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Author's profile photo Craig Cmehil

Is it good to be back?

As I wrote in a blog about Communities emerging…. things there went PERFECT! However not everything did here on SDN in that time. Now by writing this I’m probably doing what they call “political suicide” however I feel that the SDN community is one strong enough to realize what I am saying and why. My inbox for a little more than a week of being gone contained about 900 mails, now 300 of these where from my forum watches, newsletters, FYI’s, etc. so I was able to quickly delete them, the remaining 600 or so were ones I needed to respond to. This leads me to my first gripe against many an individual here, it’s regarding t-shirts. There are over 400,000 users registered on SDN – not all are eligible but many are. We’ve finally gotten a system in place where I send a list each week to a shipper who takes the time to kindly email everyone on the list and confirm their mailing address. Now for the most part this works, sometimes though things get lost in the mail and is seems to happen quite often going towards India – not sure if this is normal or not but what I can’t stand is someone emailing me 4 times with a basic HATE MAIL demanding to know where their t-shirt is. (Be warned anyone responding to this blog about not getting their t-shirt most people now assume you are the hate mailer.) Look I feel horrible when someone doesn’t get their shirt, so much so that I try to do everything I can to fix the problem, but I can’t change the mail system. What I ask is that after 4 weeks if you have not received your mail and that is 4 weeks from the confirmation email you received about your address then do a REPLY to mail – by mailing me you delay the process. If there is a problem with that email not going through then PLEASE EMAIL ME! So day 1 back, stress level 20% thanks to “Hate mails”. While I was on vacation I read 7 novels, a personal best for considering I had family visiting from the US, my wife and son here that all needed entertaining. Vacation was from May 25 (public holiday) to May 7. First day back was the 8th but the week was almost over. So now while I was out for so long the crossing over list and the Contributor’s Corner was not updated, this is one of those things we as a team will need to remedy so that the updates continue regardless of me being here or not, as this is the Community Teams way of letting everyone know what is going on so be sure to check that page out each week!!! In fact I just updated it with some cool stuff going on, also take note of our Community and Techie Columns!

