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Petition to replace answers/comments with "reply" (or similar)

Nov 03, 2017 at 06:45 PM


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For over a year we tried to use comments and answers as part of Q&A platform on SCN.

The specific issues Community is still facing:

  • Comments and answers cannot be sorted together chronologically. This (a) makes it difficult to understand how the solution/answers evolved (additional information could be posted by OP anywhere); (b) can make the answers look odd/incorrect because it’s impossible to see in what context they were posted.
  • Answers are used to reply to another answer, in which case the person replied to does not get notified.
  • A comment could end up being an actual answer.
  • Any advantages comment/answer structure presents seem to be of no value to the SCN members.

I feel we have spent sufficient time and effort expecting the community members to adjust and adopt this feature. It is clearly not happening and mis-use is still very prevalent.

With this in mind, I motion to replace answers/comment with a singular “reply”. This will simplify UI and notification process, in my opinion.

Thank you!

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Where or how do we sign? :)


Good question. And most people won't see this comment (ironic!) but I'm guessing by upvoting the post?

(Cue someone asking to post this where ideas go to die in 1, 2...)


If you posted in the other place where ideas go to die you need to do double work, because you have to persuade people to use a site that some dislike more than this one :)

My question was more in the line of: do we just upvote or upvote + post answer or upvote + post comment... meh, this answer/comment thingy is really too complicated...


prime example of answer vs. comment :D

Finally, reading this I have the explanation why my Notifications seem not working. It's no bug, it's the feature (by design).


This is a daily struggle, so bumping up the thread.

* Please Login or Register to Answer, Follow or Comment.

13 Answers

Veselina Peykova
Nov 04, 2017 at 09:51 AM

If the new community site rework initiative could stand any chance to succeed - a simple reply feature and a chronological flat view (configurable by profile setting) needs to be an integral part of the design.

Yes, it is great that we are going to have content organized by topics and hopefully it will be more discoverable, but this is of little consolation if the organized content is incomprehensible and not reusable.

I am not paid to provide personalized support on this site, I help because at some point others, me included, may come across the thread later and benefit from it.

SAP software is complex, business processes are complex, the time when it was justifiable to ask simple questions and get simple answers has long passed. The content we create (the one that does not end up in a moderator's inbox) simply does not fit into the Q&A concept.

The purpose of software is to empower the business. If a software solution cannot support core business processes which make your company successful you don't change the business processes, you change the software.

To me the question is not "Is it possible?" but "When will this be finally deployed?".

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If it's not possible to use "reply" in AnswerHub then another engine for Q&A has to be implemented. But it will be a project like Community 4.0 and I can't estimate the time required...

Jürgen L
Nov 04, 2017 at 12:06 AM

Since I am moderating 31 tags I also follow them, which means I have everything in my activities and read it anyway, in these cases I don't really bother if someone replied directly to me or posted an answer to himself.

But sometimes I find questions based on answers given by people I follow, these questions belong to tags I do not follow, hence I do not get any update in my Activities when I added an answer and the user did not act as the design wanted it to be when he replied.

Of course I could click "Follow" for all those questions where I give an answer, but this would just make the activities of my followers even more useless as they are today. An auto-follow to all those questions where I gave an answer or a public comment (I exclude herewith my moderator comments, as I do not want to see any reply to questions that I moved from my tags to other tags where they belong) could solve this deficit, it would give me updates in my Activities and would not spoil the activities of others.

But auto-follow would not stop the confusion between comments and answers, it would just make it more convenient to ignore the misuse and this questionable distinction.

Where should the OP leave a comment which is visible to all who have helped him? The OP can either add an individual comment to each of the supporters, or add it as answer to himself or as comment on his own question, which is both not visible to any of the supporters if they do not follow the question, the user or the tag where the content was posted. I just had this case today here: where we had some ping-pong in the comments within minutes and then it became silent. After about an hour I remembered and searched for the discussion and found his reply as answer, given just minutes after my last comment. At this time I could still the information x minutes ago, but if you look now you just see hours, and next week you will just see x days ago and have no clue about the sequence if you do not resort by date (instead of the default vote) and you also need to move the mouse over x y ago to see the exact time)

Not to mention that the question had been marked as answered before it started to become busy and long before most replies got added.

And this just leaves me with the impression that it is concept failure and not just a bug because you can't really make it better by fixing one thing.

