As many of you know, we're gearing up to launch our new Community Server 2008 platform that will integrate blogs, forums and wikis, and introduce groups and the ability to rate our blogs and other content on our Community site. In the days leading up to the November 7 launch, I wanted to use the blog to communicate some background about what you can expect. 

From a blog perspective, there's two main enhancements coming your way:

  • A user registration process
  • A Dell blog aggregator page

A user registration process is something for Dell blogs that's been long overdue in my opinion. Yes, it is an extra step when you first create an account and sign in for the first time, but registration will allow us to publish comments automatically as you submit them. Folks like jervis961 and many others have rightfully said that comment moderation (us reading every comment before it goes live) kills conversation among our users. I couldn't agree more, and am glad to finally be able to join the Dell Community Forum (DCF) and IdeaStorm on the comment front. Once you set up an account and log in, you will be able to comment on any official Dell blog, start a new thread in DCF or comment in an existing one, or contribute to a conversation in a Dell wiki.

The other reason we are implementing user registration is to facilitate the support process. It doesn't take long to figure out that many customers come to the blog seeking customer service or technical support. As a user, you will be able to update your profile with system-specific information like your service tag, which should expedite the support process. You will also be able to see all your comments that you've posted after registration, regardless of what blog posts they originally appear in.

Here's how the registration process will work. On the new site, you will see a banner like this near the top of your screen on any part of the Dell Community site:

user registration

If you already have a DCF account, you can login with the same user name and password that you currently use. If you are not a member, you can enter a User Name and click on the Register button. Since the database cross checks against current DCF user accounts, some user names will already be taken. Once you're done, you can login and check the box to log you in automatically, so you won't have to login every time.

The Dell blog aggregator page is a response to another common customer complaint—that blog content is hard to find since we have so many official Dell blogs. The blog aggregator page will show excerpts of blog posts as they are published, and it will show what blog that post appeared in. You can either click on the blog post title to see the full post or click on the blog name to go directly to the blog page where the post was published. Ultimately, since it centralizes Dell blog content in one place, it should make it easier to keep up with as many posts as you choose.

Pretty soon after we launch, we're also going to streamline our blog categories across our blog properties. A common complaint from Direct2Dell readers is that on several blogs, we either have too many categories or the names of the categories do not clearly communicate the type of content to expect.  You can discuss the changes to our Community site on this forum board during our migration.