A strange phenomenon is occurring more and more these days: the anonymous SDN community member and/or contributor. These kinds of users appear mostly in the forums. I’ve been wondering for a while now what the idea behind creating an anonymous user is, and what the benefits are. Let’s sum up a couple of possible reasons.
- Fear of possible spam. These fears are groundless in my opinion. There is no way that data provided in SDN will be shared with third parties unless you have given permission. This is clearly outlined in the SAP privacy statement . Your e-mail address in the Business Card is protected against harvesters. In my personal crusade against spammers I strongly insisted that the SDN admins adopt a protection method like Die Mensch-Maschine ,via A Simulation of Semaphores or obfuscation. The SDN admins have chosen the latter. And as said in my web log, you have to take precautions yourself and never state your e-mail address in the forums or scatter it around somewhere else in SDN. In fact you wouldn’t do this in other sites either. At least I hope so.
- As Bertrand mentions in response to my earlier grumpy The Grumpy Old Man’s Disappointment , you want one user for your company. Despite the fact that I understand the need for this, I have some reservations from a practical point of view. Let’s take the SAP Service Marketplace as a starting point. When you open an OSS message, you want to be notified when an answer has been formulated. How can you achieve this when you only want to use an anonymous user with a certain general (and thus anonymous?) e-mail address? Who will receive this notification and will the receiver forward the notification if necessary?
The same thing applies to SDN when you post a thread in the forums. Furthermore what will happen if you are entitled to an SDN T-shirt or even win an iPod? Who does the SDN admins need to send all these goodies to when the Business Card isn’t properly filled in? More on the BC later.
- Perhaps you’re an inveterate chatter and/or general forum poster where everybody works with nicknames in order to protect privacy, hide their identity or just because they find their nickname (the) cool(est). Such nicknames have the advantage that you don’t have to personally account for your actions/writings. Let’s make one thing clear once and for all – the SDN community isn’t a chat room or whatever kind of general forum site. Nor is it a dating site, despite much love is The specified item was not found. Storks Flying Over SDN . In case you hadn’t noticed it yet the SDN community is a professional environment.
- Maybe you are shy or afraid. There is no need to be worried. The SDN community won’t do you any harm. Even barking dogs don’t bite. I abandoned my cannibalistic vices a long while ago. In my current situation I can only eat mince meat anyway.
- You think of yourself as some kind of Superman and your alter ego wants to rescue the SDN community from wrongdoers. Sorry to say woolgatherer, there are better places to do so.
- You want to hide because you want to avoid your boss knowing that you are submitting and spending some of its precious time (=money) on SDN. Is this something to be ashamed of? Or are you afraid that your boss will find out that you’re not that fantastic SAP expert after all and that in reality you actually retrieve all your solutions and answers to your problems from SDN? If so, tell your boss that SDN (as SAP) has a very high ROI and that he should even encourage you to work on SDN and even contribute in the form of web logs, articles or simply answer questions in the forums.
You might find being anonymous a comfortable situation for yourself, but it is more than annoying for your fellow SDN community members and certainly for the SDN admins, at least for the aforementioned reasons. Let’s face it. You certainly don’t want to talk IRL to someone hiding behind a mask and whose name you don’t even know. You might even find them a bit of an idiot. Having said this, come out of the closet and make yourself recognizable, use your real name and complete your Business Card. You can decide yourself to what extend you want to share data. But at least we will then know who we are talking to and where the SDN admins need to send the goodies to, or how to contact you.