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Debate: Rewards vs Work vs Value

I would like to trigger a little debate about the reward system on the new SCN.

I'm not much of a forum person, as most of the discussions and questions started on fora, are mostly about existing technology, which still has some glitches, or on which, people look for extra info. It's a very practical place for common knowledge, but to me, it's messy and the content is largely unstructured. It only happened a handful of times that I posted a question myself on the fora, and I can't remember any actually being solved. That's not because of the community, but simply because of my own way of working. I like to work with completely new stuff, or use existing technology in a way it hasn't been used before. As a consequence, little knowledge on these topics will exist in the fora.

Blogging on the other hand, is much more my cup of tea. I like to try out new technology and then share my experience on it with the community, in a structured (and hopefully well written) manner. When I noticed the new points system for blogs, I really couldn't be arsed actually, because I simply enjoy writing articles and I don't mind the community to judge on the quality of it. I didn't care, until I started thinking about the principle of rewards.

SCN and Community members reward each other for sharing information, experience and knowledge. The reward system is a form of recognition and credibility that is given to contributers. As a blogger, I easily put 2 hours in writing a qualitative article. In ye ol'e SDN, this was checked by community moderators, and appraised on a scale from 0 to 120. So putting in 2 hours or even 2 days, was well worth it to see your recognition jump that way.

On the new SCN however, you get 10 points for initial posting of your blog, and you have to count on the likes and bookmarks to accrue more recognition. I see some problems with this.

a) With a simple five minute forum post, I can get those 10 points too, and probably some likes as well (did the test, proved the point, gained 12 points)

b) My latest article only has 2 Likes, a bookmark and a rating so far, good for 18 points. I spend a lot of time in the bloggospace, and that's actually not even a bad result, it seems.

c) Posting a question as a blog also earns you 10 points. Not sure if you lose them when the blog is removed. Incentive to abuse?

I had more points in my head, but Monday morning is playing tricks on me again.

From a recognition point of view, it looks to me that blogs are currently undervalued in the new Community. There is less moderation on it, less recognition and the RSS troubles make it difficult to move your work into the spotlights. (plus, it's taking painstakingly long to get those last 64 points for gold status ðŸĪĢ . I'm only human too, I care about status symbols in some way 😀)

These considerations will not stop me from blogging, but it does weigh down on the overall quality and willingness to share info.

I would like to hear your opinions, extra remarks, ideas, or simply rants 😉 It would be nice if we could help SCN in balancing the recognition system.


A significant point which I have overlooked in my Monday blurriness is the fact that the new system allows you to accumulate recognition over a longer period of time, with a, ever growing audience, for a single contribution. Whereas in the past you had "instant" points, and that was it.

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10 Answers

  • Mar 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I share your concerns. As a moderator in the ABAP space I have deleted several simple copy/pastes from SAP Help already, posted obviously to gain a quick tenner. I have also deleted meaningless "good one" type of "reviews", that not surprisingly had at least one "like" (worth 2 points) by the blog author. Sceptical as I am, I see new forms of points gaming coming up by rings that post shallow content and rate and like their peers postings.

    I am of course also deleting blogs and documents that were meant to be a discussion (this is often done without bad intention), emailing the author the text so he can re-post it correctly.

    After deletion, all points are gone, I double-checked that.

    At the same time, good quality content will take a while to be recognized as such, because it takes a large number of dedicated and knowledgeable readers to vote it up.

    SCN management believes that this will work out OK, so what we can do is observe, vote up the good stuff while voting down the bad, leave critical comments, collect and report bad examples, etc.

    In the end, it might really work out OK, or they have to change the system to some extent.


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    • Hi Thomas,

      First: thanks for all the new-style moderating you're doing to keep the new SCN as clean as possible.

      Second: thanks (again) for opening my eyes: as I was reading your remark about down voting bad content, I again (I've had this thought for days now) wished there was something like the downvoting possibility on Idea Place. I almost posted an Idea on Idea Place about this, when I suddenly realized it actually exists: giving a rating of 1 (or 2) stars. But that means that rating content you consume should become almost mandatory. Which really isn't possible/enforceable.