Together with our Community Reporters we hope to liven this area up and jam pack it with information for you every week! Your help there is always appreciated! So day 1 back, stress level 40% thanks to “Hate mails” complaints about page updates, stress level 15% because the pages are requested so much and the community wants them updated to know what is happening! THANK YOU! As I move into day two of being back (remember I have 3 days in the week at the end of my vacation), I have all these mails and problems concerning cheating in the forums, the SDN Member Referrals points, weblog applications, and junior blogs, etc. OK the SDN Member Referrals points Mark has been dealing with and the Marilyn has been dealing with the weblog related stuff. This leaves the big question about cheating in the forums. Day 2 stress level 50% + 15%(Day 1) = 65%, because people are so petty and inconsiderate to actually waste everyone’s time here on SDN and cheat. One of the reasons why we’ve not announced any iPod winners is because of this, in fact that whole program my be canceled because some little inconsiderate and dishonorable person has decided to try and cheat the system. Now this is where I put my foot down and I will say it here and now – if you are cheating on SDN then you might as well go somewhere else because you are not wanted. I say no more alias names or funny email addresses, be honest about who you are or leave. I will flat out refuse to speak to anyone taking such dishonorable actions that goes for email, telephone and in person during TechEd (this is the part about “political suicide”)! If you want the system or the way things work here on SDN to change then you simply need to speak up, BUT if the community as a whole does not agree with you and you attempt to take things into your hands to make changes then think again! Things get done here in respect to the community as a whole and not the minority. This goes for all things, if you want people to listen then you need to be open and honest about who you are and talk to us when we offer up a chance. You have a daily chance in the SCN Support forum and you also get chances through surveys, want to have your say and be part of the changes on SDN then speak up. So now that I’ve vented my stress level is back to only 35% this of course is higher than I would like. One of the nice things that I didn’t find in my inbox were people complaining about NOT getting points, this used to be a distrubing trend on SDN, it still exists to some extent in the forums where people are doing “points begging”, I won’t name names though and I ask that you DO NOT NAME NAMES either in comments to this blog. I only ask that those of you out there “begging” for points simply stop. Better is to simply start keep tracking of the names of the users not giving you what you think you deserve in terms of points and ignore them in the future – for those of you who say points don’t matter I don’t expect to EVER see you “begging” or complaining about it. In all honesty the forums seem to be our “pain point” in terms of points [no pun intended] and that is the one area that we can not really control in terms of making a user give points. So here’s a suggestion for ALL OF YOU. It’s called Excel, please take the time and make an excel spreadsheet with columns called URL and Date. Save the URL of the thread in which you have not been rewarded points and the end of the month, look through the list to BE SURE you have still not been rewarded points, then EMAIL that spreadsheet to me. For all threads more than 30 days old that have had no points rewarded to you I will go through and see what I can do – HOWEVER if I do this and at the end you still have no points for that thread it’s end of dicsussion no appeals. Also if I see that you have been given points even it was only 2 points then I will minus 1 point from your total. So if you send me a list of 50 URL’s and in 10 of them you were rewarded points I will minus 10 points from your overall Total. Anyone who maintains a list of “ignore” users is welcome to send that to me as well and if I see individual names appearing on mulitple people I will contact that user and ask if there is a problem with rewarding points, remember not everyone believes in the point system and not everyone knows how to reward points so I will take this as an opportunity to communicate with them and maybe explain things better. That sounds fair doesn’t it? stress level 10% for coming up with a nice alternative to a problem at hand – stress level 20% for giving myself more work to do. So day 2 now, over my stress level is 20%, all in all not bad. Meanwhile my inbox is down to 20 mails, a ton of tasks and meeting requests. Day 3, what can I say? I thought maybe I had the days wrong and it was already the weekend, the day was so quiet I got my inbox down to 0, my tasks down to 6 and my meeting requests all lined up. Going into the weekend my stress level was at a reasonable high of 5%. Today is now Monday, now my day started with me getting the Contributor’s Corner all updated and back on schedule. Still not announced winners of the weekly iPod mini giveaway, but I have the names 😉 I got an email from our shipper than they sent out the last batch of shirts to get us up to date (granted only to those who responded to the mail asking to confirm their address) I also sent them the updates for weeks 18 to 22, so anyone who was listed in the “Crossing Over” during those weeks will be getting “possibly” your second shirt now. I realized I am no longer #2 on the Top Contributor’s list Overall (will anyone remember me?) now I am number 4. This happens I guess when you get stuck dealing with things like cheating in the forums. Perhaps one day I will manage to find some time to contribute more… So where was I other than having just finished Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code yeah the other cool things that I had waiting for me in my inbox. A great thank you letter about our last cc_online_meetup_archive.htm (#10) and a new PHP mini app to be uploaded to SDN along with the latest version of Scripting in a Box v0.0.1. So for a Monday, other than the task of reliving some of the stressful things in this blog my week has started off rather well and perhaps you should keep your eyes open or I should say your ears for a new Podcast about the community from Mark and I and maybe we can convince Marilyn to give one about the BPX Community?! And yes it’s good to be back…

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member least, when you were writing the following:
      In all honesty the forums seem to be our "pain point" in terms of points [no pun intended] and that is the one area that we can not really control in terms of making a user give points. So here's a suggestion for ALL OF YOU. It's called Excel, please take the time and make an excel spreadsheet with columns called URL and Date...[skipped]

      Anyone who maintains a list of "ignore" users is welcome to send that to me as well ...[skipped] so I will take this as an opportunity to communicate with them and maybe explain things better.[/cite]

      First of all, there are moderators in every forum. And moderators in fact read majority of messages. I can speak for WD forum for sure: they kicked my a$$ several times when I'd posted WD samples that rely on non-public WD code 😉

      So just let them do their job.

      Next, I saw several times when people assign points to me after several months passed, so one month gap is not enough and certainly will seriously increase your stress level if you ever try to manage all such reports yourself 😉

      Third, guys we are _developers community_!!! We and you! And you are talking that we have to track all of these lists manually! C'mon, you are kidding! SDN need a reporting tool for long time. Something that could generate weekly e-mail digest about question I've opened but never closed, open/non-rewarded questions I've replied to, etc.

