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[Status Update]Ban "not working" from SCN!

This is official: anyone posting a question with just "I tried X and it's not working" will get an automatic downvote from me.

As a side note, I wonder if people also go to a doctor and just say "something hurts".

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Jan 04 at 08:55 PM

Urgent. My house is on fire. I read that you can use a hose to remove the fire but it's not working.

5 Share house is on fire but I can't tell you which street it is in; I'm calling the wrong country's emergency hotline; have done nothing to attempt to resolve the fire or prevent further destruction to my property. Oh and I won't be available once any service has been provided to let you know if the cat and dog made it out.

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Down-voting won't discourage members from doing that and I suspect that some of the members posting such information do not realize what down-voting means.

Sadly, the ROE does not forbid such behavior and the only thing that I can do is ignoring the thread.

I wish there were a mute/ignore option per member like in other forums...

A random thought - in another community before I was allowed to post I had to fill in a form and answer questions to prove that I have sufficient knowledge on a certain topic in order to participate.

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Veselina Peykova
Jan 05 at 01:42 PM

But then how would all the newbies get trained? You can't expect them to learn everything in their 6 week academy classes!

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The foundations to create and interpret content are built in kindergarten and elementary school with tasks like reading/listening comprehension, retelling or rewriting a story in own words, asking and answering questions after reading or listening to a story...

As to the problem-solving aspect - kittens master skills by observation and experimentation, I don't see why this cannot work for humans. :)

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in US schools that's middle school level, sadly....

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Veselina Peykova
Jan 09 at 05:00 PM

Ah.. from the lack of searching and the seeking of knowledge readily available on the web, I'm not sure many of the SAP newbies have been to kindergarten and elementary school then. Experimentation definitely seems to not have been taught.

And I don't think its a primarily US schools issue...

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In theory, pre-moderation for new users, and standard response templates from moderators with links to how to post a better question, etc, should help. And of course we've discussed various changes to the UI that might help promote better question-asking behavior. At the end of the day, though, it's human nature and certainly not unique to SCN. People DO go to the doctor and just say "it hurts." And they expect the doctor to fix it.

In my "day job," I get incident tickets from my users all the time, every day, like this. "SAP is broken," or "I can't print," and so on. Usually the subject of the email or the ticket is just "SAP" or "SAP Problem," which is so incredibly helpful to me when I'm sorting those tickets by issue later. And I've found that my boss really doesn't like it when I yell at my users to grow up and be professional. :)

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Actually, in one company where I worked such incidents are quickly returned back to the poster with more info and the clock is stopped until the user fills the minimum required information. We also used forms for frequently encountered problems like printing where you have to fill at least the mandatory fields - otherwise you cannot submit the ticket. And before users get their authorizations in PRD they have to pass a few exams, so I have rarely seen a ticket with content like you described.

I never felt it necessary to yell at end users - during the training that I request to conduct they learn that the most efficient way to get a problem resolved is by providing sufficient information to the support team to investigate. I teach them also how to perform some simple troubleshooting that they can do with business authorizations and give them examples how to compose a ticket that won't be rerouted back multiple times (this includes also selecting the correct group for the ticket).

And this is for business users in the company that pays me to provide solutions.

I have seen also another approach, which I do not really like, but in some cases might be useful - when a user creates a ticket for system problem and the found root cause is insufficient understanding of the processes, this is reflected in the ticket (probably the pricing is also different). I suspect that the managers review the lists and based on root cause analysis they may decide that a certain group of users need additional training on a specific topic or that we may need to improve the user documentation.

Most people who ask questions here (for functional topics) work as consultants and are expected to have some basic troubleshooting skills and to know at least as much as end users - this is a very different case compared to interacting with business users, because the area of expertise, expectations and access to information is different.

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"Most people who ask questions here (for functional topics) work as 
consultants and are expected to have some basic troubleshooting skills"

Exactly. As much as I dislike when our users do that at least it's not their job to troubleshoot and the company is paying me for service. One would think that someone asking for help from unpaid strangers in a professional forum at least would have courtesy to provide more specific information.

Not sure if it's fair to report "not working" questions to the moderators since it's not technically an ROE violation, as others noted. But then, unfortunately, it's not uncommon for OP to never come back to answer the follow-up questions.

Out of curiosity, I ran a Google search for "did not work" string and one of the top results is a very typical scenario: OP posts a bunch of code with "did not work"; when asked for more info, OP doesn't reply; someone posts an answer based on "this is what I think OP meant", which is usually not related and not helpful to anyone. Of course, OP never closes the question either.

