Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Sorry for the second rant posting today, but I'm so fed up with this. Microsoft started with a product feedback site when VS.NET 2005 was in beta, and it was received with great enthousiasm, me included. However, I currently have the feeling it's been abandoned, or has been 'evolved' into a site where people can log bugs but they'll almost never result in a bugfix.

Take for example this bug I filed back in december 2005: DataGridView doesn't refresh the columns correctly when changing DataMember value Microsoft responded: they're looking into the issue. Well, that was on December 23rd, 2005. The person who started looking into the bug apparently got fired or went on sabbatical, because since then, no response.

Incidental issue? I wished that was true, let's get to the bug I filed 2 days before the datagridview one: IDE crashes when I click the DataGridView Smarttag's Datasource combo box. Filed on December 21st, 2005. Microsoft promptly responded on the same day, they would look into it. But, I had the bad luck the same guy who would handle the other bug 2 days later would get assigned to this one. Since then, no response.

I post this, because I saw in the newsgroups a fellow MVP suggesting a developer to use the productfeedback site to file a bug there. Well, if you have a lot of patience, have fun there, but don't expect anything.

Published Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:27 AM by FransBouma
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Comments

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:09 AM by Daniel Moth
Please allow me to point out the obvious.

1. VS/FX was released last November.
2. You filed a bug 1 month after RTM
3. There have been no Service Packs or other releases since that time.

So your rant cannot possibly be about MS not listening. I can only conclude that your rant is about not having a SP 7 months after RTM.

(not denying your right to a rant about that, just wanted to be clear on what the rant is about :-))

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:25 AM by FransBouma
Daniel: you didn't read my post clearly. I haven't received any reply on my bugreports in over _6 months_. That's the point. You can file a bug report but they don't resolve in a quick fix + KB number. In short: I haven't had any bug I filed seen fixed and neither has anyone I know. They either end up in silence or 'by design' or get postponed to orcas or beyond.

Oh, and when I file a bug 1 DAY after RTM, I also expect someone to respond and fix it. Why is it acceptable I have to wait 6+ months for a reply? I don't want to wait 6+ months for a reply on an obvious, always reproducable crash/bug!

But it seems it's not in MS' interest to get these bugs fixed pronto and help customers out.

Oh, and don't get me started on 'call PSS'. I'm not a windows user without a clue, I'm a developer who can and has created repro-cases for the bugs at hand so I think I'm allowed to skip the gate-keepers at PSS.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 7:08 AM by Jannik Anker
Hi Frans,

I used Connect when I had installed the IE7 Beta and found some MCMS feature not working. I reported the behaviour, waited about a week and received a response stating that would look into it. A month or so later, I received a response stating that the bug had been fixed. And voila, in Beta 2 the problem was no more...

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 7:50 AM by Daniel Moth
So the issue is with not receiving a second reply.

I guess I am more focused on getting a fix in the next version rather than whether someone replies to my report or not (if they tell me it will or tell me it won't, it doesn't make any difference to me until it is released - but that's just me). The fact is that on a huge products like these, the queue is long. I had someone that kept updating my bug report to "In progress" and all I could think of was: "don't waste your time telling me it is still in the queue; just deal with it in the next version".

Either way, I can certainly respect your position. Thanks for clarifying.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:08 AM by FransBouma
Daniel: I can't understand you just don't want feedback that a bug is fixed. The two bugs I linked to are open! and they are open for 6 months already. That's an awful long time. I don't know now if it's fixed and I can call PSS to get it, or not. Probably not, so I don't want to waste my time with PSS on the phone.

But apparently you're a person who files a bug, and then simply thinks 'I filed, it's fixed in the next version'. Well, I'm not, as that assumption isn't true in most cases.

MS behavior in this is also rude towards people who even bother to take the time to write a repro case (which does take time), file a bug etc.

And I don't want to wait for a 'next' version as these are typically years away. I have problems to solve TODAY, so I expect a fix a.s.a.p.

