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Contributor Recognition Program Benefits Our Communities and Individual Members

Both the SAP Developer Network (SDN) and Business Process Expert (BPX) communities provide a vibrant environment for developers, business process experts, and other professionals to learn and collaborate directly with their peers. One of the things that makes the communities special, if not unique, is our points system.  SDN and BPX are both self-sustaining communities in which members award one another points for important contributions like technical papers, discussion forum answers, demos, code samples, or other shared expertise.

The Points Program Works to Everyone’s Benefit

The points program offers a number of benefits to the two communities (SDN and BPX) at large, and to individual members.

  • Members work in a spirit of friendly competition to earn points and move up the leader board. The top 50 contributors receive special recognition on the SDN homepage, and this year top contributors receive reduced-price admission to SDN Day at SAP TechEd ‘06. Read the Best of 2006 blog to learn about this past year’s top contributors.
  • Each individual forum page lists the top three forum contributors with their point totals, giving members a chance to establish themselves as experts. Even small contributions to the forums can provide a big career boost through visibility and higher personal credibility.
  • The best of the best are honored under the bright lights on stage at the TechEd Demo Jam, with special attention from SAP Products & Technology group president Shai Agassi, a much-coveted “top contributors” pin, and other nice parting gifts.
  • Top contributing companies are recognized on the contributors’ corner, giving them added credibility with their customers and prospects. Companies like Wipro Technologies and Intelligroup Inc. have already topped 139,000 points and 77,500 points, respectively.
  • The most active and helpful members receive generous, non-financial rewards – namely, praise, recognition, fame, the occasional t-shirt, or even an iPod!
  • Being a top contributor helps members build their reputations. Experts are easy to spot – they always have the biggest point tallies – and are sometimes tapped for special assignments or professional opportunities within their companies or with their clients.
  • Those who benefit from the help have a tangible way to thank other community members who lend their time and expertise in solving questions or providing insight.
  • Forum posts are answered more quickly – five times faster today than one year ago – due to the competition to be the first with the correct answer.
  • Then, there’s also the added bonus of helping others in your field… an intangible but very real warm feeling of doing good for others.
  • The Basics of the Points Program

    Whether you’re comfortable writing 30-page whitepapers or three-paragraph blogs, the points program gives every SDN and BPX member – that’s you – numerous ways to be recognized, get published, and earn points.

    Calling Miss Manners…

    The SDN point system is a winning proposition for everyone – that is, when it’s used to its best advantage. From the community viewpoint, unresponsive members are viewed as unappreciative members. For example, some people ask questions on forums, but don’t close their posts or thank experts by awarding them points.  It’s simply poor manners not to demonstrate appreciation when someone else is volunteering their time, talent, and experience to help another person in the community. The issue of basic etiquette has been discussed at length on the SDN discussions forum. How can you help? Always award points if you ask a forum question and receive a helpful and complete response. Close your open forum threads.  Recognize the contributions of others. Take time to share your expertise!

    Room for Improvement We plan to always have our points and awards program for members of the SDN and BPX communities. You love it, and so do we. SDN and BPX members thrive on the positive energy generated by the person-to-person appreciation, friendly competition, camaraderie, and public recognition provided by the points program. It encourages participation and collaboration in an open, ethical, and egalitarian environment. So rest assured that the points system is here to stay. In fact, we’re planning to introduce a few enhancements and improvements in November.  These include:

