09 June 2011

Dynamics GP - Learn & Discuss: Microsoft KB Articles - Is it really confidential?

Vaidy digs into Microsoft KB articles and asks “Is it really confidential?
I’m glad Vaidy brought this up, I’ve had the same types of questions come up and I generally agree with Vaidy’s stance. If something is in the wild any way (some has blogged on it, written an article, etc) or if I’ve solved something without a KB and then found the KB later, I’ll blog about something with a link to the Knowledge Base article. If the KB gave me the answer, I’ll point to it instead of spelling it out.
Here is the problem from my point of view:
  • Microsoft probably marks way too many items as confidential
  • Searching the KB is still very bad so we want to help folks with issues and when we see a solution we want to share and promote a solution. Heaven knows we’ll probably never find that KB again.
  • But Microsoft makes money of CustomerSource and PartnerSource and the fact that access is behind a password. If you don’t pay for enhancement/support, you don’t get CustomerSource.
I’m not knocking Microsoft for that, they have a right to charge for access to support and these articles are definitely support related. I’ve had people ask for items and when I point them to the KB they tell me that they’re not on a support plan and don’t have access to CustomerSource. Unfortunately, the answer is tough luck. Even in my book there are a few cases where I point to the KB to go beyond the book.
As partners of both our clients and Microsoft we sometimes have to walk a fine line here. There is certainly nothing wrong with pointing someone to a KB. Nor is there anything wrong with pointing someone to a non-kb resource that answers their questions. However, I wonder about folks who reproduce wholesale KB’s for public consumption. Then again, there are partners out there who have taken my 50 tips content, ripped of the I.B.I.S. name and presented it as their own. There are also people who steal my book and try to offer it for free so I’m not sure why I’m surprised at a little CustomerSouce scraping.