And a long queue? Why? Because the product is huge? Isn't that a problem of MS? MS stands for the quality they want to deliver. It's nothing but normal to fix bugs a.s.a.p. so your customers don't have to deal with them anymore. However it appears to become more and more 'accepted' these days to simply sigh and move on because a bugfix won't be there until the next version arrives (hopefully).

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:06 AM by Andreas Håkansson
I'm with Frans on this one. Software that is used to a huge chunk of the software development market - to write the applications of tomorrow - you need a better support cycle then the current one.

Bug/Hotfixes should be given alot more attention and be released on a more regular basis. It sjust not acceptable to "wait for the next release" when you are dealing with this kind of tool.

If you ask people to help out, you need to give something back in return - fixes!

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:47 AM by Daniel Moth
Frans, as I said, I understand your point of view. All I stated was my *personal* point of view which you did summarise nicely "files a bug, and then simply thinks 'I filed, it's fixed in the next version'". Our mileage clearly varies as the bugs I filed have been fixed in the following version (which as established is fine by *me*).

I don't doubt that there must exist bugs that were filed and not fixed in the next version (that is just not my experience). I don't doubt that there are bugs that the customer can't wait and needs a fix now (again that is not my experience).

And that's pretty much the end of what I can contribute here I guess :-) I can say I am sorry you are having a different experience but I also know that doesn't help you in the slightest.

Out of curiocity, why don't you raise this through your MVP lead? That is what they are there for, for the lucky people identified as MVPs.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:54 AM by Andrey Skvortsov
Great post!Completly agree,sad situation-one way feedback has no meaning.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:40 AM by Eric
I've had good luck with reporting (suspected or actual) bugs through Product Feedback. I haven't reported anything critical, but of the bugs I have reported, the VS2k5 team took about a month to respond, the SQL2k5 team took only a few days, and the TFS team took less than a week.

My guess is that it's highly team-dependent. Getting a response depends on the bug getting triaged and the developer having time to get to it (which may not happen for some time if it's not a priority over other bugs). Six months with no response (not necessarily a fix, just "we're looking at it") is clearly too long, granted.

Have you tried looking to see if anyone else also reported it? It may be that it was reported again and that one was responded to, and the one you filed got lost in the shuffle.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 12:21 PM by FransBouma
"Out of curiocity, why don't you raise this through your MVP lead? That is what they are there for, for the lucky people identified as MVPs."
Well, for the people who don't have an MVP lead, it should work as well, so I shouldn't have to bother my MVP lead in the first place :)

Thanks for clarifying though Daniel, I now understand what you meant.

It's fine by me too if I get a feedback that it's fixed in some next version because of architectural changes. I mean, we're all developers, we all have to make these tough decisions once in a while. What's killing me is that some stuff doesn't work, you report it, nothing gets done.

I think Eric's right in this, it might be the team. What's sad is that when I reported the '{' crash bug of the VS.NET 2005 IDE 2 days before the official launch, right here on my blog, MS contacted me and assigned me an engineer to get it fixed pronto and Soma came to me personally at launchday to talk to me about what they could do to get things better communicated etc. to the developers.

What has changed after that is that no-one at MS seems to bother when a simple IDE crash bug exists now (one of the bugs I linked to above crashes the IDE, _always_) and whatever MS' intentions were at the start of VS.NET 2005's official lifecycle, nothing has changed when compared to the VS.NET 2003's situation.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:13 PM by Jack
  All I can say, Frans, is don't let them hire you. You're a prominent figure who's calling them on inconsistent behavior, so you'll probably get a job offer soon :)

  Keep pushing for reform, but don't take the Borg implants when they're offered.  Stay good.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:39 PM by Ruben
Heck, I've still got some bugs open posted during the Beta 1 cycle. Some were "Resolved". Right. Beta 2 didn't fix most, so I reopened them. Fixed post beta 2, I got on some. You'd think: great. In reality, the bugs were only partially fixed, so I re-reopened them. Apparently, that's a little too complicated, because since RTM I haven't seen a single reopened bug acknowledged. I'm not even talking about MS not fixing them, I'm talking about plain ignoring bug posts.