Comments collapsed is another point that I don't like, it lets you look like stupid, as if you could not properly post a single answer and posted it in several pieces. Look at this one: . I appear with 5 answers, and each answer is actually a reply to a comment which was made to an earlier answer. An outsider or Newbie would not even know that he has to resort and to open the comment section to understand the whole flow from the beginning to the final reply.

No wonder that a good portion of users is now digging in the archives as archived content is better to understand than new content. (I actually like that more users are searching now instead of posting the questions right away).

And this brings me directly to the missing flat list instead of structured content...and since not everyone shares my opinion on the flat list layout it just gets me to missing personalization options

In case it got forgotten, there is still a group called SAC (strategic advisory council) which addresses these issues invisible for most of you but also enjoys these kind of public discussions for opinion formation and for backing us.

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Jelena Perfiljeva
Nov 07, 2017 at 04:30 PM

Thank you, all, for the replies… err.. answers and comments. Now I’m not sure how to reply to everyone. Do I add individual comments? But then no one will see them. Do I post an answer? But then no one will get notified. Do we really need more evidence of the apparent design failure?

Jürgen L - I feel the same way. We clearly can’t just improve this by changing/adding features. It’s the comment/answer concept that is simply not suitable for SCN. As Veselina Peykova noted, the questions we answer can be quite complex. They might not have a simple answer and require a discussion to solve.

Mike Pokraka - completely agree. It's annoying to both sides: to the SCN regulars who are trying to educate others about the new structure and to the OPs who are irritated by the reprimands (no matter how polite).

Chronological flat list is the way to go, from what I see too. I suspect we will be again written up for being Luddites and trying to drag SCN back to the old state. But if something is old it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Cast iron skillet is still a cookware staple and it’s a “technology” that is centuries old.

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Thank you, all, for the replies… err.. answers and comments. Now I’m not
 sure how to reply to everyone. Do I add individual comments? But then 
no one will see them. Do I post an answer? But then no one will get 
notified. Do we really need more evidence of the apparent design 

Well, IMHO those two points do not relate to the "comment+answer vs. reply" discussion - the first would not work in a reply-only system, either, and the second is certainly a bug which could also appear in a reply-only system...

Just saying...


I'm a bit confused... Which one did you count as "first"? Individual comments? They are "rolled up" by default when opening a question. Why would this be an issue when there are just replies?

And if the second one is lack of notifications then we all might think it's a bug but I believe as far as SCN team is concerned it's a "feature".

"Reply only" just offers a simpler structure and IMHO this would mean less work for the technical team, hence they'd be free to do something more productive for SCN.


Sorry for being not specific enough:)

  1. "How to reply to all" -> IMHO that would not work with only one reply, independent of the concept.
  2. "Lack of notification" for other contributing users -> is a bug independent of the concept. (As you state, it might be easier to fix when there is just the reply concept, but I guess that should be no big difference. - That being said, many of the known issues do not seem hard to solve, and still they are there or are only partly solved, so I guess I should not comment on the actual work needed...)

Using a nested comment to clarify postings, kind of "q.e.d.":)

Ryan Crosby Nov 03, 2017 at 07:14 PM

Agreed on all of the points you mentioned. I'd say at least 50% of the time I am not informed of updates because of the failure to comment on an answer vs. adding another answer. The chronology problem is also very prevalent and leads to several challenges when participating.

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Mike Pokraka Nov 04, 2017 at 01:00 PM


Personally I think the whole thing is a train crash. Many people struggle with language and/or barely understand how a forum works, and we are asking them to think carefully how to categorise their communication. It's just not helpful and alienates people.

There were other issues with the old platform, but the question format was OK. I like the up/downvoting idea, but the comment vs answer concept just does not work. And I don't like it on stackoverflow either, but it works a little better there because the site tends to attract the type of geeks that will try to fit with the system. But to me it still feels like an effort even when it works, I just don't see any value whatsoever in segregating the three response formats.

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...and as if on cue I get this response to my comment on someone else's comment.

'nuff said.

Joe Peters Nov 07, 2017 at 08:13 PM

In my opinion, the issue here is that the old forum-based SCN was shoehorned into the AnswerHub Q&A format. If you're expecting to use it like a forum, then it's going to be a mess as it's not intended to support threaded discussions.

As I've said elsewhere, the Q&A format works quite well on some other sites, in particular Stack Overflow. But those are inherently Q&A sites to begin with.

