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author's profile photo Michelle Crapo

So where did all those people I once knew leave the community go? Can we get them back?

This will be an interesting discussion I hope. I made myself a promise that I would try to bring people I knew to SAP Community. The other day - I thought, if I can find the mentor alumni I would ask them to help. At least the ones that I knew. I got one maybe. I haven't received responses from everyone. But the ones that I did were not good. And nothing about the platform:

  • Too bureaucratic
  • Better response from Linkedin (Sadly my blog where Bill responded was used as an example. Ouch!)
  • Several of us - including my first blog when I was back, I reached out to Jelena and she approved it for me - have gotten "It doesn't meet the rules of SCN" Of course no explanation as to what rules it has broken. Jelena approved it so it must not have broken too many. I've been an approved blogger since then.
  • Thank you for asking but no thanks.

So my discussion - what do you think? Have you had a bad experience trying to post a blog? Does any of the above make sense to you? Bad question. Instead do you agree/disagree with any of the points? Do you know anyone who did leave? Have you left and come back? Can something be fixed besides the platform to bring back more people?

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  • Mar 01, 2018 at 03:21 PM

    By means of the 1DX migration, which went questionably at best, most people eventually went inactive (e.g. myself included). Nowadays, I'm mostly using the contacts I established on SCN before it was killed. IMHO there are no real alternatives at the moment either, i.e. saptechnicals, sapfans, etc. are all pretty much dead as well.

    I'm putting all my hopes into the Community Platform's relaunch (whenever that will actually take place).

    • Mar 01, 2018 at 03:33 PM

      Thank you for commenting! That's impressive to me - you are active. Will it ever be relaunched or just each piece fixed? I don't know.

      So I would say - come back! Even if the community is crummy. Even if the tools are hard to work with. Start bringing some of the good things back. Also bring those experts back. (I may not have ever been a big name. But I left for a long time before coming back)

      Sapfans seemed to break apart when they started to allow advertising. Mmmm... Marketing = Advertisment.

      Here's to hoping some of those people come back. They are missed! You are missed.


    • Mar 06, 2018 at 10:11 PM
      which went questionably at best

      I think you meant to say "which went unquestionably bad". :)

    • Mar 07, 2018 at 12:45 PM

      Hey everybody, I'm back after a couple of months absence. I even answered a couple of questions!

      I agree that, for me, there are no real alternatives. I'm absolutely adamant that current SAP Community will never become the platform for SAP professionals to engage and exchange knowledge and experience and the reason is 1DX.

      It is impossible and even unwanted to smash together a platform for sales and for highly detailed in-depth ERP discussions and just assume it will somehow succeed.

      Suppose you have 2 online platforms, 1 for car mechanics to exchange ideas and mention a lot of techniques and serial numbers specially catered for grease monkeys of which a lot of them can best be described as somewhat spectrum-y.

      And the other platform is for selling cars specially targeted to the under twenties.

      What do you think would happen if you merge those 2 platforms and lay the emphasis on the marketing platform.

      Kind regards, Rob Dielemans

      • Mar 07, 2018 at 04:01 PM

        Rob, you're exactly right, 1DX was a big mistake and the whole "corporate alignment" continues to suffocate SCN.

        3000 tags and you need a committee to make any changes because someone decided they must align with MATNR and PRDHA in SAP's sales department. Otherwise how will marketing be able to correlate the blog views with the license sale KPIs?

        Want to put something on the home page? Yeah, we need to discuss this. Maybe in 10 months some changes can be made when all the stakeholders circle back. Will someone put a meeting on the agenda sometime after all the holidays end worldwide?

        Fix the bloated activity stream? Let's have an advisory board! Thanks for your input, we'll prioritize this, take it to the vendor and put it on the roadmap for 2025.

        Moderate the blogs? Daan-da-da-dah, can't touch this! It's valuable information that we must push to the customers. Customers must know about our digital innovation, damm it! How else those yahoos will find any information?

        SCN is managed like a corporate Sharepoint webpage in a bloated company with too many chiefs and not enough Indians where everyone has their own agenda and true leadership is MIA. I've seen such things unravel too many times in my corporate career. Somehow SCN mostly managed to keep their head above the water but now it's sinking into the corporate swamp faster than Titanic.

  • Mar 01, 2018 at 04:22 PM

    Hmmm...I have a sense of déjà vu reading this. ;-)

    "Too bureaucratic"? That's a new one. Did they give more details?

    RE: point 3, I know there are a whole lot of mods who participate actively in Coffee Corner. I'm sure they'll have thoughts about this feedback. I can also bring to the attention to the blogging/mod I don't seem to recall anyone ever citing moderation frustrations as a reason for their lack of participation.


