The Witcher 3, and Divinity: Original Sin.
What are your big projects right now?
I’m currently working on a book! It is on the topic of SharePoint Server 2016 administration and architecture. Writing a book is a larger project than I thought it would be, but rewarding once you had in that final chapter and can clear your head for a few months while the book undergoes the various reviews. Being part of the overall SharePoint beta, including working as a vendor for a period of time supporting SharePoint 2016 in “production” has proved to be valuable when providing input on other people’s questions in the new SharePoint Server 2016 forum. There’s a lot to learn about SharePoint Server 2016, including some of the significant changes regarding MinRole and Profile Synchronization options, which we’re seeing a lot of questions on.
What Microsoft Forums do you participate in? What different roles do you play?
I primarily participate in five forums, of which I also moderate. These are the SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 forums named ‘General Discussions and Questions’, ‘Setup, Upgrade, Administration and Operations’ as well as the simply titled forum, ‘SharePoint Server 2016’.
In what other sites and communities do you contribute your technical knowledge?
I also participate and am a moderator of reddit.com/r/sharepoint where we currently have about 4,600 subscribers. In addition to reddit, I help out on SharePoint Stack Exchange, and where possible, the Twitter hashtag #SPHelp. The SharePoint community is incredible with many very talented people ready to help; always feel free to reach out!
What are your favorite forum threads you’ve contributed on?
The ones where we come to a good solution that the original poster is happy with! It is amazing to have an individual come back to answer more and more questions because you helped them once. It instills a certain amount of confidence in the support they can receive from the forums.
What could we do differently on MSDN and TechNet Forums?
I’m always hoping for a certain amount of improvement in the forums, to bring them into that ‘modern era’, where mobile is taken into consideration and modern features like notification of new posts or replies, similar to how StackExchange functions. Cross-browser compatibility with the input editor is something I’m hoping improves, for example, showing formatted text within Chrome when reading posts.
Do you have any comments for product groups about the MSDN and TechNet Forums that they moderate?
As a moderator, along with all other moderators, I have the ability to mark (or unmark!) any post as an answer to a question, but this is something I rarely do. As other’s can do, if I feel a particular post has answered the question, I will propose it as such and allow that original poster to mark it as a final answer. This is where I think the Microsoft moderators could improve – not every thread
an answer, but I often see that an post has been marked as an answer, even when it wasn’t an answer. This has been one of the heavier criticisms of the MSDN and TechNet forums, especially those used to the StackExchange format where
the asker can mark any one particular response as an answer.
Do you have any tips for people asking questions on MSDN/TechNet Forums?
Always be very thorough with your question. Provide as much detail as humanly possible, otherwise the response to your question will be more questions! As forum participants are essentially providing support “in the blind”, the more information at their fingertips, the faster your question can be resolved. If you need to post logs, make sure to clean them up of any sensitive information, which could include server names, usernames, or public IP addresses and host them outside of the forum, for example on OneDrive, gist.github.com, or PasteBin.com. These external services provide an interface and formatting that is much easier to read and review than the built-in forum software.
Please join me in thanking Trevor for his epic contributions to the Microsoft forums!
May the Forums be with you! (Don't be a rogue one!)
- Ninja Ed