I see value in the Q&A format, but it's not really being realized here as it is elsewhere. At least for the tags that I follow, there aren't more than 1-2 upvotes at most for any given question or answer. Below-zero scores are rare, even for answers that deserve it. So, any benefits of the Q&A format are being overshadowed by the confusion that it's causing.

While I don't feel that there's anything inherently wrong with the platform, it's just not well suited to how it's being used here. That being the case, I don't think it's salvageable.

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Joe - you are exactly right. There is nothing wrong with Q&A format, it's just not suitable. We gave it a try but it does more harm than good.


I disagree. I don't see any value in segregating comments from answers as compared to a threaded system where anything can be an answer.

IMHO I don't think the comment feature contributed much to StackOverflow's success, personally I find it clunky and hard to follow just like here. But StackOverflow has plenty of other great features: It's a great UI, snappy and responsive navigation, easy to use, and the voting system rocks. The layout is information-dense which appeals to information workers, such as us, far more than the acres of SCN whitespace (or massive images).

Jelena Perfiljeva
Dec 06, 2017 at 08:52 PM

Gah! I just can't stand this anymore! Get a notification that a comment was posted on my answer -> open the comment -> find there is still not enough information in the comment to answer intelligently -> ask for more info -> read all other answers -> manually expand the comments to every other answer -> find more info in a comment to another answer. (Link)

There is no way to know what exactly was posted between now and my last reply because it's all scattered between the answers (sorted by votes by default) and comments hidden underneath each answer.

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Vadim Kalinin Nov 03, 2017 at 07:12 PM

At least we need a clear answer - is it possible to configure AnswerHub engine to have only "replies"? Any reply to the question can be marked "Accepted" or "Correct Answer" by the question author. No votes on replies, only likes.

And may be return an idea of "Helpful Answer" like in Jive.

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Well, it is possible to configure AH to only have Answers and not comments. That would still allow Accepted Answers to be designated. It would also, as far as I can tell, provide a chronological sequence of responses which would definitely make it easier to see what the newest posts were.

Michael Appleby

I think the problem is then that all existing comments are not visible anymore if this general customizing is changed. so we would probably need a modification in the UI, which does not show the comment button and the reply link. This way you could still see existing comments but not add new comments.

And also the notifications would only work for the person who as asked the question, but never for the people who have responded, until the logic is changed and a kind of "auto follow" is implemented for all who had posted an answer to the question.

So both things (UI change and auto-follow for notifications) would need to be changed at the same time to turn it into a good user experience.

Michael Appleby

If you have only chronological sequence of “answers” then you will need to quote previous answer to explain to which answer you reply. Like in old days.

Vadim Kalinin

Quote button, oh how do I miss thee.

Just one click to quote for all to see.

Progress says: "copy and paste,

you have too much time to waste!"


I believe Stackoverflow does a "mix" of these approaches - allows answers, and then *only one level of comments* on each answer. I did think it was a good balance of including the respective users within a conversation, without pulling every one involved in all answers.

So in this case, everyone in this conversation (all the comments under Vadim's answer above) would still be comments, but be on the same level. And @mentions would be used to get attention from a particular user, for instance Michael Appleby , or Jürgen L. Sorry Jurgen, and Mike for the mention but thought you may find it interesting. What do you guys think (just brainstorming here as I am interested in this topic from a notification point of view)?

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Hi Sajid,

You are welcome to use my name as an example for @mentions pretty much anywhere in the SAP Community. However, what is really different in what you present here compared to what we already have?

Multi-threaded Answers with hidden comments and an inability to follow the flow of discussion? Check
No real way to determine who said what since the last time you looked at the item? Check
For really good discussions, the last thing posted is always buried in the "show more comments"? Check

I think the community experts have spoken many, many times and in loud shrill voices. Regardless of what StackOverflow does or does not do:

We do not like this design!


What is the benefit of having comments and answers, while keeping comments on a single level?
To me this seems like taking the worst of the two worlds:

1. we keep the confusion of two response types (something that proved to be an unsuccessful experiment);

2. we get no chronological flat list view (a frequently requested feature) and

3. we get rid of the hierarchy concept that all who do not use chronological flat list view find useful.

This is a bit worse than what is currently available. We have already been through a similar scenario (I mean the missing reply option in comments for non-moderators after reaching a certain nesting level) and it did not go well. Trying the same thing when nothing else has changed and expecting a different outcome does not make a lot of sense.

I understand that reworking question detail view, notifications and possibly the gamification concept means a lot of work, but investing more budget and effort on a faulty design is just delaying the inevitable...