    • You can begin accruing points immediately … and how fast and how far you go depends on your dedication and on the type of contribution.
      • Weblogs earn 40 points, and exceptional examples may receive up to 120 points.
      • In-depth technical articles, such as how-to guides, whitepapers, and FAQs, earn as many as 120 points.
      • Code samples may earn up to 120 points.
      • Tutorials, videos, or other procedure-focused technical content garner up to 120 points.
      • Forum posts earn two, six, or ten points. Posts that initiate threads are not eligible for points.
    • Members earn double points when submitting a piece of content that addresses the Topic of the Month. September’s topic, for example, is Technology at SAP, and others have focused on Visual Composer, the NetWeaver Platform, and BPX.
    • Members also earn 10 points when updating their business cards. This is an easy update and helps you get your name and expertise “out there” … add new professional experience, certification, and credentials. Sign up for the SDN Newsletter, or simply add yourself to the new BPX Community.
    • Members get 20 points for a new member who provides the referring member’s email address when they join. This is an excellent way to accumulate points while growing the community of experts.
    • The 250-point mark is an important first milestone, and one which all new members should strive to reach.  First SDN t-shirt, first chance to win an iPod, first level of achievement and recognition. It’s the starting-point for newcomers to the community. 
  • Display the top three contributors, per forum topic, during the last 30 days
  • Drill down on top contributors by date range
  • Drill down on top contributors by country
  • Show top contributors by company: top 50, all, within the last 30 days, by topic area. But we’re always striving for improvement. That’s why we will re-evaluate the points program at the end of this year, and re-introduce it with enhancements for next year. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months. And be sure to send us your ideas on ways we can improve the points system. The SDN and BPX communities are founded on an ongoing dialogue between our 500,000+ members, our “SAP Communities” team, and the thousands of SAP employee experts globally. We rely on your constant feedback to improve all our programs and better serve your interests. Going forward, we’ll continue to listen and work hard to make the points program more responsive to your needs.  In the meantime, please keep sending us suggestions for improvement, be sure to make the most of the opportunity by sharing your expertise with others thru SDN and BPX, and gain the full benefits of the points award program. 
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    1. Michal Krawczyk
      Hi Mark,

      I have a few questions:

      why do we need those?

      ·  Display the top three contributors, per forum topic, during the last 30 days
      ·  Drill down on top contributors by date range
      ·  Drill down on top contributors by country
      ·  Show top contributors by company: top 50, all, within the last 30 days, by topic area

      What’s the use of them?
      By date range? (to be able to say: I was the best of all SDN (on 25.10.2005 11:00 –  25.10.2005 12:00) ? 

      Does SDN really need to create such statistics?

      I also deeply believe that you should change the points ratio (forums – articles, weblogs)
      to promote weblogs and articles more and not just forum post as the more people will join SDN the easier it will be to get many “easy” points

      and who will want to write articles for 100 points if you can easily get 100 points on the forum in one day?
      when writing an article requires a lot more effort?

      You can do it in two ways: change the forum points : 1,2,4 for example

      or change points for valuable weblogs, articles

      maybe this would provoke experts to write those articles instead of just anwering on the forums
      obviously it’s not that I don’t appreciate
      forum answers but that don’t you think
      that articles, weblogs have a little bit more value and we should have more of them?
      (epecially from experts?)

      Regards,
      michal

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        1. Marilyn Pratt
          One of the beautiful things about this community, is the discourse, debate, diverse opinions and views of its members.  I certainly hope many of us will have the opportunity to discuss this further (in Amsterdam in the clubhouse would be great!) and online is also a very appropriate place to have this conversation.  Knowledge transfer, like teaching and learning, comes in many modalities, and works for different folks in diverse ways.  I think the correlation here is something like learning preferences: some folks need more text, others more visuals, some need structure, others a free-form, still others enjoy audio content.  What really excites and pleases me about this community’s ways of interacting is there is no “one size fits all” just as there is no one “right way” to learn or to disseminate information.  Look at the way people subscribe, submit content, articulate, exchange code, interact here and at live events, through off-line conversations in email, through public debate and dialogue, through comments in blogs or discussion threads or even letters to sdn@sap.com.
          The ability to sustain the diversity is probably why the community continues to grow and the way content is served and services continues to change, evolve, be refined.
          I, for one, am really happy about the debate, especially if it allows us to appreciate, acknowledge and recognize another’s contribution, effort, and commitment.
          From my perspective, it is a tremendous effort to answer a question satisfactorily and to slowly accumulate the nods for that effort.  Others, might see forum participation as effortless (not I). Some, like Thomas Jung, are gifted with the ability to write and perhaps a weblog is less taxing, although I can hardly believe that even for gifted writers the process is “easy”.
          The point is, there is no harder or easier way for the community at large.  That’s purely subjective.  As long as the opinions are expressed in a considerate, honest, and constructive way, they all are legitimate and each modality: articles, blogs, elearning, forum threads have their value and place.  And let’s not make opinions about the ease of point attainment a division in our community, please.
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      1. Bhanu Gupta
        “to promote weblogs and articles more and not just forum post as the more people will join SDN the easier it will be to get many “easy” points
        and who will want to write articles for 100 points if you can easily get 100 points on the forum in one day?
        when writing an article requires a lot more effort?”

