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author's profile photo V.X. Lozano

It's not my search engine's fault...

...it's the way we keep outdated (and even wrong) information available.

Let me explain: you are looking for an answer to a specific SAP problem. The engine shows you thousands of answers, and you click the one with the most revelant subject.

Then you've redirected to a post with:

  • original question
  • wrong answer
  • a reply from the OP saying "no worry, I solved it by myself, points awarded"

I've been there today, and my first thought has been "report to mod and let them delete it", but I fear this shall lead to a collapse in the moderation department.

So, how can we get rid of all those million posts that are just and plainly wrong?

Points will be awarded.

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20 Comments

  • Jul 09, 2020 at 03:39 PM

    Downvote the question or the answer ?

    Downvoted posts may alert you on their pertinence.

    • Jul 09, 2020 at 03:43 PM

      They will still there. You can downvote any question as many times as you want, and I'm pretty sure the question will still "alive".

      And, btw, how to downvote a post from 2007?

      Edit: and I think the votes don't appear in the search engines :(

  • Jul 09, 2020 at 05:55 PM

    Sorry, but do you really think that it will be possible to type your question and get a real correct answer on the top of the list for free????

    Then you will loose your job :)

  • Jul 09, 2020 at 07:03 PM

    For me a bigger annoyance is that after the old questions were migrated from the archive, there is always somebody who decides to post an update (usually in response to former member): "How did you solve?"

    As a result, when I use the search expression like age: 2y, it will show in the list and sometimes I will not notice that this is an old discussion.

    Just yesterday I spent quite some time trying to get a certain feature to work until I realized that I was using an obsolete transaction :(

    You can see the number of votes on a question in the search result (if you use the new site search), but it does not seem fair to down-vote what may have been a meaningful question at a specific time just because somebody decides to post garbage 10 years later.

    Probably not all old questions are with poor quality, but it seems that the new updates to them do not add much value.

    I am not sure that moderators are allowed to delete content just because of low quality anymore (it does not happen with new questions, why would they do this for old ones). Even if they agree to delete a wrong answer, the date of this update will make the question appear as new. If you decide to post a comment or an answer saying "don't do this anymore, it is wrong", again, this will reset the age of the question.

    • Jul 10, 2020 at 11:47 AM

      Maybe there should be an automatic closure of old topics introduced? If the topic is not marked as answered and it's older than, lets say, a year, it should not be possible to reply to the topic anymore. Even if we know the correct answer/solution the person that asked the question does not need our solution anymore. And if someone else has the same issue, one can create a new, up-to-date question.

      It's quite annoying when older subjects are brought to the top of the forum's threads list, even though the new comments do not add any new value to them.

      Same thing with a "Please mark the proper answer or close the question" type of comments

      • Jul 11, 2020 at 11:27 AM

        It would be good to have such auto-closing feature, but for some reason the implementation team does not seem interested in developing it. I understand, it can be difficult to set a time frame that fits in all scenarios, but IMO 6 months should suffice, even if the OP is dealing with support message ping-pong.

        Or they could restrict posting to threads older than X months unless the user is the OP, a moderator or a user with more than a certain number of karma points. In most cases users who post updates to really old threads are inexperienced, or some are just bots, which is why so many new updates to old questions are annoying and not useful.

    • Aug 20, 2020 at 01:49 PM

      The community has requested this over and over again...and over again... to lock down posts that are over a certain age. I just reported some posts that some newbie "answered" about ten different posts (not even sure why, as several were answered with marked correct answers). They ALL were 3-10 year old posts! Why? Just why?

      And sometimes spammers and others post against them just to try and get clicks to either themselves or some other web page.

      But for some reason, this issue is either ignored over and over again by SAP or they have some behind the scenes reason for not doing this. Craig Cmehil - any chance you can shed some light on why we can't have old posts locked down? I mean like the posts with no activity in like 3 years or more? It's been requested multiple times by multiple people over numerous years. It would have saved me and the moderator from dealing with the above user. i usually report several of these every year and I would expect I'm not the only one. It's a waste of time that shouldn't have to happen.

      • Aug 20, 2020 at 02:28 PM

        I can understand the confusion on this one. The decision with the archive was a simple one - we had a lot of requests for it and a lot of content that was still relevant, current and not answered. Moving it all back was the only way to easily address all of that.

        Now that it is all back we also implemented the "up vote" answers and the team has been going through and accepting on behalf of the OP if they reach a certain number of "up votes".