Veselina Peykova


Q&A requirements

  • Easy to ask a question assuming that in most cases the question author has no idea about details required (SAP community specifics).
  • Ability to ask for additional information in a structured way (thread).
  • Ability to provide additional information in a thread.
  • If some reply has a reply under it then this reply can’t be deleted or changed.
  • Accepted answer can be on any level of the thread.
  • Accepted answer is duplicated under the question to simplify reading.

All the mentioned points are part of “reply” concept used in Jive (SCN).


QA – Question author; RA – Reply author

In this sample we can see a logical structure of the discussion. If something is not clear in the “accepted” reply then it will be clear after reading full thread. And it can’t be done using existing answer/comment_on_answer/comment_on_question approach even if the user will try to do the best!

Sample in the current Community:

With comments collapsed by default!

The logical structure of discussion is lost! And in this example both QA and RA are doing the best. In the real life both will not use comment_on_question and will use answer instead of comment_on_answer making things completely unreadable. Also in the current system it possible to delete answer or comment having comments under it (and users are doing it).

In SAP community we have discussions, not simply questions and answers. And the platform must support this concept!

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Hi Sajid,

SAP Community Q&A is not equal to Stackoverflow!

Here we have discussions, not simply Question and Answer. AnswerHub concept is not useful for SAP Community!


Shouldn't we do our own thing instead of constantly looking at SO? Why not looking at our former SCN, which worked for the users much better than what we got since then. It was eventually the best in class before it got ruined so that Stackoverflow could become the new benchmark.

We make every day the experience that it does not work. We cannot change answers into comments and vica versa for the rest of our life, and without this moderator activity it is just not working. The whole world uses smartphones and in the SAP community it feels like establishing connections manually like in 1930s as without this manual moderator activity the response could not reach its recipient.

We have to make a software foolproof or at least so easy to use like Google, ebay and amazon.

Gustavo Vazquez Nov 10, 2017 at 12:24 PM

Hi Jelena,

I vote up for unifying answer/comments, it was confusing from the start and there were tons of examples of miss use.

I also consider having multiple tags (or allowing to create new tags) makes things worst. You don't know where questions are asked or if you are on the right place. i.e: I'm on the financials tag and also have for AR, AP, AA, BP, Cash Managment, etc. We have one tag for FIN Treasury and another for SAP Treasury and Risk Managment version for the United States (yes, I know, it's all about US :-) ). Both tags post the same questions. The idea of having multiple is good, I like it but if it is controlled. Sorry for adding another topic to the discussion.

A software solution (or platform) is as good as people uses it, and in this case people has paused using it.

I missed old SCN, it was faster, easy to learn, read & find answers.

Kind Regards

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A software solution (or platform) is as good as people uses it

Agreed! That's exactly my point. Comments/answers is not working for the people of SCN. No matter how great it is on many other platforms.

Bartosz Jarkowski Nov 10, 2017 at 09:08 AM

I agree. I don't really see the value in separating comments from answers.

But what makes me curious, how this functionality works fine on portals like stackoverflow?

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"how this functionality works fine on portals like stackoverflow"

Simply different types of questions:

On Stackoverflow:

Specific question that can be answered immediately.

List of answers. Users upvote good answers.

On SAP Community:


Long discussion about additional info related to the question.

Final correct answer (in 90% single answer from single user) accepted by question author.


But what does that really mean behind the lines?

I can't believe that they do/did not receive the same kind of questions, or do you really believe that only higher skilled people finding their way to Stackoverflow? I saw the same quality of low question quality like here when I was active in SAPfans before I immigrated to SDN.

I am not active in Stackoverflow so I can just speculate, but I was a few times there, just a few minutes ago to prepare for this reply, and did also find low quality questions, I also saw that it had many downvotes and was wrong tagged, still the question existed when I was there. I see user names that are not real names like a_horse_with_no_name, too.

So basically the same what I see here.

It looks like they have many professional users who more actively press downvote to express their opinion on the quality of a question, and they also express this in the comments.

So still the question why does it work there? I actually want to ask "Does it work there? or is this just a myth?

If it does, then I think you don't get such users from the beginning, this went probably through a longer "education process", with very strict moderation.

Looking at the results of this search ( I also see no difference to the SAP community, same kind of complaints.

Maybe because it is more a user driven forum, instead of a forum owned by the company itself which defines the boundaries for moderation.

