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Repetitive blog posts

Not sure why but lately there seem to be quite a few blogs that are:

- about the subject that have been already covered ad nauseum ("Download Excel spreadsheet from ABAP" aka "Yet another reinvention of ABAP2XLSX");

- hardly a remake of an existing blog posted just a few years ago, usually with the same exact steps and [poorly written] code examples.

Before someone accuses me of gatekeeping: I have nothing against blogs being posted on the same subject but they need to add at least something. Be it a better explanation, a personal story, a better example, etc. Anything.

As a reader, it is very frustrating to keep stumbling on the same, repetitive content. For example, earlier this year, we had a project involving SAP Gateway OData services. I had no knowledge of that whatsoever and hit the SCN blogs hard. (My bookmark collection includes about 3 pages of links from SCN alone, most of which were very helpful.) But quite quickly I've started having a deja vu. It seemed like I was reading the same blog over and over. Upon closer inspection, it wasn't the same blog but 3 people writing essentially the same thing. None of 3 blogs referenced each other, even though they were few months apart.

For anyone who uses Google search this causes a lot of time wasted and confusion added (at some point I started questioning my own sanity). At the same time, before posting a blog, it's very easy to check if anyone has written about this before. E.g. a new blog was posted today that I had to check for plagiarism because it looked exactly like what I've read before. It turned out to be not the exact copy-paste, however, when I googled just one keyword from the title, it found about a dozen blog-twins.

Considering that Community consists of both authors and readers, I feel this is not beneficial.

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19 Comments

  • Dec 18, 2019 at 06:45 AM

    Jelena Perfiljeva I am totally agree with you, I am really happy to not be alone in this feeling

    I wonder if it could be a good idea to create a hierarchy/structure we could used to link the existing blogs. It would be easier to find the blogs related to a subject & we could easily identify the duplicates.

    And when you create a new blog, and you try to link it in the hierarchy, you will see there is another version of the same subject

    The structure could be enhanced, extented with new subject.

    This is more or less what it is used in the transaction ABAPDocu & it is really usefull

    I like also the WikiPedia principle, you could have a subject splited in several part by several people. When you write a blog you did not want, or you did not have time to explain the whole subject. You just want to help people in a specific case. The problem with SCN, you don't know where to link your subject.

    Honestly I think Jelena Perfiljeva "put a stone in the pond" (french expression) (should be "setting the cat among the pigeons" in english), the blog part in SCN needs definitively more structure, more organisation.

    • Dec 18, 2019 at 07:24 AM

      We already have tags for that. But again it is on very high level like ABAP, UI5 etc.., Not sure if it is really a good idea to have hierarchy as we already have SAP Wiki for that..
      But it is a great idea for other readers to tag additional blogs or Questions to the blog in question and it can be show on the right side. again, we already have related blogs which are shown at the right side but they probably might be coming based on some query? which is not very reliable.. better option would be for the users to tag it manually like you said..

      • Dec 18, 2019 at 08:16 AM

        For me the tag has not the same prupose, it is to indicate the topic, the subjects .. The hierarchy like the Package in Abap part, is to structure the content.

        If I want to write a blog on this subject : "Abap Unit - Manage Database access with Mock principle"

        • Where I could link this blog ?
        • Did I have to detail all the concepts to help people understand this subject ?
        • How to be sure this blog has not been described somewhere ?
        • Dec 19, 2019 at 08:08 AM

          Still we can use Wiki or github like Sandra Rossi mentioned.. There are already some wiki pages maintained which has a list of blogs related to s4hana, fiori and stuff..

          But having preconditions like unique blog, maintaining structure etc., will only lead to more users leaving the community because of unnecessary complexity.

          But I still feel like some option should be available for us to add related blog links, which will come at the right side, this will solve many issues..

          • Dec 19, 2019 at 08:12 AM

            I am not an expert on blog / wiki / github .. I will wait for a good blog to understand how it could works ( and maybe how it would works) ;-)

    • Dec 18, 2019 at 08:49 AM

      Frederic Girod I often think that our efforts to answer, us volunteers, should be half spent to such a hierarchy/structure and then tell the OP the link to that resource (+ a little text to relate the question and the resource of course).

      Maybe a github project could be created to hold this hierarchy, so that it can be maintained by several people, and others can propose modifications. The links could be done through a wiki.

      Or via SCN wiki (I'm less enclined to use it because I find github more stable, but why not).