      So the next best thing is (IMO) to advocate rating content as much as possible, in order to get everyone to do it. Which I hope this comment helps to achieve 😊.

      I'm still optimistic that in that case good content will resurface eventually, and that its authors will get rewarded.


  • Mar 26, 2012 at 01:05 PM

    Very good article and I am similar in that I work with very new SAP technology and dont get much value out of the forum even though I am a forum moderator though have spent a lot of time with the 50 blogs I have written on SCN. I am seeing cases in the new SCN where people are getting 60-80 points for answer 1 question while solid SCN blogs are getting 20-30 points in the new system. While I dont care that much about points in general I do care about fairness especially as I know the time that goes into writing a quality blog.

    On the topic of blogs there appears to be some traction started to put in some baseline quality which I am a big proponent of and you can see some of the details in this G+ post

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  • avatar image
    Former Member
    Apr 13, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    I am increasingly gaining the impression that the new SCN is a belittlement of talented school kids (who also wont stick around for long) and not a professional IT community (which has a space for beginners).

    I was hoping very much that with the "likes" and "rating" that content would be given preference. That is was bolted onto the childish points system is a big disappointment for me. Four weeks down the line of the new SCN platform I can only conclude that noise is proliferating and the "repeat offenders" who trolled the old SDN are having a ball. Knowledgable contributors are still trying to find their spaces or wandered off to google as information users.

    The idea of having timeless and new content which is of guru quality being featured with less moderator intervention is what I was hoping for. Encouraging the search instead of posting a blog about "How to I find the table" without an attempt at finding a solution first which is very well documented already ...

    ... or using google.

    More google... More (release irrelevant) linkfarms...

    Good luck!

    Cheers, Julius

    ps: Please support the initiative that the points system be removed or degraded significantly., by thinking about it, what it means for you, and commenting.

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    • Julius,

      as much as i like the points, i think i will continue posting content to wiki's even though it seems to have stopped showering them for simply creating pages. the reason is quite simple, i plan to use my content in the future and i invite others to add to and to correct my pages. i'm also perfectly happy to keep my original blogs where they are, ie in my personal space. editing to make them usable again seems like too much effort for what it's worth as i'm still missing one simple entry point to view all the blogs and comments as they were coming down "the wire".

      on the positive side i like the twitterlike features with followers and status updates, even though i can't share content during my "working" hours. i don't see a need to attach points in those areas, either.

  • Mar 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Maybe we should award points for "liking" or "don't like" (1 point) and "rating" (2 points). While you would most assurdedly have folks clicking everything in sight just to get points, you could put some limits on this. For instance you would be limited in points to be gained each month (not in the ability to like or rate however), this way to say 200.

    Those folks that blog, create discussion, etc... should see a large increase in the number of likes and ratings for a given posting, keeping their point totals well ahead of those who just like and rate and not really contributing. Overall, everyone would have higher point totals but should still remain fairly relative to each other. The point totals required for certain badges might need to be raised.

    Joe FF

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  • Mar 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you Tom for initiating such an interesting thread and rich discussion.

    I think time will tell. I take your comments seriously when you say that there is an unfairness about points for discussions and points for blogs and documents. I'll continue to watch what others say about this and if necessary we'll have to think about changing point values. For the time being, I keep observing.

    I think with time the community will understand how important it is to rate and like content. It should become part of our DNA, it's just a click or two when you're on a page, it's not difficult. We're not even one month into the launch, but as time goes by there will be more and more content, and people will see how much we rely on ratings, likes, number of comments and views to see what content is worth exploring.

    This leads to content reputation. Points are one thing, but I want us to move away from points a little bit and think about other ways to highlight and recognize quality content and those who provide it. This is just an idea I'm throwing out there, but what if we had ways to aggregate the number of likes/shares etc and calculate the score of someone (e.g. popularity for number of likes compared to the number of content contributed; expertise for the average of 5-star rating, etc etc)? What if we were showing this information in each space? Would it be valuable? Or would people be more encouraged to game the system?

    About gaming: I'm waiting to see what happens, I'd like to see the thread that got so many points, so maybe @Luke Marson can DM me the link, or I'll try to find it in the Moderators space. This is information that is useful to me as I look into potential point limits.