But ultimately I get the impression that it is all about reputation and system driven restrictions based on that which makes the difference.

In SAP forums a downvote either does nothing (todays situation) or it reduced some points but stopped at zero (SCN situation), and the user who downvoted cannot gain anything either.

This seems to me much different over there where I saw this reply from a moderator: "Users posting low-quality content is the one group that is too large for elected moderators to deal with. This is where the system safeguards kick in. The current gradual warning system, followed by posting timeouts, is intended to address this without needing human intervention. It has a ways to go (particularly in dealing with those who try to circumvent it), but I believe that having the system identify, try to educate, and then manage those who don't learn is the right approach."

We neither have a reputation system that encourages downvoting of low quality, nor a system behind that would auto-ban users who post low quality, nor do we have enough users on the answering side who actively to help keeping the quality high with moderation alerts.

If you want higher quality then we need the backing from the owner of the site to enforce it, instead of opening the flood gates for everyone. But then you also must not moan when there are even less questions posted than today.


More then 90% of questions in my area of interest do not contain enough info to answer. In theory the mentioned 90% has to be banned using strict premoderation (and number of high qualified moderators has to be increased significantly). The result will be no activity at all. Do we really want to achieve this goal (only perfect questions)?


The safeguard is not "ban everyone with low content". You get warnings, then timeouts and as a last resort, if all else fails, the ban hammer strikes down. It's not like it comes out of nowhere.


I was talking about questions, not users...


Ah, well then the question is: If nobody can answer these questions because of lack of details, then is it really so bad if they weren't there in the first place or only appear if the user adds the needed details?

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This is a great point, Jürgen. I've answered some of the questions in the comment below (posting here so that you get a notification too :) ).

From what I see, there is no single reason for why it works on SO but doesn't on SCN, it's a combination of many factors. And, like you said, just the whole system works differently. It looks like SCN team tried to take one feature of SO and just implement it without the whole structure that makes it work. But that would be like implementing POs without an approval workflow in SAP and then wondering why no one approves them.


Hi Jurgen,

thanks for really detailed analysis :)

In my opinion, the quality of questions and answers on SO is better than here on SCN. Of course, it doesn't mean you can't find bad examples there.

What makes the difference?

a) The number of moderators (and their engagement). Being a moderator is a hard job and you guys need some help. I remember I read somewhere that you manage 31 tags. That's really impressive, but I really think the work should be split to more people.

b) Too many tags. I very often see questions under strange tags. But due to lack of moderators, the issues are not corrected. This leads to another problem - I can't filter the questions based on tags (well, the entire Q&A list doesn't work as expected which doesn't make the things easier).

EDIT: I would love to see some statistcs - how many (active) moderators have SCN and SO per 1000 questions.

c) Corrections to questions - on SO I saw few times that a question was grammatically corrected by moderators, the code samples had corrected formatting. I have never seen such things here on SCN. I used to report the wrong questions, but as the average time for a moderator to reply was longer than a few days. I just thought it doesn't make sense.

d) Why should people engage and help SCN? On SO you are collecting points, you get the recognition and I heard some stories that you can even get a job. SCN? You get points that are hidden, the usability of the platform is really poor and even if you try to write some blogs they are drowning in the ocean of pseudo-marketing posts that very often I don't even understand. I believe that if there were more ways to recognize people in our community, more of them would become active. That means the number of moderators would also increase.

e) And the last point would require some statistics. How many questions are being asked by people who were already using SCN? Or maybe our users are only coming here to ask a question once (and maybe they don't even check the answer - that would explain why it's so difficult to get the Correct Answer).


a) My guess is that there are not many qualified people queuing up to become moderators and the tools that mods got after October 2016 are not significantly better than what we see in the rest of the site.

b) Not much that we can do at this point, hopefully the grouping of topics will improve the situation (if topic grouping is done with the help of moderators and other topic experts). Personally, I do not find SO easy in terms of content discovery. For tags/questions that I find interesting I would subscribe via RSS, I guess. From what I see in my RSS reader the comments in SO questions are not retrieved, which makes it inferior to what AH has built-in.

c) Corrections to questions by moderators or other members - setting aside the problems of allowing non-moderators to edit posts on this site, the OP does not learn much if others fix his/her formatting and spelling mistakes.

d) I am glad that there are no points/badges at present - with the current system point hunters will only amplify the problems.

