MSDN Connection - turn goals into points
I browsed Msdn Connection today and noticed that there is now a mention of the "points" which you can collect within the program.
Stop and consider what Msdn Connection is all about: "Msdn Connection is about bringing developers together..." and "meet and participate with their peers". That got me to thinking about some of the developer communities which I've been a part of in the past half-dozen years i.e.: Asp.net forums, weblogs.asp.net Blogging community as well as local user groups in both Adelaide and Brisbane.
When I think about these communities I can easily think of members within them who had high profiles: Roy Osherove (weblogs.asp.net), Greg Low (Brisbane user group), Colt Kwong (www.asp.net) and Steve Smith ( online developer communities ). (This is obviously a very brief listing of high profile members but, you get the idea.)
Each of these people share some common attributes which combine to form a sort of "reputation" which new and existing members of that community come to rely upon; that is they are 1) quite active, 2) pretty regular, 3) regularly provide access to "good" information.
As a result ( or maybe even a side-effect ) of these attributes, these guys tend to rack up large numbers of "points". As it stands today Colt has 5,500 posts on the forums as well as 160-odd posts in his blog, Roy has over 1,000 weblog postings and Greg and Steve are equally as active and accessible amongst online and offline developer communities.
As an information worker, I tend to rely on these guys to farm a lot of my information for me because I know that they are active and diverse enough to keep me well informed without me having to do all of the hard work myself.
Now, think ahead to the points in the Msdn Connection program. We know that points will most likely be accumulated based upon participation - such as user group attendance, local events, online participation etc. so, you can see that, the points could become a great barometer for attracting new and aspiring members to a community by recognizing and promoting community leaders who are accessible. Contrast this with what we have today where many fringe developers tend to drift in search of a way to make contact with local communities.
I think that, as the program progresses the points system will be another useful tool for new and existing folk in guaging the activity of its members.