    • Mar 01, 2018 at 04:25 PM

      See I do cover all my bases! No extra information on too bureaucratic. Sadly - or I would give it. That was one of the amazing mentor alumni that I know. Not giving out names either.

    • Mar 01, 2018 at 04:37 PM

      I can only imagine that bureaucratic actually meant the nitpicking with the >3000 tags

      And even after the reduction we could further reduce 40% ...and would still have more than enough which require retagging

  • Mar 01, 2018 at 05:56 PM

    Happy to hear comments about the current blog process. While we are trying to balance the needs of our authors in getting content published with the needs of our community in having only valuable content in their already busy feeds, there's always room for improvement.

  • Mar 01, 2018 at 10:16 PM

    Since we just connected on LinkedIn, and share some dust and cobwebs on the MoM wall of fame, I feel it is my duty to comment :)

    Have you had a bad experience trying to post a blog?

    To be honest, I wasn't much of a blogger in the past SCN, so that really didn't change with the new SAP Community model and WordPress. I was more of a content curator and occasional question answer-er (space editor and moderator too). I think one of the biggest obstacles today is that we miss the Jive DOC as a viable option for the non-blog worthy stuff, that is also not a question. Aside from the Archive, these DOC's were more or less relegated to wiki pages in the launch, and currently does not have any harmonized feel. Far too often we see announcement and event blogs, and there really is no place for them in the purest sense of the blog world.

    Do any of the above make sense to you?

    Assuming this wasn't meant to be rhetorical, I would say emphatically yes, with a strong sense of empathy that can relate to the individual perspectives and opinions of the departed members, or those taking an extended hiatus. The community is the sum of all parts, and that includes varying degrees of experience, different languages, geographies, cultures, and consumer vs. contributor personas. We all want to plug-in, engage in whatever purpose or need we have, and find the sweet spot for using the environment in a way that can be personalized or individualized. Currently we have a bit of a one-size fits all model that can leave us feeling underwhelmed. When not entering a community page from an email or direct link, I typically start with the CC bookmark in my browser to get caught up on the latest stuff and then hunt around, visit my activity stream, etc. but I always feel like I'm missing out on the flow of content in blogs/q&a. I follow several tags from the spaces I used to moderate, but just don't have the time or stamina to find a meaningful list of items to scroll through, so I'm left with a sense of FoMO. Cue Mike and TIC...

    • Mar 02, 2018 at 12:45 PM

      So glad you left a response.

      It is not a rhetorical question. I'm wondering what if any of the responses make sense. Do they make you think - yes I can relate. And you left a great response. Moderators have a huge job to do... I can see how you would stick to the things that your moderate.

      I miss the interaction and knowledge of blogs. So that's my focus now. BUT everything else is so important. I think you have it - the community is the sum of all parts. I can't help but think we are missing some of the parts.

    • Mar 06, 2018 at 04:33 PM

      I think not having place for Docs is a big mistake.
      Wiki is not an answer.
      I allow doc like blogs in my tags as a moderator, because that material has to be shared and no one I know even knows we have a wiki or uses it.

      • Mar 06, 2018 at 10:20 PM

        Wiki has never really been integrated into SCN. Even right now it's just a link in the menu, that's all. There was a splash of activity when one could get like 10 points for a minor edit but after the pinots dried out it was pretty much abandoned. IMHO only a few enthusiasts contribute to it currently.

        Of course, wiki has its merits but, just like any knowledge base, it needs to be cared for. Who's going to edit wikis on top of 3000 SCN tags? And what's the incentive for contributing to it? If I post a blog I own it and have a link that I can share anywhere. "SCN Wiki contributor" is not as glamorous and your content can be easily changed beyond recognition by anyone.

        Actually I thought at some point SCN wiki was going away completely but then suddenly it became a replacement for the documents.

        • Mar 07, 2018 at 12:46 PM

          this is what happens when people who do not consume any of the information they manage get to manage it :)

  • Mar 06, 2018 at 03:17 PM

    Just to clarify - I have no power to approve blogs on SCN, I merely "know people who know people". :)

    Not sure what exactly others referred to as "bureaucracy" but I recon it's the current blogger approval process posted here. The thing with SCN (and in general) is that new user ID does not necessarily mean a new person. Michelle here is up to number 5 already and there is no shortage of 2s and 3s (myself included). So not only the whole identity management is, well, mismanaged but to add insult to injury new user ID is a subject to the whole blogger approval process.

    It was a fortunate coincidence that I had to reach out to the Mentor team to get a "lemon" in the new profile and some kind soul also took care of blogging approval at the same time. But others won't be so lucky.

    At the same time, I see quite a few instances when apparently this approval process failed to stop the authors it was supposed to stop. (Reported specific examples to SCN team through other channels.) Which makes me wonder if this process actually does more harm than good. Perhaps the moderators could share some insights on this.