e) Maybe Jamie Cantrell could tell if it is possible to obtain and share such information about SAP Community with the large audience, but from what I see, it is fairly common in SD that the OP asks a question and never comes back to provide additional details, let alone mark a reply as best answer. Usually I look at the OP's history and if I see that he/she asks a lot of questions and does not act as a responsible member by providing own solution or mark answers as correct or marks a random reply as best answer, I decide not to spend time on the new question. My understanding is that the problem is not platform-specific, but depends on the audience and project organization (functional support is often tier-based and if you cannot solve an issue within certain time frame or if the solution requires more expertise and authorizations - you escalate it or reroute it to a different level/team).


a) Agree! But SAP should do something to change that! And I think point d) addresses it.

b) Yes, let's see how grouping will work.

c) Partially agree. My question was corrected once in SO and since that time I'm trying to follow the rules. So this really depends on the OP, but I agree with our one-time users this might not work well.

d) I think points are not the only way to recognize people. I really like the idea of Appreciation Awards. Every month we get the Member of the Month. Maybe we could find another way to award people without points?

e) Not always, but I also follow your rules to answer a question. And I'd love to see an icon saying that it's the first user question or the user is active on the SCN (like green - the first 5 questions, orange - at least one Correct answer selected, etc).


Moderation here is voluntarily and people do it on top of their paid jobs. The best SAP could do is probably providing moderators with tools that would make the moderation tasks easier (this is only an assumption as I have no knowledge of what tools moderators have here and how these compare in terms of efficiency to the tools in other platforms).

Re: moderator appreciation - there is moderator spotlight blog series (accessible via the jumbo menu) dating back from 2011, but it does not seem to incentivize many people to become moderators. I do not know if many members are aware of the link via which members can nominate moderators to be featured.

Unfortunately, after the October launch some members do not understand what the Accept link below an answer means and they mark a random answer as the correct one, which is sometimes worse than not marking anything at all. From usability perspective I would have renamed it as Mark as Correct Answer or something similar. Considering that many members here are not native English speakers it is best to avoid as much as possible any ambiguity. In general, I agree that it would be great to see some statistics about a member, but the metrics that I am most interested in are difficult or impossible to retrieve in an automated way on this platform - e.g. average time to respond to more information request. The info that you are after is obtainable from the user profile and AH/OSQA have something similar, maybe with some adjustments it can be implemented on this site as well.


Re: d) if only most OPs bothered to come back and just add a "thank you" comment, I think that would be an improvement. (Maybe right now some are doing that but we just don't see notifications because they post it as an answer.)

I agree with Veselina that switching on Gamification on top of poorly functioning platform might cause more problems. It needs to be a concerted effort at this point: simplification (e.g. get rid of comment/answer, gazillions of tags, bloated activity stream), stability (fix the bugs already), login (at least should be able to change an email for cripes sake), "what's in it for me" (e.g. gamification, awards, etc.). Only then we can wholeheartedly invite everyone to join or to come back to give it another chance. SAP already blew it in 2012 and 2016, this should be the last one.


31 and much - depends on the point of view. From the content it does not necessary mean more effort when former spaces like MM and LE were splitted into countless tiny little tags, especially as the number of posts went downhill since the launch. But yes, it was more work as the platform is not as easy to use as it was with the communications previously, and these many thousand tags added even 80% work on top with wrong tagged content, but only to those moderators who clean their house, those who just wait for an alert might even have less to do because of the lower traffic. Also my number of moderated tags goes down with the tag cleansing which is currently ongoing, and luckily most exotic tags with misleading names

Active moderators is as well a number which is hard to measure and probably only measurable on their last logon date. Otherwise a second and third MM moderator would eventually be listed as inactive when I processed all alerts before they had a chance to look after (especially because of different time zones). But sometimes it is even counterproductive to have many moderators as each one may think an other one does take care about this blog or that alert.

Nevertheless we always were short on moderators and some effort has been made recently to onboard more, e.g. with this blog and also at TechEd if I remember right from some information I got.

If I also remember right then there was originally a thought on letting people edit other people questions and answers, and I am strongly against this approach, one reason are the spammers, other reason was already mentioned by Veselina, and it is already discovered that people edit their own question after an answer and letting the people who had answered look like stupid. I am not going to edit other people content to let them look good in public. Such doing would also further spoil your activities, such things could be better supported with a spell checker, X errors found ==> auto rejection or not letting save.

I edit the tags if I think that the post is not right under my tags and the post may be worth to be answered, for poor content I rather alert the the moderator instead of editing.