    We have noticed how often discussion content is posted as blogs or documents, this is really annoying and benefits no one. We SCN Team, together with SCN Moderators, take action and delete the content and the points. We're also looking at ways to proactively avoid this - Jon Reed's suggestion about 350-word blogs is a good one and it's being explored at the moment, and we're making tweaks to better inform members before they publish a blog or document. For me this is the biggest quality issue at the moment, and it's a real pain I have to say.



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    • Thanks for the DM Luke, I will take a look at it. Yes I saw your other comments and I will not worry too much about it, I just wanted to see an example with a high number of likes.

      FYI: it's just 2 points for a like.


  • Mar 28, 2012 at 07:06 PM

    Hey Tom

    Nice discussion you got going here. What worries me also is that I didn't capture this discussion earlier. Looks like I have plenty of work to do to get my old vibe going to be able to shime in where I want to and get to the good stuff efficiently.

    Regarding the points system, I have noticed a similar effect as well as what you seen and what many others describe in this discussion thread.

    Some are already "gaming" the system and are on the lure for sure outputting crappy content, lousy discussion answers, requesting points to be awarded for each answer and so on.

    It was the case on the old SCN and it's not going to change now. There are lots of members who try to game the system and the only thing that can stop them is moderation and other community members.

    The thing about blog points and points over time is also tricky because what you didn't get before and what you will get now is that in spaces that are less popular or have a smaller population, blogs will not get rewarded equally compared to spaces that are very popular. Chances are very high that the blogs in #sapadmin space for example receive a small amount of points where-as a blog about SAP Netweaver Gateway or Mobile or whatever topic has a larger audience and will receive much higher point assuming both blogs are of equal quality of course.

    We didn't have that problem in the old SCN were moderators would "judge" the blog content as they have insight in that specific topic.

    Time will tell of course but the way it looks now, chances are high that if the top participants widget would form the base for Top Contributors you will be seeing community members on stage that are active on the forum and are not bloggers. Is that a problem? It depends because some discussions are very very basic.

    For example:

    Where can I find the installation guide for SAP Netweaver 7.3?

    That's a question that you shouldn't have to ask in the first place. Giving a quick answer to this takes two seconds and whoever answers that can get rewarded with lots of points for no good reason.

    The correct answer is type "SAP Netweaver 7.3 installation guide" in Google and click the first link so in fact the answer should be that the person posting the question should put effort in at least trying to find the information himself.

    Lets take this very drastically, this could happen:

    The result might be that when Top Contributors are called on stage at SAP TechED this year, for the #sapadmin space for example, you end up with a community member on stage who knows where the installation guide for SAP Netweaver 7.3 is located. I wouldn't exactly call out that they are "experts" or have certain "expertise" in one or more SAP area's.

    I have already expressed my concerns regarding the SCN reputation "pointers". There was a SCN reputation council consisting out of a number of SAP Mentors and community members and it looks like it wouldn't be a bad idea to get that council going again and to discuss things further in detail how the whole points system can thrive on the new SCN.

    Kind regards


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    • Hi Tom,
      Thank you, you've put a lot of thoughts into this and these are very good points. I don't know yet how we will recognize the topic leaders in the topic spaces, to be honest. We have way more categories than before and I'm trying to figure out what makes sense.

      I was away part of last year but this year I definitely want to resume our conversations as part of the Reputation Council. I need a bit more time to do so, given the amount of work at the moment with the new SCN - and the fact that I want to observe behaviors a bit more.

      And I think I also need to find out how to log on to Streamwork again, last time I tried and it didn't work 😕 Stay tuned.


  • Mar 30, 2012 at 02:13 PM

    This might be a bit off topic but...

    Why are the points so very important to so many people on SDN?... I understand the points system tries to reflect someone's reputation "earned" in the community, but I honestly don't value any person's contribution higher just because his bagde is shinier than someone else's or he's got a golden-melon-badge or whatever else there is, do you? I understand the concept > better content results in more points, i.e. probably a higher level of 'suggested' expertise, i.e. a better reputation and so on but this whole concept is highly vulnerable to abuse and, in my humble opinion, simply not representative. I measure the value of content by the means it helped me with my work or broadened my horizon etc, and THIS makes me remember/respect certain people, NOT the amount of points they have.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound like "arrrrgh points are all stupid, this discussion is meaningless", although I probably do... ðŸĪŠ . It's just, WHAT are these points to you?

