I’m happy to say that (minutes ago) Microsoft announced a new award called the Microsoft Community Contributor Award that will recognize individuals who make value contributions to the online Microsoft community.
“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.”
This is a very different award than the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) which recognizes people who have focused on specific technologies and are contributing to the community via conferences, blog posts, webinars, etc. Although MVPs also may contribute to forums, there are plenty of people out there doing good work in the forum who aren’t necessarily able to do things like attend conferences around the world.
“Through the Microsoft® Community Contributor Award, we express our thanks to individuals who freely volunteer their time and energy to help improve the Microsoft online technical community experience for others.”
I think this is a great idea as there are a group of hardcore contributors out there that keep forums such as TechNet and MSDN relevant. Without their voluntary efforts, the forums would have a difficult time keeping up with the vast volume and broad range of questions that are submitted.
For more information, refer to the Microsoft Community Contributor Award FAQ.