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SCN question quality deteriorating?

Is it just me or has the quality of the SCN questions slightly deteriorated lately? I am asking becaue I very much like the SCN platform and set aside a bit of my time every day to help others, but lately I have been struggling with questions just one paragraph long that I do not even understand let alone answer. Might there be a way to improve this, e.g. by some minimum question standards?

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29 Comments

  • Jun 20, 2017 at 08:01 PM

    slightly.... It was already on the edge and did a huge step forward.

    It even looks like we are expected to cover the last 10 years in school

    • Jun 20, 2017 at 08:27 PM

      Hello Jürgen,

      I did not dare to be as blunt as yourself, but I fully agree with your assessment.

      Now, how can we improve the situation? Could we somehow guide the SCN questions better?

      Best regards

      Frank

      • Jun 20, 2017 at 08:30 PM

        I see sometime basic question and share the standard SAP Help link with OP suggest them to go through and come with specific query however I understand not in all the case this work.

      • Jun 20, 2017 at 11:34 PM

        I try this for years with personal messages and hidden comments, in some cases it works and in many cases it is fruitless. Unfortunately it is not known whether this is because of user or platform inability

        Look at all the questions, the first reply is usually asking for more details. If you get for 3 questions 3 times asked for more details then the 4th question should have those details right away. This is what I expect as learning from experience, but far from it.

        I explain people what the SAP Forum is and still they use this tag for next questions until the question gets rejected instead of re-tagged. All the polite pleasing to have the people retag the questions theirself does not cause any reaction. It seems to be more important to have the question dropped (no matter where) instead of getting an answer.

        What could we give the people to do better? We have plenty blogs, videos and help pages explaining it, but for this you must be willing to take the time and read it. This takes probably also 3 to 5 rejections, and even then it is for some easier to change their email address and to create a new account to continue with no effort.

        Auto-completion or word proposals like in your smartphone? could create some extra fun especially if such machine learning tool is taking the words from existing discussions.

        Webinar? If the announcement would be found by those who would need it? Uh shorry, we do not even have announcements yet.

        What if we had a question template or a kind of assistant to post questions?

        - Tell your problem. (dear Guru , I am a consultant for MM and I am new here - I click the avatar and see registered 2008)

        - If you have an error message, post the original error and its message number (here you lose already half as they do not know where to find the message number)

        - tell your release (you are asking the right one if he had already tagged his question with R/3)

        - Had you already contacted your local user support? (we are such a big organization with 100 subsidiaries around the world, I don't know the telephone number, do you have a contact for me? - I am not kidding this existed here)

        • Jun 21, 2017 at 05:30 AM

          If I remember correctly, in the old platform, if one started to create a post in SCN support, an additional text appeared at the top, explaining what SCN support is meant for and that all posts, which are not related to that, would be rejected. I cannot know how efficient this approach was, but maybe it is worth the try at least for the primary tags: it can't be that difficult to implement, and we have plenty of white space below the "Ask a Question" title.

          One of the reasons why I don't participate as much as I could (apart from struggling with the platform), is that I am not overly excited to encourage certain hiring and on-boarding practices.

          Your last paragraph made me laugh - the user clearly put a lot of faith in you: you have not only the superhuman ability to read subconscious thoughts, but also you can instantly search through all OP's e-mails and databases. Admit it - you wear a costume like Kiera's (from Continuum), right?

          • Jun 21, 2017 at 03:11 PM
            You would be surprised how well people could ignore this big, huuuuge, GIANT message when posting in SCN Support. It was sad, really.
        • Jun 22, 2017 at 05:41 PM

          The uptick in the user questions (exhibit A) seems to be rather recent though. I see them much more know than, say, 2 years ago. This could also a reflection of the real life situation in the business though. Decent local resources might be re-allocated to migration to HANA or some new projects. Meanwhile, the support role is shipped to a cheap outsourcing company. And apparently it's providing such splendid service that the users would rather jump out the window (aka post on global SCN website) than deal with them.

          If only some manager would realize that they get what they paid for and instead find a decent company to handle their SAP support, everyone would be better off - their own employees and SCN.