      If anyone is volunteer to do something like this, I would be happy to participate.

    • Dec 19, 2019 at 04:37 AM

      It would be nice if "related posts" area on the right could be somehow repurposed for this. Ideally, I'd prefer the duplicate content not to be created in the first place but when it happens for whatever reason I wish there was an easier way to link it to the "blog twins" than simply shouting in the comments "Simpsons did it!" :)

      You also bring up a good point: perhaps there should be some ways for people to contribute other than blogs and Q&A. I suspect some folks want to contribute but can't / won't do Q&A and then feel that writing a brand new blog is the only way they can add something. Making edits in Wiki, for example, could be just as helpful. But SCN kind of had a love-hate relationship with wiki so far, not sure where it's at right now,

    • Dec 26, 2019 at 08:32 PM

      If anyone is interested, I have created a github wiki named "Quality SAP Q&A" (little bit pretentious name-but it can be renamed if you have a better name) to serve as repository to all valuable questions and answers. It can be maintained by any people via this other "master" repository (the wiki pages are located in the code tab) which leads to a classic pull request. Upon approval (by me or any collaborator with a GitHub account which I authorize), the edited files are transferred to the wiki via a Travis script.

      If you have a GitHub account, please tell me so that I can add you as a "collaborator" so that your edits are automatically approved like mines.

      CAUTION: I and collaborators can edit the wiki pages directly, please don't, it should be always done via the master repository, so that to avoid merge conflicts.

      • Jan 08 at 02:03 PM

        Anyone interested to try it or discuss about it? I think that such a repository of "answers" can exist only if several persons, rather active in the forum, participate.

        • Jan 09 at 01:31 PM

          I'm checking it right now and... i'm not sure i understand how it works :)

          Example: i thought "Code of the smallest PDF" topic should be a child of "Code to display PDF" because otherwise the navigation become too messy.

          Or i'm not understanding it at all?

          hier.png (23.2 kB)
          • Jan 09 at 02:29 PM

            We can arrange the wiki pages exactly as we wish. A "child" doesn't mean much, I think the hierarchy of wiki articles in github is flat... not completely sure though.

          • Jan 09 at 02:48 PM

            Simone, may I add your github user as collaborator to my wiki so that you can change it as you wish? via private message

      • Jan 24 at 09:47 PM

        Sandra Rossi and Simone Milesi - if you want to popularize this, I'd suggest to create at least a separate CC post, otherwise it's lost among the comments (and the comments can't even be sorted by date, so it's hard to find what was posted recently :( ).

    • Jan 16 at 02:07 PM

      For information, Simone could update a wiki page in the github master repository, and I just did the first live example of a page created after one forum question: https://answers.sap.com/comments/12957215/view.html. This is the minimal ABAP code to implement the "Count" feature in an ALV grid inside a container with CL_GUI_ALV_GRID. Right now, it's unclear what is really required to implement the Count feature, but you can see the idea.

    • Jan 24 at 03:50 PM

      Here is another example with a very small code snippet added to the wiki to answer a very specific question (for now, contributors are Simone and I), to avoid repetition in the future (I hope). Any goodwill contributor is welcome (do a direct message to me so that I add you as a contributor).

  • Dec 18, 2019 at 10:57 PM

    Yes!

    A nice example: I tend not to bookmark much, because digging through my bookmarks takes longer than asking Google (*). But every time I search for the ABAP Cloud Trial announcement blog with all the info and reference links you could wish for, it always throws up this one as the first result which basically just repeats half the detail and adds no value: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/10/01/abap-on-cloud-trial-on-scp-set-up-info/

    (*) Actually I don't use Google as my first choice but it's more obvious than DuckDuckGo, but Google still throws up the same results.

    • Dec 19, 2019 at 04:40 AM

      Yeah, I'm not sure how exactly the search engines rank the results. Too many times the very useful and detailed blog was not even in top 5.

  • Jan 22 at 08:46 PM

    "Before someone accuses me of gatekeeping: I have nothing against blogs being posted on the same subject but they need to add at least something. Be it a better explanation, a personal story, a better example, etc. Anything."

    Sorry. The paradigm is now that all blogs will be published, regardless of merit. Back in the old days, I'd apply exactly the criteria you mention. I remember one blog about SELECT that I thought was great - complete, had personal insight etc.

    But those days are gone. No point in cavilling, because no-one with the power to deal with it cares.

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