        Yes, definitely it would be good to have more articles and blogs, but I wonder why you think answering on the forums is so “easy” and “effortless” …Forums are more real time. A lot of us manage it side by side with our everyday work (and of course we do this by choice and due to the many reasons that Mark has mentioned in his blog). Sometimes you know the answer to an issue, but many times you need to try out stuff yourself, and then propose a soution. Is that really easy and effortless to do in a span of like 2 minutes? Many of the threads go till 20+ posts with detailed explanations for the individual situation. I guess you may know that the average time to receive a reply to a forum post is 17 minutes, and this helps to solve a problem someone is currently experiencing. Different people have expertise in different areas and prefer different approaches. Please do not devaluate the importance or efforts of many the community members here.

        Just my thoughts…

        ~ Bhanu

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        1. Suresh Datti
          I totally agree with Bhanu.. the grass always looks greener on the other side.. especially, when you come across 20 odd blogs on the same topic, same person.. or even the blogs with only links to other blogs etc.. bottom line no system is perfect..

          ~Suresh

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          1. Michal Krawczyk
            >>>>I totally agree with Bhanu.. the grass always looks greener on the other side..

            on what other side?

            I post on forums everyday but also manage to write weblogs so how can you say that?

            >>>>when you come across 20 odd blogs on the same topic, same person..

            the quality of weblogs is very important – true
            but do you think that any expert does what
            you say?

            don’t know about your area but in XI it’s not the case for sure – still many weblogs to prepare

            >>>>especially, when you come across 20 odd blogs on the same topic, same person

            if you see such things in your area
            it’s also your fault that you don’t react
            (write comments etc)
            that’s what we do in the XI area so as not to have anything like that

            Regards,
            michal

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            1. Suresh Datti
              Is this going out of context? If your intention is to improve the points system, thats fine with me.. this is a place where you contribute/read/indulge purely out of choice.. don’t like something don’t read it..my request is not to undermine the efforts of others..

              ~Suresh

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          2. Suresh Datti
            During the migration process problems have been reported for this blog. The blog content may look corrupt due to not supported HTML code on this platform. Please adjust the blog content manually before moving it to an official community.
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        2. Michal Krawczyk
          hi Bhanu,

          >>>>but I wonder why you think answering on the forums is so “easy” and “effortless” …Forums are more real time

          because I stay on the forums almost “24/7” so I know how it is 🙂

          can you franky say that it’s more difficult
          to get 70 or 100 points on any popular forum then write
          a nice, good weblog ?
          (have a look at T. Jung’s weblogs …)

          >>>> Sometimes you know the answer to an issue, but many times you need to try out…

          I know as I do it every day on the XI forum,
          it’s obvious but still I believe that writing
          a GOOD weblog is a lot more effort
          (in terms of point system)

          >>>>Please do not devaluate the importance or efforts of many the community members here.

          I don’t, I just feel that some people
          (especially experts) should/could contribure
          in more ways (not just on the forums)
          as the knowledge in articles has better
          structure (more descriptions, more details etc.)
          and provides MORE value to the community

          use case:

          before posting a quesiton a user can check weblogs, FAQs – for many many answers to popular issues

          if the weblog is not there
          every time you will answer the same thing on the forum (every 30 or 50 or 100 posts)

          sure… you will get points but it that kewl?
          (for an expert?)

          it’s a long topic…

          anyway I didn’t mean to offend ANYONE
          just wanted to ENCOURAGE to write more weblogs 🙂

          Regards,
          michal

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      2. Sankar Kumar
        Hello 🙂 Michal,
        How r u ?

        Views differ from one to other.

        Always we should have a starting point, i.e. the initial days as a starter, all of a sudden no one can write a blog. There should be some process or steps. So starting with the forum,

        1st ask questions, open Topics
        2nd try to analyze the answers given
        3rd try to reply the Topics
        4th get awarded with points, it may be 2 or 6 or 10; as it comes.

        Now this process will take atleast 4 to 6 months.
        By this time we could get more stuff both Technically and about the community as well.