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You and Veselina are obviously right with your comments.

I think the key to improve this problem lies in a change of perspective. It is simply not “the job” of the mentioned volunteers to run behind people that are untrained, lazy or simply exploite other folks and kindly ask them for more details on their problems. Neither is it that of the moderators.

Instead, someone interested in contributing answers here could use the following approach:

1. Check unread questions for interesting ones.

2. Of those that are interesting, look at those that have sufficient information to work with.

3. Ignore all the other questions and never look at them again.

The whole scheme of posting half-written questions only works because some brave “but we must help the newbies”-soul eventually decides to put in hours of lifetime to answer those. Stopping to do that altogether might not directly disencourage anyone to still post those questions, but it would be a lot less attractive and it would immediately reduce the frustration in everyone who’s agreeing with this thread.

Most other ideas to counter the annoying questions (e.g. earning reputation for good questions, using up reputation for bad questions, only being able to have X questions open at any time, ...) had been discussed for ages and none had been implemented. Maybe rightfully so, I don’t know. But If the system doesn’t change, and the people that post stupid and annoying questions don’t change, then maybe the only thing that can change is me/you as the person who doesn’t like it.

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I'm totally down with "ignore them and they'll go away" approach. If only everyone followed it it'd be great. But I feel it's just as hard to compel everyone to ignore such questions as it is to prevent them from being posted. :) People want to be helpful and it's kind of a good thing.

By the way, I've just remembered there was an idea posted long time ago on Idea Place for an additional "not enough information" button. It had many votes but, of course, did not materialize (because Jive). The idea was that if the button is clicked more than once (or any other minimum) the question would be hidden and OP would get a message that their question doesn't have enough detail and can't be answered. Now that we're not on Jive anymore maybe something could be done about this.

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I don't think it is good to discourage people from answering questions (even the low-quality ones). For me it is strange to say on Q&A platform: don't answer questions :) I understand that you meant only the poor quality topics, but still it shouldn't be a message from our community :)

What we could do instead, is to hide the poor questions based on downvote - some mix of what Jelena and Vaselina wrote. Otherwise, what is the reason to downvote?

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Lars Breddemann
13 hours ago

Others have said that already, but I'll point it out once more explicitly;

> 2. Of those that are interesting, look at those that have sufficient information to work with.

it would be nice if I could 'mark' the once that I deem not sufficient:

- I could filter them out next time I do an answering session
- Others, that have standards similar to mine, might use it for filtering out, too.
- (and: not the core use case, but thinkable: Maybe someone thinks: "Oh, Joachim is always so strict - show me the questions he declined, maybe I can help one of those poor freshers!")



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Well, there you go, my latest [failed] attempt to extract more information from "did not work" OP:

"It's got the electrolytes! It's what the plants need!" :(

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Jelena Perfiljeva
5 days ago

are you suggesting plants should be watered?

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In my previous support project, information gathering was easy, users used to call before triggering email. Most of the cases, instructing users to troubleshoot at their level by making few checks at transational level used to solve the issues before receiving ticket. However, it is not a good practice to follow for long term. I was there only for 2 months support.Therefore, didn't inform to PM. One another reason was to know business processes.

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First question: Is it plugged in?

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In most of the cases this is asked to users who are new to the company and haven't received proper training.

They are told to log on to SAP and create.That's it. Having contact info of SAP consultants on SAP screen makes them confident to call.

For time efficiancy, having a dedicated team responsible for training only saves a lot of time of SAP Consultant.

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That's step 2. Much more advanced troubleshooting!

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Ha! You beat me to it, Lars... :D

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Just decided to NOT sell my "IT Crowd" box.

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Why would you want to sell it in the first place?!? :)

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That's a really good question! But that was 2017-Steffi. I have no idea what went on in her head. I'm the new version. ^^

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Based on some SCN questions, I suspect some folks out there have been similarly placed with no training to support the SAP systems. "Here is your laptop, that's SAP GUI, if you have any trouble - post a question on SCN, it's a free service from SAP".

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Yes! It is a bitter truth.

Jack is something which allows people to become an SAP Consultant without knowing its full form and having pride of the title "Consultant" makes them to think that they know everything without learning anything. Upon receiving ticket(s) from the user(s) and simply pasting the same on SCN by having a fake name profile gets their work done within the timeline. But, this is not going to work anymore much, as the way, our Moderators are keeping an eye on such questions and teaching them to search before posting is making their moral down. It's kind of cleaning garbage. I am also going to participate in this "Alert Moderators' activity. However, I am at a learning stage and will continue to learn. But, a little search/test gives my answer for any query.