        The next phase will be to close those that have an "accepted answer" and having given the OP a chance to reject our action will be to begin closing them and we will roll that out in phases from oldest to newest.

        We are working on a few items that is delaying the action, like to disable notifications and activity stream when we do bulk actions but things are moving forward.

        So "no" there is no reason we are not locking older posts that are already answered and dealt with other than not wanting to overload activity streams and notifications without being able to disable that first. If the everyone would help with the up voting more then we'd be able to process bigger batches all at once when things are ready to proceed.

        • Aug 20, 2020 at 03:36 PM

          Thanks for the update Craig! I appreciate that.

          I'm a bit confused on the up voting. It sounds like you expect an upvote on an answer in every post? That won't happen. And it surely won't happen on the older posts that are like a decade old. And we don't want to upvote any of them anyway as won't that just dump it into the activity stream?

          Isn't there a way to just turn off the activity stream and than just lock all posts over three years? Why do they need an upvote? Then turn the activity stream on afterwards? i didn't think locking posts showed up in the activity stream.

          • Aug 20, 2020 at 03:40 PM

            No we are not expecting an upvote on every question but as people find and read it will help. A post with an accepted answer is easier to identify and close, hence the option there. Can we blanket close no, unfortunately not.

            • Aug 20, 2020 at 08:14 PM

              Yes.. that's the issue. being able to find a way to blanket close. And I don't know if there is a difference for closed vs. locked or if they are the same.

              I would think that once a question has 3 or 4 years of total inactivity, it could be locked from additional activity. Maybe not marked as closed or answered, just plain locked. Leave it out there but if someone really wanted to resurrect it again, they could ask a mod to unlock it.

  • Jul 10, 2020 at 11:55 AM

    I don't think removing questions which have not been answered is a good solution. This way we lose some information, for example if some particular issue is frequent or not. If it's frequent, maybe it's a good reason to create a blog post with a solution (if one has it).

    However, I do agree that there is a lot of threads which do not give real value when looking for an answer. Here comes the voting system, which I think could be used within the search engine to present the up-voted threads first and the down-voted last. Also, the solved questions should have a higher priority than the ones which do not have an answer marked as solution.

  • Jul 10, 2020 at 12:37 PM

    I struggle to overcome this issue all the time. I use a search application where I can get all the data for a month.

    Perhaps they should be labeled at least going forward. The label could be the version of SAP they are on. Because there are "old" answers out there that will work for their question. There are "new" answers out there that they can't use.

    I think that some of the WIKIs that are set up is a nice compromise. They have links to the different answers/blogs for a certain "thing". The thing could be something like BRP+. Then all the blogs/questions are gathered. It would be up to the person who is writing the blog/question to update the WIKI.

    Will they? Probably not. But if you or I were searching for something and found it. We could suggest updating the WIKI. No one person could do it. We may get some answers that are wrong. If that happens and I can't use it, I'd delete it out of the WIKI. Even if a small amount of people did this, it would give us a start without the huge project of getting rid of the "old" things or a different project looking at each post to see if it can be used. I think either one of these would be hard to use.

    The WIKI name could be listed in the tags for blogs.

    Just a morning without coffee thought. Make it something we could slowly do. The start of any of this is to have people add the sap version in their posts. That doesn't seem like a huge step. It is an option we already have in the community. We could just try to get a wide spread knowledge of how we would like the tags, and why. I think people who search would love that idea.

    Yes, eventually we could ask for a drop down that is mandatory. But that would be a request to the overworked team that is doing improvements to this site. We could do that too.

    Just some early morning thoughts.

  • Jul 19, 2020 at 05:37 AM

    We can't get rid of the old and wrong posts. There was a chance to do that in the last migration in 2016 and I thought that moving the old posts into archive, while painful in the short term, would've been beneficial in the long term. But someone decided to bring all the archive back to life, so here we go.

    You can downvote, as others suggested (even old answers can be downvoted) but that doesn't make much difference in the search results, in my experience.

    Content is no longer moderated for quality, so don't bother with the moderator alerts.

    Google is pretty good at sifting through most of the old junk though. If you don't find a result on the first page then try adjusting the keywords or using advanced search.

  • Aug 17, 2020 at 01:31 PM

    I have solved this myself. Points awarded.

  • Aug 18, 2020 at 04:46 PM

    I actually like it. I can down vote the **ç*"%*s who say "please reward".

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