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Comments as answers

Oct 04 at 12:46 PM

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Instead of a Comment link make it a button at the same level as the Answer, Follow, and Alert Moderator button rather than a link?

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I'm thinking it may be as simple as that -- just a slight reformatting of the options to make it more clear to the user what they should be using.

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About comment button: comment to what? To question? To some answer? To some other comment? It’s too complicated...

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10 Answers

Jürgen L
Oct 04 at 01:29 PM
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What solution do you expect, would you like the most?

  • Getting rid of the differentiation between answers and comments
  • getting notified of any response to a question where you participated actively or followed it
  • giving mandatory virtual class room training to all who do not understand the difference
  • other (please explain in comments)
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I'm not sure. That's why I was asking if anything was in the works, rather than proposing a solution.

The Q&A structure is very similar to Stack Overflow, yet this doesn't appear to be as much of a problem there. Maybe it's more experienced contributors? Maybe more moderating? I don't know.

Some possible options I can think of:

  • If the author of the question posts an answer, and there already is an answer posted, ask if this is really a solution to the question rather than a comment on the other answer.
  • Allow regular users the ability to flag answers that should be comments, and give moderators the ability to move a flagged answer where it belongs. Then notify the original author that this has been done, and offer guidance on what should have been done.
  • More prominent "comment on this answer", "comment on this question" text.
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I hope every sees and appreciates the irony here.

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You should have made that an answer!

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Denis Konovalov
Oct 06 at 08:19 PM
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we should just Get rid of the differentiation between answers and comments. No one cares about it. Just be done with it.,

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Not sure it's possible with answerhub platform.

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Probably comments cannot be eliminated completely, but it might be technically possible to restrict their usage only to moderation-related tasks by using permissions.

AH seems to support options to define per user group and also per content type different authorizations for comments and answers. If this is correct, it may make sense that moderators have Use Private Comments and non-moderators only Send private comments to original poster (this is just a speculation based on what I read in AH permissions guide).

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If you eliminate comments then we will have only flat structure of answers without discussion flow... not a good solution to my mind.

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Depends on the designer and the developer, I suppose :)

You end up with correct chronological sort, which is good, on top of which if a feature can be developed that adding a share link to an existing reply in the same thread triggers auto-quote and automatic @mention to the reply author, you could possibly get the best of both worlds. Of course, one needs to set a reasonable limit of maximum quotes in a single reply, which is considered in the maximum @mention count as well, but this is trivial...

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I personally don’t like quoting - very hard to read. To my mind the jive questions UI was ideal for discussions about SAP issues. By default the replies were shown in hierarchical order but time order was also selectable.

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I found threaded view in SCN harder to use, because after a few levels the replies became too narrow and if there were images it was less convenient.

On one thing we agree at least - the flexibility of setting flat or threaded view as default in the profile was a good approach. This (the flat view and date/time settings) was the main reason why I registered.

Currently, if one is mainly consuming content by searching and is not keen on socializing, there is very little incentive to register and log on.

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"обработать напильником" and all will be fine :)

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Will be “гланды автогеном через ...” :)

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that wouldn't be the first time in SAP product line :)

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Jelena Perfiljeva
6 days ago
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Excellent question. I was just thinking to post about this as well, so this saves me a few clicks. :)

We had many discussions on this when new SCN went live last year. Now I feel that it's been a year, we've given it a try, it is clearly not working out, and we need to change it.

IMHO the main reasons the people of SCN have not embraced answers/comments are:

1) we never had this on SCN, so we're talking 10+ years of "muscle memory";

2) there is no value / no one cares to distinguish (most people don't vote or accept the answers, OPs certainly don't care how they get an answer).

I've been told by DZone folks that it is feasible to get rid of the answer/comment separation. But I didn't clarify if this would essentially turn Q&A into "discussions" as we have in Coffee Corner.

However, I feel that by nature, most SCN questions are, in fact, more like discussions when multiple people chime in and additional questions may need to be asked. For example, even I'm facing a dilemma right now: I'd like to provide an update to everyone who answered to my question, how do I do that exactly? If I post an answer then no one will be notified. It is also not an answer really but if I post it as a comment on top it would look out of place. Am I supposed to copy-paste the same comment into every answer? That makes no sense either.

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I'd like to provide an update to everyone who answered to my question, how do I do that exactly?

I would post this as an answer and @mention the participants in the discussion (yes, this is a discussion, most meaningful threads on functional topics are discussions).

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Veselina Peykova

Thanks for the suggestion! Good thing @-mentions arrived just in time! :)

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Gustavo Vazquez Oct 06 at 01:45 PM
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Hi Joe,

This is my best answer !!!!!!


answer.png (17.3 kB)
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I'm tempted to accept this as the Best Answer.

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Vadim Kalinin Oct 06 at 04:55 PM
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If the real answer was given in the comment you can convert comment to an answer and then this converted answer can be accepted. BUT, the flow of discussion will be lost. It’s another reason to avoid answer/comment differentiation.

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I've seen that, but it's a much rarer occasion.

Can a moderator change an answer to a comment?

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Do you think that moderators have time to perform changes like you mentioned?

And even if we have a lot of moderators, how moderator will decide to what item to attach this comment? To an answer, to another comment or to a question itself?

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I have no idea. But with the way things are now, it's not working.

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In SCN we had only replies and the question author was able to mark any reply as correct answer. It was absolutely comfortable for everybody.

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Right, like on MSDN. That works well, too.

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Answer/comment approach is fine on the sites where:

Clear question requiring short and specific answer.

Number of answers from different users. Voting helps to find the best answer.

Comments are rare (one user is commenting that some answer is incorrect in addition to down voting)

In SAP Community we have a different picture:

A lot of questions are not clear (not enough info provided), many questions require some code samples, some configuration details etc.

