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What is the reason behind having Comments and Answers?

Nov 17, 2016 at 02:39 PM

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It would appear that there is little value in having two different response types. Many of the answers end up being in Comments which makes it difficult for the author to Accept the Right Answer. Why not just have Answers so the dialog is simpler?

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The only difference between these two what I could find is through comment, if we want to convey any message only to OP, we can do this. Of course, other Moderators can also view that. Also, while you can down vote for Answers, for Comment, it is not possible. Only the SCN development team can give some appropriate comment on this. Really, either of one should be made available with all the options.

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9 Answers

Jürgen L
Nov 17, 2016 at 06:23 PM
7

,

I know in general what the difference is between comments and answers, and I think many others here too.

However, often a thrown-in comment to an earlier answer might actually be the solution to the problem. That's just the same as in many meetings, one raises the questions, others talk about it loud and finally you have the solution - and the answer to the question is formulated in the meeting minutes.

Just look at an example from yesterday: https://answers.sap.com/questions/61459/in-sales-order-conditions-tab-condition-value-colu.html

Kıvanç answered, the user commented to this answer that he did not understand, I added a comment to this comment , basically translated Kıvanç mathematics into words. And I am still the opinion that it was only a comment that I made, nevertheless it turned out to to be the answer to his problem. Now we are in the situation that this question can only be closed without "best answer" since the answer was only a comment. And I know there are plenty of such cases. The number of questions with "best answers" (former known as correct answers) is currently about 20 - 25% in the MM space (former 30 -35 %). I directly link this drop to the concept of comment and answers.

Many times the answer is a result of a continuous process with several replies.

And exact this fact with several answers and comments makes discussions currently hard to follow, you can't directly jump from your activity stream to the right content, in longer discussions you are totally lost to find this content at all as the confusion got an extra kick with the default sorting by votes, which itself pulls a continuous stream apart.

And because of this I want just REPLIES instead of answers and comments.

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Sorry I am going a bit off the track here but just noticed the issue related to tagging user seems to be fixed now or have you manually created a hyperlink? Coz I was still not able to add a user tag !

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I only copied his name from his answer which also brought the link over , this is neither tagging nor giving him a notification.

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Jelena Perfiljeva
Nov 17, 2016 at 08:22 PM
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We've already had a long discussion (or even more) on this but, of course, I can't find it because my profile no longer shows what I've participated in.

Anyways, I also understand the purpose in general and explained it here but I would vote to remove the comments/answers in favor of simply "replies". It adds no value and only causes confusion. I bet most community members would be in favor of this but, as you know, we are not the ones deciding...

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Gregory Misiorek Nov 17, 2016 at 06:01 PM
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agreed, unnecessary complication as sometimes answers are comments, too.

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Jürgen L
Nov 17, 2016 at 09:05 PM
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What if the deciders want to hear the opinion of the community?!

We could just do a poll.

People who do not want answers and comments up-vote Michael's question

People who want to keep answers and comments down-vote this answer.

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Allow me to comment on your answer to Mike's question ;) Unfortunately the seldom used polling feature was left behind in Jive...

I personally have issues with the whole concept of Q&A - if we just referred to these answer hub things as 'discussions' then the threading model (ideally chronologically threaded - similar how this comment is indented/associated to your answer) would not have the need for any distinguishing difference between attempted answers vs. comments. The whole dialog below the original author's post should be readable and easy to follow the history of the conversation/discussion. All the up and down voting that changes the order of the answers, along with the top heavy comments makes it a very choppy discussion and difficult to follow, especially if you enter from the activities feed on something you are following.

Long story short, I guess I will up vote Mike's question.

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So how do we make this question more visible to the public?
We have no poll option, the sticky function from AnswerHub is not available yet, we have no real status updates to promote it to followers, most people don't use topic pages (and there are no topic pages for all tags, anyway), blogs are just as hard to find as questions, only a few visit Coffee Corner. Even if this gets posted in the the overview page - how many use it as a starting point?
The opinion of community members on this topic has been expressed several times, unfortunately the design team is more in favor of educating people, instead of recycling the concept, so unless this question gets a lot more views and up/down-votes - from more than just the regular posters, I seriously doubt that this stands a chance.
Do we have it posted somewhere in Idea Place? At least there is a clear visibility how many and who up/down-voted, while here I can see how many and who exactly up/down-voted a question or answer, but only as a total.
I have up-voted Mike's question before Jürgen's answer, but as I support removing the answer/comment distinction, I will keep it that way :)

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Before voting, how could I read the mision from "new SAP community" ?

I mean, mentors from this "Q&A" site, must think about this system, and have an idea to implement comments and answers.

  • Q&A site without comments, will be only Q&A site.
  • Q&A site with comments, will be discussion site. (Like a forum).

What did "SAP team" think when move old SCN to this new SAP community?

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Moshe Naveh
Dec 19, 2016 at 07:06 AM
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After additional discussion with both users and our own development team, we have decided not to change the current approach to comments and answers in the Q&A solution. Changing the interface would require a new prioritization of features and fixes, and we would prefer to focus on other issues. Additionally, during demonstrations of the new Q&A solution at SAP TechEd Barcelona, we received positive feedback. Since comments are mixed -- some members like the new solution, some members don't -- we'd also like to give people an opportunity to get used to the options for answers and comments. Long term, we still feel confident that the comments/answers approach will provide clearer responses to questions and create the best possible resource for visitors looking for information. Short term, we will continue to work to educate users about the Q&A solution -- and to make the interface clearer. For starters, we recently published a Tip in a Minute video explaining when and how to leave comments or answers for questions ((link: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/29/tip-in-a-minute-comments-vs.-answers/)). We're also preparing changes to the Q&A interface so there is better differentiation of answers and comments (collapsing comments to give more visibility to answers).