    • Mar 06, 2018 at 03:42 PM

      It would be much worse without this approval process as there are quite a lot people who do not know the difference between a question and a blog. I assume these cases are currently filtered to 100% and do not reach the surface at all. And there is a whole lot more (real spam) which is handled before one of you guys would get annoyed seeing it.

      There is currently not much which can be done technically, anything to lower the bar for the veterans who have to change the user ID will as well lower the bar for the those whose content is not wanted.

      If the self-healing forces (moderator alerts) in the community would work then it could probably afforded to reduce the approval process, but it is unfortunately so that a blog with links to sports streaming sites has rather 60 views and eventually a few likes before the first alert comes in and it may not be noticed for months under certain exotic tags.

      • Mar 06, 2018 at 04:05 PM

        Ah, OK. Thanks, Juergen! I haven't realized the questions as blogs were still happening.

        Perhaps there could be some process for those with new user IDs who are not actually new to SCN to bypass the approval process? Like some email they could reach out to? Ideally, of course, we should have better user management. But that has been an issue for many years already...

        • Mar 06, 2018 at 04:30 PM
          Ideally, of course, we should have better user management.

          Come on, Jelena, please stay realistic, I suspect your next suggestion is to make us believe the earth is not flat. Sigh.

          • Mar 06, 2018 at 09:59 PM

            Well, "ideally" is pretty much the opposite of being realistic. :) Just a short version of "one can dream". It took what, just 20 years to get rid of "exactly 8 characters" password rule? So yeah...

          • Mar 07, 2018 at 12:48 PM

            why would anyone even attempt to believe Earth is not flat ??
            I can see turtle and a tip of elephant tale from my window.

            • Mar 13, 2018 at 08:21 PM

              Stop the madness! The great A'tuin would be offended that you've called him round. I wouldn't recommend any trips to Omnia anytime soon...

  • Mar 07, 2018 at 04:56 PM

    I've been thinking about this discussion a lot lately. Perhaps the real question should be not "where my demons hide" :) but why there are no new people on SCN?

    On Twitter, Robert Russell shared the rather grim graph of new SCN accounts:

    It is quite normal for people to leave the community (or just become inactive) for a variety of reasons. On other sites, I'm also sometimes wondering where is such-and-such who used to be very active. Life happens.

    But the community that does not have more people joining in than leaving dies inevitably. Of course, it's not just about joining but also about the actual participation. However, usually less people joining means less people participating.

    Large part of SCN content is probably consumed passively. E.g. look at this blog stats: 4500 views, 15 likes, 9 comments. Everyone and their brother advertised it on Twitter and the topic couldn't have been hotter. I doubt 4485 people didn't like this blog. They just were not compelled to login (which I can totally understand) to provide any feedback. And it would be fine if this was just a regular techie website to push out the articles. But this is supposed to be a community.

    Another aspect that I suspect definitely is playing a role here: general separation in the SAP ecosystem between "the cutting edge crowd" and the rest. When I joined SDN, we had 4.7 which was not that hugely different from ECC 6.0, let's be honest. E.g. the same SD configuration that we have in 6.0 existed since 70s probably. But with all the HANA and Cloud stuff I sometimes feel like I'm crashing the party I was not invited to.

    There is not much left to say about the old stuff. But I have nothing to say about the new stuff either. Of course, I could try learning about new stuff from SCN. But, honestly, I just don't care for 3-part blogs on how to sign up for 10 different cloud services to install HANA Express (and do what with it?) or the intricacies of different versions of S/4HANA or Fiori, no matter how majorly different they are.

    Just my (very long) $0.02.

    scn.jpg (56.7 kB)
    • Mar 07, 2018 at 05:42 PM

      Old Stuff, New Stuff, Stuff in between, other stuff...

      Old Stuff = I'm still on a really old version of SAP. When I first started writing blogs in SDN, I would write about my experiences. Why can't we still do that? Yes, ABAP is an old topic. But even the old ABAP has value when you are talking about how you used it to solve a problem. I've seen a couple of those lately. They are good to read. I bet you have been on a project lately Jelena Perfiljeva ... Care to share? :)

      We need to make people comfortable with the community using the technology they have now. The only way I can think of doing that is by sharing experience. Again we don't want to repeat. So if we write about what we have done - it probably will help someone else.

      New stuff = won't help a ton until their (my) company has moved to the latest and greatest technology. However, the same thing said over and over gets old. Yes, I've read duplicate (or more) blogs about HANA or FIORI that basically give the same information without anything new to add.