We have a special group dealing with reputation. I saw statements that everything is well in place and ready for a launch, but we put this launch on hold as there are more important things that have to be fixed first, e.g. the cleanup of the tags. Making the Karma only visible to one self was certainly a result of the previous experience with point gamers and badge hunters. While I am sure that you could get some desired behavior with points and badges it will also return those who cause more work, but I honestly believe that more people would start blogging again and also force then the marketing stuff into the background, which is in my believe so overrepresented since the rest is missing.

Newbie questions start with premoderation, I have not the feeling that this number increased. I also check the user profile when questions are of poor quality, and not seldom see that the user has registered some years ago, but I can't tell if they were fallen in coma for some time or restarted their career again after an unemployment phase.


Good question. In addition to what Vadim mentioned, SCN is simply not StackOverflow. It never was and never will be.

- SCN is owned by SAP, SO does not belong to a single software vendor AFAIK.
- SO is mostly for developers (and Answer Hub is clearly sold as a "developer platform"), SCN is not.
- Number of active users (and moderators, I presume) on SCN is much smaller.
- SCN has a long history (10+ years!) of living with "replies".

All of this influences behavior in some way. E.g. less users means less people downvote or report to moderators. For posting things like some people do on SCN in many other communities one would be tarred and feathered and chased out of town. Moderation on SCN is more "kumbaya" than anywhere else. But I don't think changing it to "tar and feather" would be a good idea. First of all, it's a global community and I do see some people genuinely struggling with just using proper words. Second, this will just never happen on a corporate-owned web site, period.

But without such strict moderation + 95% users guiding the misguided 5% + non-existent change management + no incentives it's not feasible to implement such a major change as switching from replies to questions/comments. Before someone goes "ding-ding-ding" and thinks "oh, we just need to provide an incentive here": NO! It's too late. Even whatever is left from the active user base on SCN are already sick and tired of comments/answers. Just get rid of it and move on.


And one extra thing to mention: same question on SCN can have different correct/best answers depending on different business cases (compared to developers questions on SO). In most questions the business case is discussed after the question is asked. SCN is a combination of consulting, business analysis, development and administration.


Yes, question complexity on SCN can be much higher than in an average developer forum. That's why "discussion" is, in fact, more productive format for SCN than Q&A with side-comments. Even though many questions are not detailed enough from the start, I've seen quite a few (including some of my own) where need for more information arises after some replies are posted.

These days even in ABAP forum we start asking whether the question involves HANA or what ABAP version OP is on. Because the answers can be drastically different. And OP might not even realize it.


One good example of an SCN question:

Good thing at least there is just one answer and I was able to follow the whole story in the comments.


You have raised a very good point. SCN is owned by SAP and StackOverflow is vendor-free. I always thought that having such a big partner like SAP should bring some serious advantages, but now I really feel it just makes things more difficult.


It should but it doesn't. On SDN, SAP was represented by the likes of Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman. They were actually answering questions, posting eLearning content (which was excellent) and blogs that were truly informative.

There are still few people like that in "SAP Community" now but, unfortunately, the rest seem to be actually asking questions (which vendor should not ask here IMHO) or trolling in Business Trends.


As I have sometimes stated a year ago, there is a different (and small) SAP Q&A forum based on the OQSA software, the free "small brother" of AnswerHub, here:

It's certainly a small forum with low volume (particularly in the last weeks), but IMHO there the difference between answers and comments works well. I often use comments for the reasons given here (say, ask for more information, comment on other postings, "guesses" when I'm not sure whether my approach will work), and use answers when I do know them.

Comments can be turned into answers and vice versa lateron, so it's no problem if one has initially used the other form. Of course, any nested comments will be converted with their "parent". FWIW, one can also convert them into a new question, handy for those cases a discussion raises another question.

Of course not every user seems to get the notion of (nested) comments and answers, but it generally works as desired.


Well, what works there fine, seems not to work here.

I'm thinking it has to do with a somewhat different audience: Probably the SQL Anywhere users are mostly developers and are ready to ask questions for real problems and are usually prepared to give more details and try some approaches, so there are only a low rate of questions where the OP seems to forget she has posted them at all... We now and then get some of those "do my homework" questions but it's no big problem.

I'm guessing this difference has also to do with the fact that the according product (SQL Anywhere) as "invisible database" is not that popular and therefore not "sexy" w.r.t. career opportunities...