Microsoft has recently made a significant investment in moving their peer to peer support network from traditional NNTP newsgroups to new web based forums such as Microsoft Answers, MSDN and TechNet.

In an effort to recognize the contributions of individuals in those forums who provide their expertise to help others learn how to more effectively employ various Microsoft technologies they created the Community Contributor Award.

The Microsoft Community Contributor Award seeks to recognize notable contributions to Microsoft online community forums such as TechNet, MSDN and Answers. The value of these resources is greatly enhanced by participants who voluntarily contribute their time and energy to improve the online community experience for others. Each day around the world, Microsoft Community Contributor Award recipients contribute to Microsoft online technical communities in a range of ways, including providing helpful answers, translating online resources into local languages and serving as moderators.

They key aspect of this award is to recognize and identify those individuals that have a broad impact in these online communities.  To me that means more than just volume and number of replies.  The assistance should be accurate, appropriate and improve the overall understanding of the community on these technologies.

The web based forums network that Microsoft has created will be a huge resource of information as others come online in the future looking for that same level of support and answers to their challenges.  The Microsoft Community Contributor Awardees will be those individuals who bring commitment and information to the forums.

This program is just at the starting stages so the initial roll out of the award process is limited but will expand over the coming months.  If someone is selected for this recognition they will receive an award certificate and free access to a online technical resource from Microsoft to help them further their own learning that they can in turn put back into the forums helping others.

I have seen many passionate contributors in the Microsoft forums helping others because they enjoy doing that.  This award will be a great way to recognize those efforts.  Who knows it could also help out on a resume to list that you have been recognized by Microsoft for your technical knowledge and contributions as you apply for a position with a company.

What do you think of this new awards program from Microsoft?