Experts Exchange

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My favorite TLA of the month is MVE!

Huh what, MVE, don’t you mean MVP?

Ha, that’s what everyone familiar with Microsoft’s MVP program may think but no, I really mean MVE.

Please allow me to elaborate a little.

It all started the 11th of January when I received an email titled “You have been nominated for an MVE Award”, sent by Experts Exchange.

The first lines of the email read: “Congratulations! You have been selected as a candidate for the inaugural Experts Exchange Most Valuable Expert of the Year Award.”

This was surely a surprise for me, to be honest I hadn’t even heard that such an award existed.  And wow, Most Valuable Expert of the Year, darn, didn’t see that one coming!

About a week later, an explanation on what those awards actually are was published on EE’s Company blog. Here’s a small excerpt:

The Most Valuable Experts are very much the heroes of Experts Exchange who quietly achieve greatness. They strive to solve people’s technology problems, improve others appreciation of technology and make a real difference among those whom ask for help. They do so with a professionalism and commitment that makes them stand out in the community.

Then on the 3rd of February, I received another email, titled “You are a 2012 MVE Award Winner”.

First lines: “Congratulations! You are amongst an elite group chosen to represent Experts Exchange in 2012 as a Most Valuable Expert.”

Wow, so I even managed to win that award!  With the huge number of active experts at EE, over 50.000, I was really curious to find out how many of my peers had gotten it as well.

Some more days went by and finally all winners were announced in EE’s Company blog.  So it seems there are 12 experts worldwide who can be proud to call themselves winner of the Most Valuable Experts Awards 2012!

A couple of the names were new to me, especially the experts in non-SQL Server territory, while others, such as Kevin Cross, were very familiar.

Congrats to all winners, and a huge thank you to anyone involved in the election process!  I’ll do my best to keep it up! Smile

And remember: have fun!



What are the Most Valuable Expert Awards 2012?

Meet the 2012 Most Valuable Experts


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Since a while now, about two months and a bit to be exact, I’ve been publishing some of my articles on Experts Exchange.  It all started when their Content Coordinator found my blog and convinced me to start doing that, thanks for that Jenn (aka jennhp)!

In total I have now six articles published and four of them are EE Approved.  What does that mean?

EE-Approved is a designation awarded by the Page Editors to show that your Article is of superior quality: either it discusses something new, or provides a unique and original solution to a particularly interesting problem. If your article is selected as EE-Approved, you will receive 1,500 points.

When I published my first article back in September, getting an article EE Approved earned me 1,500 additional points on top of the 500 for getting it published.  This was recently changed to 4,000.  Which I really appreciate and I think was needed to make this a success.  When comparing the effort that goes into writing a good article with the effort to decently answer a 500 points question I think it is still not comparable.  A question can earn me 2,000 points (when the answer gets A-graded, most of my answers do) in just a couple of minutes – which doesn’t mean that all questions are solved this easily,  believe me.  But an article always takes several hours to write and publish.  Just to give you an idea: for my last article it took me one hour just to get it converted from my version in Live Writer to the tagged format expected by the “Write a new article” feature.  But then again, the minimum length requirements for an article is 300 words while my last article counted close to 2,500 words.

What should I conclude from the above paragraph?  That I should learn to make my articles shorter?  Or that Article Points and Expert Points received by answering questions are not comparable?  Well, probably both.  What I should learn is to split articles up when possible, but I will still keep mentioning the necessary details which in my opinion increases the quality indicator :-)

Anyway, it seems that I’ve been doing a good job because this is what the situation looked like on November 23, 2009.  Following screenshots were taken while filtering on Microsoft articles.

Five articles in Microsoft top 10

Not only did my articles control the Top 3 of most popular Microsoft articles,  they were also at position nine and ten, so in total I had five of my articles in the Top 10.

(The filter on Microsoft articles is highlighted in green btw.)

Highlighted on the left you can see one of my articles being featured.  This is a result of it being EE Approved.

As the next two screenshots show, it wasn’t the only one.

One of my EE Approved articles featured at Experts Exchange

And here’s number three:

My "Pie Chart Techniques" article feature at Experts Exchange

On that same page we can also see the Top 25 of Microsoft Contributors.  I was at position 7 with almost 15,000 points.  (Today I am at position 6, with about 20,000 points.)

Me at position 7 in the Top 25 of Microsoft article writers

So, why am I doing this?  Let’s see, I have several reasons:

  • I hope people will find them useful, which means I have been able to teach them something
  • It helps to improve my writing skills
  • It encourages me to explore details about certain topics that I wouldn’t need to explore otherwise
  • It brings me into contact with interesting people
  • I found out that writing can actually be a fun thing to do!
  • Points == T-shirts :-)

Right, so I started this post by thanking someone, let’s finish it the way it started.

I’d like to thank mark_wills for his enthusiasm and support.  He’s the Page Editor that has reviewed my articles and selected several for the EE Approved status (in cooperation with mwvisa1 I believe).  Just to make sure I haven’t missed anyone, I’d like to say thanks to all Page Editors that have approved my articles!

If you’d like to have a look at the articles, they are mentioned in my profile at Experts Exchange.  While you’re at it, if you like them I wouldn’t mind if you clicked that little YES button :-)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some articles to write.  (In an attempt to control the Top 5 – erm, yeah right – just kidding of course.)

Happy reading!



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Some months ago I decided to start helping people on Experts Exchange by subscribing myself as an Expert and answering questions when I have some spare time.  I have several motives for this, such as:

  • it helps me to think about technology
  • it’s interesting to read other people’s opinion on a topic of interest
  • I like looking for a solution to a specific problem, to learn and at the same time help someone else
  • it gives a good idea of what technology other people are working with nowadays
  • Free shirts!

Subscribing as an Expert is free and gives you a Limited Member account.

Answering questions gives you Expert Points.  The maximum amount of Expert Points that one can score on a question is 2,000.

Earning a total of 10,000 Expert Points and maintaining a monthly score of 3,000 Expert Points gives you access to Premium Services, for free.  Your account status gets upgraded from Limited Member to Qualified Expert.  One of the interesting parts of Premium Services is that you get Unlimited Question Points (i.e. the points that you need to ask a question yourself).

Expert Points are scored in the zone where the question was asked (max. 3 zones per question).  My focus is currently on all SQL Server related zones.  The first rank that can be earned is Master and you can get it by scoring 50,000 Expert Points in a zone.

About a week ago I earned my first rank, Master in MS SQL Server.

Profile of ValentinoV on Experts Exchange

Currently I have scored a total of 66,604 Expert Points and I have gained these by answering 53 questions.

Answer History

As the screenshot above shows, on Experts Exchange I am known as ValentinoV.  See my profile for up-to-date info.

Gaining a rank gives you the ability to generate an email signature:

Email Signature

Another feature is to generate a certificate with your ranks:


Clicking the Create Certificate button will generate a PDF file such as this one.

And finally, you get a free shirt which specifies your rank on the sleeve.  Looking forward to receiving it.

Free shirt

As you see, it earns to be an Expert. :-)


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