          • Jun 23, 2017 at 06:48 AM

            Sometimes I find it challenging (at least for functional topics) to figure out whether a question is posted by an end user or a support consultant is copy/pasting whatever appeared in the ticketing system.

            I suspect, that somewhere SAP Community might be marketed as a free-of-charge global support system and that some folks don't realize that (most) forum members are not mind-readers and have no access to the system, where the problem has occurred.

            I do not know what we can do about user questions, other than explaining patiently, that in nearly all cases, there is very little, that SAP Community members can do to help, due to lack of authorizations and insufficient information about the implemented solution.

        • Jun 27, 2017 at 08:10 AM

          I rarely give warnings, I comment (visible only to the poster and moderators) and then delete. The comment simply explains the rule broken - personally I believe that if the rejection message is too long, it will be ignored. I'm not rude, just direct. I do say "please". :-)

          I only warn where there has already been significant engagement in the thread that might be useful for others.

          Horst Keller's responses to brainfart (am I allowed to say that? - "exhibit's signs of excessive brain flatulence" doesn't seem quite pithy enough) questions do make me smile, and sometimes regret deleting the original message.

          Maybe we could have a delayed action delete.

          • Jun 27, 2017 at 08:43 AM

            That reminded me of something. Following Horst now... ^^

          • Jun 27, 2017 at 01:21 PM

            The best (or worst) ones could be moved to a Hall of Fame instead of deleting.... if I'm not mistaken there used to be such a thing in the old SDN, but don't have the link anymore and suppose that there is no tag "silly question"....

      • Jun 20, 2017 at 11:46 PM

        As I see it, this is one of the effects of losing high-quality contributors and community members.

        There's been more than a few who left SCN after the re-platforming began last year and the stubborn group of members, moderators or otherwise active ones that enjoy a professional's forum clearly is not enough to lead the majority here.

        There are loads of deleted questions, "drive-by" questions (where people register just to post a single question and never come back to it) and plain old "do my work for me" requests.

        Just having minimum standards never really worked (as you can tell since there are the Rules of Engagement that lay out how questions should be prepared) - these standards need to be lived by.

        Not sure how to "fix" that - turning away visitors because they basically litter the site with the low-quality postings is probably not in the interest of SCN management (read SAP marketing) for whom the platform likely is a mainly a way to get targeted access to (potential) customers.

        • Jun 21, 2017 at 05:30 AM

          How about a quality assurance process for questions similar to blogging, i.e. first questions always get reviewed prior to publishing and only questions from proven questioners get published automatically?

          • Jun 21, 2017 at 08:43 AM

            I believe this was there earlier (before tag world) where every question get reviewed by moderator. Jurgen can throw some light on this as I remember when I started contribution in LE space he helped me to get detail understanding about those feature.

            Not sure where the new platform also have some feature available where moderator can make those rule

          • Jun 21, 2017 at 09:12 PM

            There is a pre-moderation scheme in effect for new posters, both for questions and for blogs, but it's not completely clear to me how it works. It is doing something, because I get pre-moderation alerts in my queue on a regular basis, but on the other hand, like the rest of you, I see questions from accounts created the same day and with no history, so either they're finding a way around the pre-moderation, or there's a bug with it, or I simply don't understand the criteria. And, of course, once they "graduate" past pre-moderation, that doesn't really guarantee that they will behave properly.

        • Jun 21, 2017 at 10:29 AM
          As I see it, this is one of the effects of losing high-quality contributors and community members.

          There seems to be a focus on the part of the Customer Experience team on gaining new members, but it seems to me that the focus needs to be on having high quality engagement (which is very low and dropping). Questions were answered by talented and experienced members (aka Subject Matter Experts or SMEs) donating their time and knowledge to the betterment of SAP product users. We have plenty of new members every single day. And we lose said members every single day because many SMEs no longer participate or can't, not won't, but can't devote the vastly increased amount of time it now takes to respond to the same volume of requests as they could in the past. That also assumes that the questions are even posted with a correct tag so as to be found by the appropriately talented SMEs. (and don't get me started on the excessive and confusingly organized tags and lack of good navigation).