      [cite]So now while I was out for so long the crossing over list and the Contributor's Corner was not updated, this is one of those things we as a team will need to remedy so that the updates continue regardless of me being here or not, as this is the Community Teams way of letting everyone know what is going on so be sure to check that page out each week!!![/cite]

      You are absolutely right, and it is "political courage" to acknowledge such fault.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Valery, you make a point or two and for the most part we do have things well in hand between our moderators. However, not all the forums are so lucky we have sometimes more than one moderator per forum and it's still not enough to keep up with the activity - but the point of the moderator is not to deal with points and people begging for points therefore we don't want to dump on them to take that on as well.

      The fact that some people return sometimes months later is in fact a reason that sometimes "explaining things one on one" does help.

      As for our reporting tool, it's in the works and is coming along with many other changes and enhancements but considering the load I had in my inbox regarding the issue - here's an intermediate solution for those who have a problem with not getting their points - my thought is that if a person can find the time to go through every thread they've not received points for yet and add in a message about it then they can save everyone alot of grief by adding the URL to a list instead of adding in the message - it's a means to an end 1) we want to stop the "points begging" messages 2) we want to get the points rewarded to those who earn them
      3) we want everyone to be happy.

      Since only 1 and 2 are really possible and our development requests are in the works this is a temporary solution which in no way is required and I would prefer no one send one - but I'm obligated to come up with a way for those who feel "cheated" out of their hard earned points to communicate with him other than another 300 mails in my inbox with multiple links in each.

      Believe it or not this way will actually reduce my load, say I get 5 people who do this and each send me a spreadsheet - I combine them all together - sort them, remove duplicates, determine age of thread by date submitted to me (all done with macros). Then it's just a click and review and a few more clicks - granted it's time out of my day but so is answering multiple emails about either someone complaining that "johnny won't share and give me points" or "freddy is begging for points over in the WYSIWG forum" - for me it's an elminiation of the "kindergarten" factor for those who loose sight of the fact that we are all here to help each other...

      As for admitting that we fell down on getting the page updated for a 3 week period takes no "political courage" just requires someone to be honest and trust in the community to understand 😉

      PS - not every forum has a designated moderator - many were created by community demand and we are still searching for moderators 🙁

      Author's profile photo Suresh Datti
      Suresh Datti
      spreadsheet flooding will take it higher.. I think you should leave the points issue between those who posted the questions & who responded (voluntarily).. you are just trying to be too nice.. Good luck to you..
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I think the Excel thingy is a real suicide action. A classical NO WIN situation. I'd really rethink that.

      I would prefer to see you letting the cheaters be cheaters and whiners be whiners and freeing yourself to get more capacity for your passion, the scripting community.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Probably true, but it's a start...

      But your comments reminded me of another blog I've been meaning to write - so I'll need to do that tomorrow morning.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Superhuman: Everyone please note that Craig got thru 900 emails, some of them junk/random but many of them with action items and tasks inside, in the span of three days.  This, after a week of vacation.  He is indeed superhuman.  Please (please!) treat him nicely. 

      Me too: I just got back from two weeks of vacation and *only* had 350 emails.  Of course, some of the email flow was handled throughout the two-week vacation (Italy, thank you, and yes, it was great... and I'm less cranky than when I left) via Blackberry (to my wife's consternation).  So I spent Sunday afternoon weeding-out the stuff so I only have a subset of really hard stuff to follow-up on.  Like Craig, I'm wondering whether it's good to be back or not.  And like Craig: it's mostly good. 

      Again: Please treat Craig (and Mark Finnern and Marilyn Pratt) nicely.  You have no idea what strong advocates they are for you - always fighting in the corner of the SDN and BPX member to get more done, faster, better, for the benefit of the community.  They are your advocates into SAP. 

      Mark Y.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Craig is the Man - he allways amazes me with his through put - if everyone gives him a beak, then we can see him get back to cranking out those blogs (in particular in Scripting) which we all wait for in the daily churn.

      +1 for Craig.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Yes -;) I always have tried to treat Craig, Mark and Marilyn nicely -:) They do hell of a good job here on SDN...They're nice people also, always willing to help, so please don't flood them with mails -:( That's no good -;)



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Now I'm going to get a complex and start running around with a big SDN written on my chest or something 😉

      Seriously though thank you for all the kind words and support.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I guess you got lots on your plate than what u can chew! (oops! sorry, i added some more to it, couldn't help it though 🙂

      and you are asking for MORE(like the little Oliver Twist asked Mr. Bumble)! Is this called workaholism?

      just kidding! keep the good work going!

      Arunkumar Ravi.