And don't get me started on the "we'll look into that" style of most responses. If you get such a response, your bug has just entered the feedback centre black hole. Do NOT expect any follow-ups.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:14 PM by David M. Kean
Can I just provide some insight into what could be happening here.

These is a currently a bug internally that the Connect team is looking at that prevents updates that we provide to certain types of bugs from our database, from being propagated back into the Connect database. This makes the bug still look active and open, when in fact it could be closed. During our MQ milestone at the start of the year, every open or postponed bug had to fixed or closed by the start of the new product cycle two months ago. So more than likely it either been fixed, by design, not reproduced or won't fixed.

Tomorrow I will look into it and check the status of it.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Friday, June 16, 2006 3:07 AM by FransBouma
Keen: thanks for the information. :) I can't believe the datagrid bug is postponed, as it's a stupid issue which bites users time after time, me included. It's even the case that in some situations you can't use design time databinding because of this!

The second bug is clearly an unhandled exception as it's only in the smart-tag (so using the menu item on the object itself, it doesn't crash). I then again ask myself why the debate?...

David: I wished MS would stop marking bugs as 'by design' as in a lot of cases it's IS an issue but MS doesn't want to or can't fix it. I think it's then best to say they can't or don't want to fix it instead of 'by design' as that looks pretty silly on a bug which is clearly an issue in the code.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 11:15 AM by Steve
Feedback is a good thing.

I agree, dont' ask for people to report bugs/feedback but then never post back to them.

I think it's 'use and abuse' situation.  'Help us out but we don't help you back' idea.

That being said - many times the issue is about getting to the right people.  I had an issue with VS 2005 and a guy on the asp.net team was very gracios and worked with me.  The fix to my bug was in a bug fixed released under a different title.  So, until I was told the bug fix was in that fix, I would have never have known.

I think the effort is there by MS to squash the bugs, but as you say, no response makes you feel like you just posted into a black hole.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:56 PM by Saurabh Pant (MSFT)
Hi Frans,
Sorry to hear that you had a frustating experience gettign feedback on your bugs submitted via ProduckFeedback.
I wanted to take this chance to re-itterate that we at MSFT take this bug feedback very seriously and each bug is looked at by the product team. We also make an conscious effort to provide the customer feedback on the status of their bugs ...

Unfortunately in you case the first bug (ID 114490) ran into some whack behjavior in our bug reporting system. We internally resolved it as a Duplicate of another bug and then postponed both bugs. We added comments addressing this, but for some reason they did not show up on the bug page. I have updated the comkments bug still dont see them being reflected. Am workign on figuring out why this didn't work ..

For issue ID 106160 we just seem to have dropped the ball ... Have updated the bug now.

Pleas do continue to provide us with your feedback , it is an invaluable to us ..

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:30 AM by FransBouma
Thanks Saurabh for your comments. I hope you and your team fix the problem with the feedback site soon as IMHO it's KEY that the poster of a bug gets feedback from Microsoft throughout the cycle of the bug.

I'll check back shortly to see if the feedback of the bugs is indeed updated. I truly hope they're not closed with 'By design' without an explanation why it won't be fixed.

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:45 AM by FransBouma
Saurabh: I saw the issue 106160 is 'by design'. That's impossible, it's an issue which crashes the IDE! How can that be by design? There's an explanation mentioned but it makes no sense, as I am developing a control WITH VS.NET and therefore WILL run into bugs in my control when I'm testing it and when the IDE then dies because of an exception, it's not 'by design', it can't be, as the IDE should have caught EVERY exception and should have wrapped it and displayed it to me WITH stacktrace. After all, the smarttag items and the context menu items are the SAME, though when I use the context menu items it won't crash the IDE, it will give me the exception message (also not a stacktrace so it's rather useless as well, but it's better than crashing the IDE).

# re: Microsoft ProductFeedback... why bother?

Friday, July 14, 2006 2:18 AM by Jens Samson
And then there was silence once again. Words, words everywhere, but not a thing to tell... Maybe in another year they'll come with SP1 for VS 2002 ...