          The quality of the Questions has degraded for sure. Some of this is due to a lack of the Moderator monitoring capability from the now missing Track in Communications, some is due to poor or missing Moderator enforcement against FAQs, etc., and some is just pure (impure?) laziness on the part of the posters (this one will never go away, but we used to be better able to discourage it in the past). Many poor questions are slipping through without the screening tools we used to have. Many blog comments are also slipping through for that same reason. Hoping to see a clear plan shortly on how these issues and more will be addressed, but losing patience with those responsible.

          Transparency would also be a delight to see, but that looks much less likely despite a high level mandate. Transparency would also mean clear responsibility assignment. For some reason, that seems to be a very low priority. Wonder why?

          • Jun 27, 2017 at 08:14 AM

            I got questioned by a SAP-internal global moderator about why I'd deleted an "interview type" question. Her concern was that I'd be frightening off newbies. I explained - drawing on my experience of moderating here for more than 10 years.

            I go through my mod queue list - then go to the tag of my major subjects and try to spot questions since I last logged on.

            • Jun 27, 2017 at 11:56 AM

              Interview type questions have always been discouraged as far as I know. They do nothing to add to the collective store of knowledge and solutions which has been a major attraction to members all along. Generally the person asking for interview question answers has not bothered to do a Google search (which for virtually all topics turns up a wide selection of such). They also have not researched the topic by searching our archives. So mostly the poster falls into the "do my work for me" or "I'm just to busy to bother with searching" (i.e. I'm too lazy to find the answers myself).

              I do not understand what all the concern about keeping all the newbies coddled and bottle fed. Sorry, but some newbies we can happily and productively do without. Burping them is not our responsibility. If they make a reasonable effort, then they deserve some consideration and assistance. If they don't, let them go elsewhere.

  • Jun 21, 2017 at 11:39 AM

    We need better tools to moderate Questions. If the question is already published the only choices are Delete or Lock.
    So you add a hidden comment, but people who can't ask usually can't figure how to look at comment either....
    Messaging to them directly is cumbersome and exposes you as target for focused "how do I.." attacks.

    • Jun 21, 2017 at 12:05 PM

      Tried using Chat (messages.sap.com) to directly contact the posters, but gave up after the first half dozen or so never responded. Maybe it is time to run another experiment using Chat?

      When using hidden Comments, the poster often responds by repeating their question, sometimes with more detail instead of correcting the original question. Which is then also hidden from view. Sigh...

  • Jun 21, 2017 at 08:28 PM

    Sadly, I suspect this reflects the real life situation in the SAP world. When I just started over 10 years ago, there were more true professionals working with SAP. It was a well-paid respectable job. These days SAP jobs are outsourced to India where it seems like to get cheaper rates companies are just grabbing people from the streets. At least that's what I observe (don't have any stats to support this).

    Of course, there are still SAP professionals of high caliber out there in real life but they are simply not involved on SCN. At least one of the reasons is, as already pointed out, lack of "good company" for them on SCN. I asked several people at ASUG meeting and at TechEd if they're on SCN and all said that they sometimes search for answers or read something but their impression is that it's mostly marketing and basic questions. And they're kind of right.

  • Jun 23, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    Replying as a header-level comment to Manish Kumar's post due to missing reply option :)

    My assumption was based on a Linkedin search, which may or may not be accurate.

    Anyway, Google uses metadata and this is what I see in the main SAP community page:


    I did not know about this text when I wrote my comment, because I do not use web searches to find the page (in fact, I rarely visit it).

    In my opinion, the statement is misleading and really not a good practice.

    Still, if a company keeps so naive managers and employees and is too cheap to pay for proper support, it kind of deserves to get exactly the high quality of support as the money it invested. Don't be upset, they need time to learn what SAP post-implementation means in their own way.

    sapcomminityis.jpg (145.1 kB)
    • Jun 23, 2017 at 10:55 AM

      Shouldn't the content have an additionally " and learn about new ways to not get things done."?

      That's my primary learning experience here. YMMV.

    • Jun 23, 2017 at 11:02 AM

      I feel so guilty now. I probably rejected the new invented way of a future Einstein.

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