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Viewers vs. questions vs. experts.

I know I'm kind of in a niche area but the lack of traffic is really getting depressing.

A question posted 3 days ago only has 25 views. And roughly, about 3 of those are my views and I'm sure at least one view belongs to the OP.

One posted about 24 hrs ago has only 11 views today. and again 3-5 of those views belong to me and the OP.

That's very depressing. We really won't be able to function without more people reading and answering the questions. I'm very experienced in my area and have 20 yrs in SAP. But QM is used across so many types of businesses and in so many ways, it's impossible to have one person that knows the answers to every question.

There must be some metrics available some where on the critical mass of "experts" required to support a technical forum with x amount of traffic. If not, it would be a great area of study for someone. I know its somewhat subjective and dependent on the knowledge/experience of the experts. But it would be interesting to know.

I'm wondering if other experts see a similar problem in their areas?

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10 Comments

  • Aug 17, 2017 at 02:46 PM

    To my tests is my view just counted once, no matter how often I open a question, when I am logged in.

    If I use a different browser and open the question anonymous then I see an increase of views.

    I think we have to wait until the UI got redesigned to see a betterment.

    We just do not have this easy point of entry. And your QM questions are distributed all over. Many do not choose PLM Quality Management (QM) because they do not know what PLM in the beginning means. So they are posting with other tags like SAP Data Quality Management

    and there are 16 in total which have the word "Quality" in its name, not to forget those that are posted under ERP or R/3, PP and MM....

    Whatever I find gets moved to QM.

    But you know, asking a question is easier than answering, because for asking you only need to assign a tag. For answering you first need to find the question. And before finding the questions you need to find your area of interest (and have to follow it to find its content easier at the next visit)

    And if you do that via the Community menu > browse community (which has to be found first, as a stranger might probably go to Questions and answers from the menu) then you get the popular tags first. You realized it yourself, your QM is not popular, so the user would even need to switch to the All content tab.

    Whats next there. The user can enter "Quality" in the search bar and the system positions at the first hit which is slightly fatter than the text next to it. You have no idea that you would need to scroll from here and be very attentive to find all other.

    I personally prefer Ctrl.+F to search in a page, for Quality I get 15 hits, but then with each click I don't get anything because the information is in hidden sections of the page. The user has to open those sections to find an entry.

    And if you click the tag name then you are taken to this sloooooooow Topic page with the follow button in light gray.

    And here you neither see right away what a question and what a blog is, nor do you know if the question has already answers.

    From here it is still far to go to get to a page which looks more like a forum to which we were used in the past: https://answers.sap.com/tags/484135010855456218597016630642366

    I am not sure if many users have found this page and use it as landing page. And still they would need to do it for a few more tags to get all the stuff together that was posted last year in QM.

    This means the users who want to answer really need to spend a lot time to get used to the current UI and to find their way to the things they are interested in.

    If you look into my profile you see that I moderate 29 tags, which is with a few exceptions mainly what I had in 3 spaces previously.

    I still do not follow the SD and ABAP otherwise my activities were unmanageable. But when I have some time and want see the questions in these areas, then I really have to go this long way (or I need to use browser favorites )

    I know that the community team is aware of this tragedy and already working to make it better, we can just hope that they understood how we want it to be.

    I know that there were more people answering questions in QM as I followed it in past. There were also many more in MM which are not around anymore. The top 10 from the past were more or less regular users, I am not sure if you could even get 10 together now after 10 months with QM.

    I got for all kind of niche areas (partly just a single transaction) a tag. New tags are not introduced, they just appear and can be used for questions. How shall an expert know about it? How would an expert find a question under a new tag? Only by chance, maybe because of a secondary tag, that is how I get aware of them.

    So the questions stay unanswered for many days, sometimes forever. So you may even lose the person who asks the questions if they don't get answered.

    A downward spiral for all, the experts, the help seekers, the moderators and the community. And unfortunately the low hanging fruits (reducing the tags from 3000+ to 600- ) are get not picked. I would be pleased to help with retagging if the mass of primary tags would finally be low and easy findable.

    • Aug 17, 2017 at 05:29 PM

      Thank you for the extensive post Jürgen.

      You are correct. I know I miss a lot as occasionally I'll browse other areas as well and I see quality related questions.

      SAP is lucky to have your interest in this. I don't have the level of interest or time to dedicate to the process anymore. I want to get in quickly, see the questions, reply, and get out. We do this because we like to do it mostly.

      But when it's difficult to do, and it becomes boring, I'm going to go do something else. Lately, this is becoming boring and difficult. :-(

      • Aug 17, 2017 at 10:21 PM

        i just did a little test (FireFox 55.0.2 (32 bit) ) and i see that refreshing the page, the view counter increases in Matthew's blog (and it's worthy to have WAY MORE views!), so the viewers are not unique :)

        i agree with Jurgen: finding things to answer or to read it's pretty hard.
        Even more, it's a real issue to find the right tag to use and having 600 tags it's not always easy!

        It's a pure matter of accessibility

        • Aug 17, 2017 at 10:25 PM

          I think the counter for blogs and questions work differently.

          600 primary tags is a kind of my target wish, we have more than 3000 currently.

          • Aug 17, 2017 at 10:30 PM

            My wish is less than 100 primary tags

            • Aug 17, 2017 at 11:00 PM

              Zero tags, individual discrete forums and only 1 entry in the activity or notification feed for each topic that has changed since last view.

              Easy.

          • Aug 21, 2017 at 02:36 PM

            I think 600-750 is the right range, at least from an in-depth review. Now that we have the right tools, I am just waiting to see when something will start trimming tags to a reasonable number.

  • Aug 21, 2017 at 05:59 PM

    +1 to what Juergen said. QM in particular suffers from the well hidden tag. But it's not all rainbows and unicorns in the other tags.

    I have bookmarks in my browser for SD questions and ABAP questions. These lead strictly to SD and ABAP tags. If someone picks "SD Sales" tag or, say, "NW ABAP Integration Technology" tag then good luck with that. We had 3 SD forums (Sales, SD General, and Billing) since SDN. I have no idea why they were not rolled in together in 2012 and why they were dragged into New SCN again last year. Similar story with ABAP.

    ABAP tag seems to be the most active one right now, probably due to large population of ABAPers on SCN and consistent moderation. Still, I can also see mostly the few regulars answering questions.

    SD is not as bad as QM but I no longer see some regulars there who used to answer questions a year ago. And, sadly, I don't see any potential replacements for them either.

    Quality of the questions many times does not motivate me to visit Q&A (on some days I report more questions for "did not search" than I answer). And in those questions I do answer, unfortunately, OPs hardly ever come back. I don't expect a thank-you note for every answer but I would like to know at least if it was correct or not and if it solved the issue, just so that I could learn myself.

    • Aug 21, 2017 at 07:39 PM

      Yes, even though we are big boys and girls, and we voluntarily do this Q&A thing, it will fail without at least SOME feedback. Even some gratuitous, meaningless thank you's would help at this point.

    • Aug 22, 2017 at 06:02 AM

      I don't answer questions in SD/Sales/Billing as often as before, because most of them are not interesting, or too basic, or show lack of effort.

      I still use the questions for exercise purposes, but it takes too much effort to follow up and I really dislike laziness, so I rarely respond with more than a down-vote.

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