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The Grumpy Old Man’s Disappointment

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try to bottle my anger up and to keep my shirt on when I get frustrated/annoyed about things. Unfortunately the latter didn’t last for long. Well to be honest it’s not so much due to frustration as disillusionment. And this disenchantment was caused by you – member of the SDN community. What happened?


On Dec 19th (my birthday), Mark, as by tradition, initiated a Best of SDN 2005 your suggestions … asking us to look back over the past year and praise what we considered to be the best of SDN. Due to the time difference I was unable to respond immediately and only did so some 9 hours later. I was rather surprised to still be the first to answer, knowing that 9 hours are donkey’s years in the ABAP forum. In next to no time a multitude of answers can be formulated. Even if I set my RSS reader to a 1 minute interval and I type my answer real quick, others can often get ahead of me with the same answer.


However this certainly wasn’t the case for this particular thread. In fact it took almost another day before the next answer was posted. Even after a month (period Dec 19th – Jan19th), and prompting from at least 5 people via web logs, e-mail and the contributors corner for people to post their experiences, the counter indicated only 54 posts. If we subtract the SDN community manager’s posts we end up with only 46, including the posts from people who either didn’t seem to understand the question or misused the thread for other purposes. If we look at this number in proportion to the amount of people who’ve been reading Mark’s Best of SDN in 2005 (522 on Jan 19th), we have a meagre 8.81% response rate. This is a generous approach since we didn’t calculate in other web logs, etc. If we do, I come to roughly a 2 – 4% response rate. Direct marketers may be in raptures over this result, but I certainly am not, certainly not in this context.


So I started searching for reasons for the mediocre response rate and came up with this subjective list:



  • given the time of the year and the festivities, you didn’t have a single spare minute of time to respond. It’s possible, but why did 6 people still find the time to write full working applications, in far less time, in response to Craig’s SDN: POINTS BLOW OUT!! – Entries are in!? Yes, if you want to challenge me on that, I admit that the response rate over there was not spectacular either, but the requirements that needed to be met were much higher

  • there is nothing in it for you. Now that’s interesting. Why do you want to put yourself out to respond to other forum threads with the chance that the thread initiator will reward you with 10 points (if anything)? Whereas the whole community (including you) would benefit from your response to Mark’s call for input.

  • you don’t care. Shame on you! The community managers and the whole SDN team deserve better. You don’t need to do it for me, a grumpy old man. And if you don’t want to do it for them, do it for yourself.  At the end of the day you are the beneficiaries.


Summing it up, it’s kind of déjà vu to me. In my Several SDN specimens gathered in a clubhouse and grooved with an excellent coffee in their hand. of late September I commented on the TechEd Vienna that had just taken place: “Speaking of SDN, I was rather disappointed by you the SDN community. I expected more commitment from you guys. The SDN team (and that’s not only Mark and Craig) put a lot of effort into setting up an attractive programme in a nice clubhouse. The response was sometimes rather poor. Sure there were plenty of people when there was nothing else to do or when there were things to give away. However the clubhouse was sometimes practically empty during sessions, even though there were equally interesting things going on there.”


You may find this/me very rude, offending and very subjective. I certainly hope so. It’s up to you, from now on, to provide evidence to the contrary. No need to search for examples in the past, it’s the future that matters.

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  • It's tough sometimes for Mark and myself, there are a lot of you out there and we do are best to be fair and even across the board, in order to accomplish that your feedback is requested and always listened to.

    Eddy you spoke well here in this weblog and I applaud you for you and I commend you for for being so true to the community! Keep up the great work! You help to make Mark and my lives easier!


  • Thanks for the "written soft spanking"
    Do not lose hope, and keep on walking.
    My apologies for the delay I just wrote my comments in the mentioned forum.

    I will revise my behavior in the SDN area as well a in other areas to invest some in answering the efforts of other persons.

    Maybe this is the same symptom observed in absenteeism at elections....

    Regards  Luis

  • You are pretty right Eddy that whatever blog the respons rate is low. Here is from my point of view others reasons to that fact :

    - people are shy 😉

    - lack of times of course (certainly the main factor here).