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Hi Moshe,

Thanks for the update. Fair enough, I’ll give it a try to live with the two options.

One thought occurred to me just today: Will Comments and Answers be incentivized differently in regards to Karma-Credits? If this is the case, it might motivate some people to use the wrong (more “lucrative”) category by intention (while now they do it just out of confusion).

Best
Joachim

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Can you outline this new feature of "collapsed comments" a little more?

I feel this will even add more confusion and frustration when people have to open collapsed comments to see what was added (after they found it as activity in their activity stream)

There is no open comment box at the beginning, just an open answer box. Comment is a link at any reply, or do you want to collapse this link?

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As far as I understand they want to collapse the comments on a question (for this question it would be

Lakshmipathi's comment).

I have the same thought as you do: now we need to open those up, if a new comment to a question is added?

Will comments on answers also be collapsed by default? Can I have a choice, please? I'd rather see comments on a question in the same reply "flow" as the answers, that would make more sense IMO.

.

Regards,

Steffi.

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But comments on the question, if used correctly, are about clarifying the question. You have to read those before submitting an answer, to be sure you are answering the right question surely? Having them collapsed by default means people just won't read them, and therefore any answers may not make sense?

Right? Or not...?

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Yep. I think, the most issue I have with the comments on the question is that they are seperate from the answers. So you kind of have two areas of replies on one question and that can get really confusing.

Also if there are so many answers, that you have paging, then going to the next page jumps back to the top of the question where the question-comments are and you have to scroll back down to the answers.

So in the end you have 3 kind of replies: comments on the question, answers and comments on the answers. No wonder that people are confused and reading a question (especially with the default sorting by votes) takes a lot of concentration and work on the readers part. It's more like a puzzle: find the correct order.

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"Long term, we still feel confident that the comments/answers approach will provide clearer responses to questions and create the best possible resource for visitors looking for information."

Sorry, but in the real life it's not working! I can tell it from my own experience having today 380 answer in my profile (and even more - comments). I do not want to repeat now all arguments already posted here multiple times. Just want to see any person actively answering questions who like the answer/comment approach!

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I like the answer/comment approach.

I don't like how it is currently being (mis-)used, and I'm not sure it is going to be easy, or even possible, to get people to use it properly, but if it was used properly I think it would be better than the single comment thread that others seem to want.

Maybe I'm the only one:-)

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Unfortunately it will never be used properly. It can be used properly only with some theoretical users not in real life. And in some cases even with specially trained users the ability to convert comment to answer can damage the discussion logic.

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If that's true, and I agree it might be, then we should stop spending any effort on "fixing" the current system or educating people to use it properly, and direct those efforts towards designing and building something that will work and the people can use.

That is, of course, not our call...

Moshe seems to be aware of others besides me who like the design of the current system. He has a difficult decision.

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One would only need to remove (or inactivate) the comment link in answers and comments then we have just answers and old discussions would still show the comments as the overall design is not affected.

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Not so simple - answer can't be related to another answer - hierarchy of replies will be lost!

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So you want to disable comments on questions and on answers leaving just answers as a single chronological thread?

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I am not sure that the opinion of the top contributors was analyzed. And this feature is critical especially for top contributors: the ability to quickly answer the question based on clear discussion structure.

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Michael Appleby
Nov 17, 2016 at 09:31 PM
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Possibly Comments could be reserved for Moderators only? Not sure if AH has that capability, but that would allow direct communications with the poster without exposing the conversation to all. Moshe, any thoughts on that? Or should we just let them go and use Chat (in Chrome) to communicate with the OP? Might be simpler to go that route.

AH has Discussions (see Coffee Corner for examples). However AH Discussions do not have the option to mark something with a correct answer (Accept). Having an identified correct answer (i. e. a Solution) is valuable. The institutional memory of SCN is in its Correct Answer marked Discussions in the Archive and will now and moreso in the future include the properly answered Questions here. If we go one way or the other, I think keeping Answers and removing Comments is the better path.

Regards, Mike

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Mike, it's probably clear to you and others, but unfortunately not to me right now: What das "AH" stand for?

thanks, Joachim

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AH = AnswerHub

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Ervin Szolke
Nov 22, 2016 at 12:19 AM
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I also upvoted. I remember I had a longer discussion with many replies and comments and it happened that a comment became the solution so I turned it to an answer (there is a feature for this action) which then made the thread a little challenging to follow. here you go https://answers.sap.com/questions/32958/questions-with-zero-responses-second-round.html

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Eli Klovski
Nov 23, 2016 at 10:23 AM
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Please, check this idea and the polemics about it. I also find the comments/answers cocenpt a bit cumbersome

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Jeremy Good
Nov 29, 2016 at 10:48 PM
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For those of you watching this thread - here's one for your notifications feed:

https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/29/tip-in-a-minute-comments-vs.-answers/

P.S. - please note that Jerry referred to our collective feedback about simplifying back to the discussion thread concept.
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