        Now, start with the Code Samples or blogs or Technical Documents.

        In the initial days I felt getting 2 points was something great. Now, I got used to it, like an addiction. I will never close the SDN Forum pages.

        This process will definitely create the interest among the new community members. Wow! he got 10 points for this, I should get the same soon….

        This is the inspiration the points give.

        😉 now its time for me to work !

        Best Regards….
        Sankar Kumar
        +91 98403 47141

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    2. Mark Yolton Post author
      I expected some discussion and debate, and that’s just what I hoped. 

      What I’ve learned so far:
      * There are at least two — and usually more — perspectives to any topic or issue
      * Both can be mostly correct … just different

      I think you now see why we have points for blogs, forum posts, podcasts, demos, etc. etc.  They all have value at different times, with different styles, in different ways. 

      I view forum posts as quick-hit answers to (usually) smaller issues.  Sometimes, though, those quick-hit questions-and-answers are quite involved and detailed. 

      I view a blog as more of a newspaper column.  They offer insights, perspective, and incorporate much learning and observation into one comprehensive article.  Even the short ones utilize the years of experience of the writer, and his or her unique practical encounters.

      Both have their place.  Forums, since they’re thought to be mostly quick-hits, have smaller point ranges.  Blogs and demos, because they take alot of preparation, editing, compiling of thoughts, etc. have a bigger point range. 

      As for the other questions: “what value does the ability to measure by country or company or date range have?” … this is a big deal for some managers, localities, and individuals — but probably not for Michal.  For example, some people and companies set personal or team goals to have a certain number of SDN points within a specific time period, or to be in the top-ten, or whatever.  To them, it’s very important. 

      Keep those comments coming.  They’ll help us design improvements that fit the biggest slice of our membership. 

      Best,

      Mark Yolton 

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    3. Ajay Das
      This is in context of an oft-asked question on relevance of ‘companies’ being listed as ‘top contributors’.

      I work for a 25 person company, and seeing our company in the top-50 list does give all of our developers a feeling of being on the same level as an Accenture or Siemens. We can’t match bigger SAP consultancies on many counts, however if the capability (measured in terms of SDN points) of our people is comparable to larger SAP shops at least on SDN, it does work as a big motivational factor.

      This doesn’t drive away the inherent shortcomings (like seeing a yahoo.co.in in the list) which must be continuously worked upon.

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      1. Community User
        Those types of names listed are something that we work to catch so hopefully we’ll eventually get those knocked off the list and we also keep SAP.com off the list as well.
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      1. Marilyn Pratt
        Hi Rich,
        Thanks for the question and your question really triggered my thinking.
        Technically, as moderators, we could lock a thread if we wished.  But here’s the beauty: answers are a conversation and a continuum as well.  In fact, often I find that by continuing the conversation, unlocked,  folks build on and improve answers (unless of course an answer is “definitive” and absolutely complete which means there is no room for improvement).
        If you have posted the question, you get to choose which answer is the most complete and that judgment can change.
        You can “demote” an answer from “solved my problem” to “very helpful” and re-reward.
        The point system then recalculates the points.
        That way, the conversation can be kept alive flowing and constantly improving, if need be.
        Of course the downside could be that some answers become redundant, but we do trust that the community will self-govern and control that behavior in most cases.
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    4. Cornelius Goldhahn
      Hi,

      I had to open a new Account on SDN (company regulations). Is there a way to transfer my points from my old account to the new one? They are not so many but lets say I am sentimental :-).
      Thanks for your help.

      Cheers
      Cornelius

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      1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
        Wow! You really have company regulations concerning SDN accounts?
        I wonder if there are even companies requiring their employees to submit their contributions to marketing or legal for approval prior to posting it here.

        Anyway, not my bussines. I suggest to mail your problem to SDN at sap.com. They will resolve that quickly

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        1. Community User
          Actually many companies do have an internal SDN quality check before they allow the posting to go out onto SDN – we were also surprised!

          It’s cool though that the various companies are supporting their people with being in here for both learning and contributing!

          Craig

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          1. Cornelius Goldhahn
            Thanks for the help. I did as you told me.
            And I needed a new account because the old one didn’t let me download patches and they were not able to change my status. Otherwise I am not “watched” here. :-)).

            Cheers
            Cornelius

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