      I do read about the new stuff. I know I'll need them in the future. And I'm really good with bookmarking. But think about it. The new stuff is huge. ABAP CDS, SAPUI5, JavaScript, Fiori, Personas, JAVA, JSON, and the list goes on...... So before it was really one technology. (Yes, I know we use more than ABAP then, Ummm even for me) Now there are just so many different things that are out there. So you have to pick and choose what you want to learn/read. I don't know where I'll eventually end up so I'm trying to read what I can for the future. I know almost everyone is doing that.

      Stuff in between = Also when we moved from SDN to SCN we combined the business analysts.(BPX back then) So now we have all the new products that are here that many companies use. CRM, SRM, Business by design, portal... And the list goes on here to.. So this is even easier to write a blog or add content. I don't see a lot of it out there - see old stuff.

      Other stuff = Fluff stuff that is out there. Me, I am guilty of some of that fluff stuff. Sometimes the fluff stuff rings a bell with someone. ,

      Gameification = When we started with the point system and gamification we grew. Why? Because we had consulting companies that wanted their name out there. So is it surprising that those consulting firms now do not see it as such an advantage?

      So, yes - less new people do matter. Now what is the solution? No idea... I know it is interesting to look at the wide variety of blogs and information to me. But I'm not under the water at the moment. I have the time to read. I used to spend an hour in the morning doing that, and answering the questions I could.

      My question is if people are implementing SAP and they are not here, where are they? Perhaps they've googled an answer. Read a blog. They just never needed an ID. How do we turn them into "card holding" community members? I'm not sure.

      I also agree as more companies move to the newer technology the community will grow.

      I like long answers,


      • Mar 07, 2018 at 10:09 PM

        I don't have any projects to share (yet?) because I started a new job just a few months ago. Unfortunately, all the stuff I worked on for the last 7 years was left behind at the old job. Well, I copied some of the most interesting programs for my own references but I have no screenshots or anything else to show for the full solution. Also I just don't really feel compelled to blog on SCN due to lack of feedback, to be honest.

        Sometimes I feel that with the blogs we fall into the same "time trap" as with the emails. E.g. if you exchange emails with someone quite frequently then you probably find a lot of small things to write about. Maybe you saw a funny sign on the way to work or there is some juicy office gossip. But when the email become seldom you can't find anything to write about because on the long time scale "small stuff" is no longer important. If you write someone twice a year then you expect to write about some big news like a promotion or a conference trip. And "big stuff" might not be happening in your life enough times to write about it. So the less you write the less you have to write about. Kind of catch-22.

        • Mar 08, 2018 at 12:44 PM

          But the lack of feedback may mean the lack of a community ID. :) And we circle back around.

          • Mar 09, 2018 at 06:56 PM

            Yep, this is a one big bag of problems. No login -> no feedback -> less content from existing members -> even less new members -> death.

    • Mar 08, 2018 at 07:40 AM

      Thanks for the mention and sharing that graph which is based on SAP search results. The SAP search for PEOPLE (new accounts) was previously broken but now it works. I am not sure if the data behind it is valid! But it is based on publicly available data from this site. I agree getting more people to join or come back would be great.

      I doubt it is only the new shiny things that attract “new” users (given the definition of “new” SCN user is debatable). My analysis of new accounts Answer/Question activity showed Crystal Reports being the top subject of Questions from “new” authors – Crystal Reports is not that new. Although that analysis was based on (whisper it) primary tags (…exits the conversation in regard to how valid is any analysis of questions based on people choosing the right tag…)

    • Mar 08, 2018 at 01:44 PM

      4500+ views --> no doubt it was and still is a hot trending blog. The freshness of a few author updates, ample comments on the blog, and tagging it in a CC post like this one make people like me a repeat visitor and keep edging the views higher and higher. This element of excitement and community bonding is what makes people bookmark, follow, watch, and more likely to engage in some form of activity that would have them log in and quantify themselves as an 'active' member. We need to get the vehicle (platform) more conducive to this sense of community.

  • Mar 15, 2018 at 09:17 AM

    Hi Michelle, thanks for an engaging question and it's good to see different viewpoints in the thread here. I've been around the community for a good while, and recently returned. Part of that return was to see how it really was in the post-Jive era. I'm predominantly a blogger in this context, so I was interested to see how blogging worked on the new platform.

    And as I tweeted a while ago, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Authoring blog posts on the new (Wordpress-based) platform was a super pleasant experience. From the familiar and focused interface (it's not perfect but there's little that's perfect in life), through the auto-save, to the responsiveness, I think it's a huge improvement.

    Recently I wrote a blog post series on SCP Workflow (short index here: I can't remember how many words in total, but it was a lot, ten posts in total on the community platform. And there were no hiccups with content creation or editing at all.

    So there's my response to one of your questions above. Writing blog posts isn't everything, but it's important to me. Cheers!

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