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Microsoft's tech site contributors to get rewarded

Joining Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional program is a new annual award aimed at recognizing the people who spend time contributing time and content to the company's community sites.

A community contribution award from Microsoft

As a way of saying thank you, Microsoft has launched a new awards program for standout users of its forums and technical sites.

The new program, dubbed the "Community Contributor Award," aims to distinguish users who have put extra effort into the company's online communities at MSDN, TechNet, and Microsoft Answers--three sites that are frequented by some 4 million active users.

According to the program's frequently asked questions section, the award can be given to just about anyone, including to those who have created new content for these sites, all the way to moderators who keep an eye out for junk posts and trolls.

There is no public voting or nominations to get someone considered for a Community Contributor award. Instead, they are being given to people who have been selected by Microsoft.

The program is separate from Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award, which works with nominations and focuses on knowledge and contributions, but is aimed at tech experts. Also unlike the MVP program, Community Contributors are based on the past six months of activity on these sites, unlike MVP's 12. Microsoft famously made plans to cancel its MVP program in 1999 before reversing that decision just a few days later. It now includes some 4,000 members around the world.

Those who get the award hold the title for a year, as well as receive a 12-month subscription to Microsoft Press' E-Reference Library, which gives them access to 400 books from Microsoft Press. Microsoft is also offering up a printable certificate they can hang up in their office (or cube), along with an awards logo that they'll be able to stick in their user profile.

Microsoft says the first group of award winners will be announced next week, with additional winners each month from here on out.