Only one or maximum 2 experts are answering particular question. And in most cases nobody vote answers. Only topic author decides that his issue is solved.

Comments are used to discuss missing info, to ask question author to perform some tests...

To my mind for SAP Community simple reply is the best option.

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Vadim Kalinin Oct 04 at 01:49 PM
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Thanks, Vadim. For what it's worth, I don't think the "answer" to the problem is to collapse answers and comments. It works well on Stack Exchange sites, so I'm sure it can be made to work here.

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No, real life experience show that this approach will NOT work here! It's not possible to train all community users.

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What is the fundamental difference between SAP Community and SO that prevents it from working here?

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First of all we have a fact: it's not working here (1 year test period).

We can discuss why it's not working, but to my mind it's a waste of time :)

May be question/comment approach is working best on the sites where you have questions with number of answers that can be voted as perfect, good, etc...

Here we have question, then long discussion about missing information, then single final answer :)

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I'm sure that depends on the type (tag) of questions. Most of what I see in the BO tags is a simple question, a simple answer, and then another answer from the original author which is really a comment on the "real" answer.

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Yes, I am talking about this case!

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Gustavo Vazquez Oct 06 at 01:45 PM
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Hi Joe,

This is my best answer !!!!!!


answer.png (17.3 kB)
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...or this one.

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hahahaha :-)

I uploaded the same twice but the explorer gave me an error on one.

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Gustavo Vazquez Oct 06 at 01:52 PM
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Hi Joe,

This is THE BEST answer I ever gave

Off course, solution came as a comment

The comments vs answer came from the begining , never received a good reply on this.

Kind Regards

PS: Please, don't tell me i don't know how to use community ..... that may be the only one thing i'm certain of :-P


answer.png (17.3 kB)
comment.png (46.8 kB)
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Moshe Naveh
Oct 10 at 05:06 AM
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Joe Peters and all for your feedback on this

I will approach our UX team so they can share their approach on this topic.

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Thank you, Moshe.

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Volker Barth 6 days ago
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Well, I sometimes turn my own comments into answers just because I have the impression the OP has not even noticed the (by default collapsed) comment.

I still think it's a bad choice that comments are hidden by default even when there is no answer at all. AFAIK AnswerHub would also allow to show "some" comments (say, 2-3 per question/answer) and provide a "show all comments" button to expand to all.

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Question comments hidden by default is a minor issue. The whole concept of:

1. Question comments

2. Answers (and only answer can be accepted as correct)

3. Comments on answers

4. Comments on comments

Is wrong, overcomplicated and not suitable for SAP Community discussions!

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I would also confirm that quite a lot people miss to open the comments before they post a reply

And for sure it is over-complicated when discussions like the one about the idea place even has the "more" link and you can't even go there from the entry in your activities and have to open always any "more" section individually to check if the comment is there.

WhatsApp is quite successful in the market, and there is no structure at all for who replied to whom in a group chat and somehow billions find it okay. The same concept is even here in messages.sap.com

Isn't "simplification" one of SAPs buzzwords? Why not making it simple then

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I don't understand either why this needs to be so complicated. Most of the questions on SCN are not that complex to begin with. If all OPs put all the details in the original questions they'd be even shorter. Previously, I'd say 80% of the discussions (as they were called on SCN) were one page long, 19% were 2-3 pages and 1% or even less were longer than 3 pages. (I did participate in one discussion that went on for 50+ pages but it was once in many years, if we don't count the Coffee Corner.)

We did ask for some way for others to "upvote" the answers that were not necessarily chosen by OP but that the community thought were better answers. But to do that we don't meet the whole matrix as Vadim mentioned. Simply having a "Like" or "Thumbs up" button in every reply and an option to sort by those likes/upvotes would suffice IMHO.

I'm finding the archived discussions difficult to follow as well since I always used a "flat" view (it was an option in the profile).

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Jelena Perfiljeva

"We did ask for some way for others to "upvote" the answers that were not necessarily chosen by OP but that the community thought were better answers." - very rare case. In 99% of cases the topic author selects the correct answer properly (he is the most interested person and he will perform some testing). For sure there is nothing wrong with "like" on reply, and even more: if I see incorrect answer I post comment explaining why it's incorrect. Even if the question author will not change his mind other readers will see this comment.

Flat/hierarchy view depends on personal habits, I feel myself very comfortable with hierarchy view but I accept the opposite opinion (have to be configurable in user settings).

P.S. To my mind the question author has to rely on the reputation of the user providing the answer - but now we don't have this reputation measurement!

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I suspect the way the questions are answered depends on the particular topic. In ABAP, for example, sometimes people come in with the answers that are just crazy. But, come to think of it, there is less such cases in the functional spaces I visit. Those who were asking for up/downvotes were mostly developers (I guess based on their experience with StackOverflow).

This, by the way, brings up another aspect of SCN - we have a wide variety of users. And it's just another reason to keep it simple.

Reputation was not always a correct measurement, by the way. I've seen quite a few bad answers given by high-point members and most likely made a few mistakes myself (not intentionally though). It did help a bit though, I have to admit.

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Jelena Perfiljeva

"Reputation was not always a correct measurement, by the way. I've seen quite a few bad answers given by high-point members and most likely made a few mistakes myself (not intentionally though)." - we have nothing else then reputation :) For sure anybody can give incorrect answer, but it will be corrected by:

- question author after testing - like "Not working!"

- some other user providing comment and explanation why

- incorrect answer author after some thinking :) - have done it number of times!

You never know who is doing up/down voting and for what reason! On StackOverflow I have seen a lot of high voted answers with poor but simple code and low voted clever solutions because majority of users don't understand the proposed code :) "Миллионы мух не могут ошибаться"

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