    • Are they your flagship, so people might say "look them shiny badges, he must be competent!"
    • Are they... a gratification of your effort you put into the work for the community?
    • Does it just feel good having a lot of points to arch yourself up above others?

    I don't mean to provoke people, I'm merely curious. To me, points are were a good use to track threads which I contributed in but didn't set a "watch" out of laziness, quite convenient on the old SDN... didn't find out if there is such an option available on the new platform now 😕

    BTT: Agreeing with Laure/Prateek on leaning back and wait to have more input for a reasonable evaluation.

    Cheers, Lukas

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    • I think points are important for some members, especially those who're just starting on SCN. It's like a validation of their work. And yes I do hope that it's a correct validation of their effort, but I know sometimes it isn't. I think going away from points a little bit as we focus on content and member reputation would do us good, but I want it do be done wisely.


  • Mar 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM

    Hi Tom,

    here are my "points" for you. i think that quality content takes time to be recognized but it will stand the test of time as well. if something is good it remains relevant even when the author is not around to actually exeprience it. i don't officially moderate anything, but i see good and bad content on both forums and blogs. i am more forgiving if i can learn something new from the content. 10/80 ratio seems a bit tilted, but as Ethan has pointed out you will get more and more likes as your content spreads, so 10 becomes 80 eventually.

    at this point, i still haven't found a sweet spot between blogs, forums, discussions and the like and they all look the same when they come by way of a short url, which more and more of them do. since i create a very narrow content which is of interest to a small group and i strive to be 'objective' i found wikis a good place to keep my notebook updated. the points are generous at the moment, but you cannot expect too many likes or dislikes of dry content, unless it gets removed when someone simply copies and pastes help files which happens in all 'spaces'.

    i'm keeping all my previous blogs in personal space forthe moment as i wouldn't even know how to keep them current and relevant in the new format.

    reaching for gold,


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    Former Member
    Mar 28, 2012 at 07:00 PM

    This is an interesting discussion... Does anybody remember how the very early SDN worked when you could get points just for a simple 1 line response (like this!) and even just for logging in if I remember correctly?

    I think ultimately, some members are always going to try and "game" the points system. The question is always the same -what are they actually achieving? I'm quietly optimistic that all of the mechanics involved in the new SCN contents & points systems should hide the gamers and reward the true contributors. I guess we need more than a couple of weeks to see how that works out...


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    Former Member
    Mar 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM

    I totally agree with Tom. and Laure Cetin and others as well as we all have a different Point of View. While the quality of the content increases as you like and rate a content, the question is how many people actually do it i.e. rate or like a answer or a blog/document after reading it? There are many users who just ignore the thread after getting the answer for the question. Or read the document and learn and acknowledge that it helped them?

    Even though we contribute for the learning of each other, we all do like to be acknowledged. Points just show that your contribution helped. But there are many people who are in just for points.

    Also I'm sure most of us know that people put it in their resume too that they have so many points and it is also asked or talked about in interviews.

    And if points are not so important why do we have the reputation program or identification of active contributors or different badges for people..... I'm sure this is to encourage members to deliver quality content. And previously moderators would assign points for documents or blogs where as now I've seen people copying content from else where on the internet and its being left alone and even they get points for copying already posted content onto SCN (I'm sure this is not the quality we want). Where are the moderators now...

    Not to provoke anyone but just few thoughts

    Regards, Joe

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    • Hey Thomas

      I don't use "lazy" in my replies but that would be what would run through my mind if I would blur out the honest reply I could give.

      I also receive a lot of questions around the topic. I have blogged about finding the right information in the past already and I will probably repeat that because there are also community members who are not "lazy" to search but who search in the wrong way, in the wrong places.

      Finding the right information is valuable and one can learn how to do that of course.

      Kind regards