    - blogs are printed and read elsewhere, even if we'd like to comment we can't atm of the read (and don't do it after)

    - SDN account's politic that prevent us from having a single user (One for us and one for each of our customer). I won't comment with one of my customer account, which mean to delog the customer account, relog with my personal, unlog etc.

    - no added value in the comment so won't be useful (now if you like zero added value comment like "it rocks"  ... why not).

    However keep on, we'll make efforts in response to bloggers one's !

    • Bertrand,
      Thanks for the feedback.
      For the record, I wasn't speaking about web logs in general (although I do find that it's sometimes a one way communication when it comes to web logs) but the lack of response in this particular forum thread and even some other SDN initiatives.
      The purpose of Mark's web log, among others, was to draw the attention to the request for input in a forum thread.
      I don't agree with the no added value argument though. I don't think that the SDN team initiates this kind of forum threads for the single purpose of self-glorification. Compliments are welcome, but I think that one is more interested in how people think about their initiatives, what worked and what not, new ideas, suggestions and of course critisism (like e.g. your opinion about the account's politics) as long as it serves the broader picture and no personal agenda and/or frustration.
      Writing a few sentences doesn't take that much time even for non native speakers. It doesn't need to be a LOTR series;-)


      • "I don't think that the SDN team initiates this kind of forum threads for the single purpose of self-glorification. Compliments are welcome, but I think that one is more interested in how people think about their initiatives, what worked and what not, new ideas, suggestions and of course critisism"

        Well said and exactly what our intention was. We need the feedback from the community to know if we are going in the right direction or not. We also like to hear what the community likes (about others not us) so we can be sure those who stand out get the regoniction they deserve!

  • Hi Eddy,

    Your post reminded me that I wanted to update the Finally Best of SDN 2005 (which I just did). You were the hardest working man in and around the SDN Clubhouse and this post proofs how community oriented you are. It was a bit frustrating to know that an ABAP question would have been answerd within 7 minutes and this thread that really can make a difference for everyone involved on SDN is overlooked by most. Every day there are over 1500 posts written on SDN and of course we don't know all of the heroes that really made a difference with going the extra step, it would have been great to hear more about these. I think it is something we have to learn, and to hear this feedback from an Elder SDN Statesman like you helps a lot in this education process.

    Thanks, Mark. P.S. Soon we will kick off the "How to do the SDN Clubhouse better". New opportunity to make a difference.

  • Hi Eddy,

    I fully share your impressions.
    Enthusiastic about the latest developments around Netweaver I found myself involved a little more in this community. I very much appreciate the foundation of a community committed to this exciting software suite, something I know working well fo a lot of other projects around for so long.

    BUT, hanging out here more often, I feel, there's something different with this community compared to others I take part in.

    For instance, anyone remembering the Blog, where Shai Agassi told us what he [url=I LOVE Open Source---Really!]really loves[/url]?
    There were trillions of blogs comments, heated discussions, cool analyses and much more on this blog elaborating on his controversial earlier statemetnts ELSEWHERE on the internet. Here in the 'epicenter' there are 12 (TWELVE)comments, some of them IMHO rather obscure.
    Why that???
    Another strange thing to me was taking part in the blowout challenge you mentioned. Whenever I post some script or utility, which I consider to be maybe a little useful to others on whichever forum or script/utility directory I am impressed how many people out there immediately get that information and test drive that stuff, download, call it great or bullshit, ask for support or even try to hack my webserver. Next to none of this happenend to my contribution to the challenge after I released it. Well, I don't get grumpy over this personally, I just wonder why this is.

    Trying to explain this for myself, I come to think that there's some strange lack of empathy responsible for this. Why is this?? Over-professionalism? Misunderstanding the community (and it's content) for some service provided by SAP and included in a standard SAP license? Like an OSS Add-On? Historically grown attitude of SAP users used to kind of live on isolated islands and not used to communicate with alikes on other islands?

    Probably it's a mixture of those reasons and some more. But this makes me feel positive for the future, since the Netweaver EcoSystem will attract more and more new people from different areas, bringing in new attitudes and hopefully emotion.

    Humm, was this lamenting worth anything? Probably not. After all there are also a lot of great people here providing cool contributions qand there are the community managers, who seem do their best to bring some spirit in here.

    I still like the idea and  will contribute to and benefit from the community in the future.