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This is an industry problem and moderators cannot solve it on their own.

Lets face it - there will be always some who are not willing to learn, because they have no interest in the area and no motivation to improve.

As long as there are people responding to poorly written questions and trying to guess what the OP meant (by poorly written I do not mean just grammar and phrasing, although a part of the problem is the lack of understanding the official documentation), the problem will persist.

The other issue is that SC(N) has some form of identity problem - it tries to be different from Quora where one can post just about anything without doing research and it tries to set lower entry barriers than Stack Overflow and it fails in defining what kind of questions and responses are considered acceptable. Assuming that ROE will not change to make it more clear it is up to the members to determine what kind of content triggers participation.

To me it is a too big time-sink and a frustrating experience to try helping someone who is incapable of providing meaningful feedback ('does not work' without additional details what exactly happens vs what is expected to happen falls into this category), so I simply choose not to participate in the thread or if I have responded earlier - to drop communication.
Some may argue that the proper way is educating members, but it is discouraging when you see someone not improving the quality of generated content in the span of several years. Participation in SC(N) is voluntary and if it becomes tedious and unpleasant I see no reason to do that.

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Thank you all for your great feedback like always.

The quality of questions is something that we constantly think of how to improve. Like Matt indicated we've implemented templates, we have pre-moderation for new users and as we discussed in the moderators' round table we want to add tool tips to the UI of posting a question (we wanted that for a long time). Also, the Q&A community page contains a lot of valuable information which can act as something similar to the ROE (like we have for blogs).

Down voting is one way to indicate low quality content and it is useful when filtering in the tag pages. A moderation alert is another good way to indicate low quality content. I think there are many things that fall under the obvious and don't require a dedicated rule but I'm more than happy to consider addition to the ROE. However, probably those "problematic" users won't bother reading the ROE.

I like the proposal to have preconditions prior to posting a question (that's kind of what the pre-moderation is targeting). However, please allow me to perform some research and come-up with a proposal or more ideas to fight this. However, like it was mentioned, there were always be people ignoring the rules and looking for effortless solutions.

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Moshe, how does one filter content by number of down-votes in tag pages?

I do not see such option on tag pages (unless there is some url trick for that), I can see only a sort by votes feature and when you use sort by votes, you cannot restrict by date range.

My understanding of Alert moderator feature is that we should use it when someone breaks the rules (which are listed in ROE). The current discussion is about poorly written questions or replies which do not strictly violate the site rules (it is possible that the OP did a search and found no answers). If I failed to understand the purpose of Alert moderator option - based on what criteria would a moderator remove a question if it does not violate ROE and how would he/she explain to the OP on what grounds a question or reply was removed?

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Hi Veselina,

True. I meant the sorting option and by seeing first the up voted questions filters out the bad ones from your sight to some extent (ideally).

As for moderator alerts:

Since we migrated to the new platform it was decided to split between the approval of the alert and the status of the content (deleted/published). The idea was to leave more room for coaching via the comments in AH and WP. You will notice that we have an alert category for "insufficient information" or "Other".

However, if everyone agrees that we're missing a corresponding rule in the ROE I'm more than happy to raise this with the moderators and my team. We can also add at the top of the ROE to familiarize with the guidelines in the community info pages.

So to summarize not every alert should result a removal of the content but primarily raising the alert of the moderator to take further action. I agree that when we used the term "Report an abuse" it was more as you described.

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Sorting without filtering is not very useful when you look for good questions to answer, because there is no date restriction.

And you cannot filter out questions based on number of down-votes when you look for an answer (at least I did not find such feature in

It is funny that you mention the alert category insufficient information - I have seen it before, but I found no blog or a page (accessible by non-moderators) explaining when it is suitable to use it. I can only guess that this reason is used and misused for multiple purposes due to unclear guidelines. As to the reason Other - I may be wrong, but my limited experience of dealing with end users shows that when people do not know what to choose, they would select Other :) For now, I would use Other when the reason for alerting does not fully correspond to a single reason - for example, if is a combination of factors - wrong tag + disclosing personal information.

If there is a page explaining the meaning behind each alert reason (accessible by regular users), I would be grateful if you can help me locate it as I am also interested in the exact meaning of other entries in the drop-down - e.g. Incorrect Usage of Platform and Unprofessional Conduct. When I looked for this information (restricted to results after the October migration) I found only discussions on the potential meaning of various alert reasons, but no official page explaining them.

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Great idea. I will check what is availble and create what is missing

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