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This entry is inspired by the post Is it just me, or are are there more “trivial” blogs appearing? No, actually it’s inspired by dated topic discussed in this thread – quality of SDN blog posts. I completely share Michael‘s concerns regarding waterfall of “trivial” blog posts.

SDN blogs is quite unique system – in recent 3 years certain community standard was set for quality and content of blogs. Sure, not all blogs are technical (re-read posts by Mario Herger), not all blogs relates to SAP or SAP products, but majority of posts has value either as interesting documentation, or solution description, or insightful thinking or just as funny reading.

Now the situation is changing. We see more and more “blogs … which seem to slip through the cracks in terms of relevance”. I can’t say for sure what are intents of these posts’ authors: either just to please personal ego with yet additional 40/60 points or to mark author/company presence in SAP world. But sure the result is just boring non-valuable content created exclusively to serve author agendas rather then SDN community. In public blogging systems such blogs slightly dies, at SDN the situation is different – we have one start page for all authors, we have RSS feed for all authors, so in fact we have one SDN Community Blog. Yes, I know that I can subscribe to individual author’s feeds, but tell me frankly – do you try this on your own?

I firmly believe that we have to re-incarnate blog rating system, but it’s necessary to avoid mistakes made in previous version:

  • Any rating may be supplied only along with one of comments (not necessary first) from given person; it should be impossible to rate blog without comments and it’s unnecessary to comment blog more then ones.
  • It should be possible to provide both positive and negative rating. There are should be clear visual indication of “dislike this post” as opposed to the previous version with stars that has only positive sense at sub-conscious level.
  • The total rating is not an average by all marks but rather a weight average, i.e. rating of commentator is justified by forum points s/he has. Yes, this is not a true democracy; there are certain preferences. But think a bit: we almost ultimately trust the opinion of SDN editors, and in most cases this is just one person who probably doesn’t know a subject discussed in post. Will you trust less Michal‘s or Sravya‘s opinion about post in XI category, or words from Rich‘s mouth about ABAP-related post, or Armin‘s reply to WebDynpro post? Will you trust less to people who help you daily on same subject in forums? I guess answer is obvious. On other hand with such system we prevent possible hijacking by fake comments sent by author to himself via “bots”. I mean, we can’t prevent this totally, we just can minimize impact of such unfair misbehavior
  • Obviously, post’s author can’t provide rating.
  • The number of commentators from one company should be limited, i.e. only feedbak from up to 3-5 persons working in one company goes in total rating. Let it be persons with highest rating by forum points, it doesn’t matter. We just must limit the “noise” in total rating created by replies like “Great post! Keep up good work” from author’s co-workers.
  • Post without comments rated solely by editors (as currently). But trust me – if one see post with no value and has an option to express own frustration the s/he does. Anyway, I do not consider rating system as whole automation tool or complete replacement of editors’ job. It’s just a tool that provides “suggested rating” as aggregated feedback from readers.
  • Revisit maximum/minimum for points. There are How to get ready-made filter for your Web Dynpro Table with minimal coding ?. And there are ones that do not deserve even 2 points
  • Most importantly – after final assignment of points show points awarded atop of post! I insist! Why we see points in forum posts but not in blog posts?

Till this rating system will be created I feel free to leave whatever sarcastic feedback to Generic Value Help Services in Web Dynpro – A Bird’s eye view. If SDN editors respect bloger freedom to post a crap, then they must respect my freedom to comment a crap. “Beginner” category is of no excuse for me – if beginners find the post valuable then they are free to send positive comments to author.

P.S. Dear bloggers! If you say something publicly, be ready that you may get negative feedback. Otherwise just don’t blog.
P.P.S I’m personally ready to negative replies to this post 🙂

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33 Comments

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  1. Michal Krawczyk
    hi,

    >>>>it should be impossible to rate blog without comments

    I agree with some of your comments
    but this statement is not ok

    there are many very detailed blogs
    (at least in the XI area) that have no
    comments at all (but we talk about them
    via mails etc) as they are so great
    even their page view count is verrrry small
    but does it mean we don’t need them???

    on the other hand there are many extermaly simple blogs (but useful to many newbies)
    which get ” great blog, superb” comments etc.)
    are those better then those from the top that
    I mentioned ?

    jut my few cents as I’m a fan of indeepth XI blogs that very little people tend to view

    Regards,
    michal

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    1. Valery Silaev Post author
      Michal,

      What I’m proposing is not a replacement to existing system. It’s an extension/improvement, re-read 3-rd from bottom entry.

      I know what you are talking about. I have some posts almost without comments; nevertheless they are often referred from WebDynpro forum. Am I disappointed that I have no comments and hence collect fewer points? Absolutely no!

      Because I’m writing some posts when saw new cool functionality in WebDynpro and documentation and SAP samples were missing. Or because I find a way to do things better or managed to create something that no one did with WD before. Or because there were a lot of similar question in forum regarding this or that functionality.

      Please read my message: I have different intents then persons that copy samples from documentation (both text and images) and publish them to own blog. Neither me, nor you (and I’m pretty sure here) never blogged and will not blog “for points”. This is just ridiculous. Hence our posts are different from ones referred in this entry.

      The system I’m proposed impact neither me nor you (nor Sravya, nor Thomas, nor Eddy… – fortunately, list is quite long). Rather it should provide a way for community to say “No” to those ones who try use SDN medium just to show there “relevancy” with irrelevant posts.

      Regarding “beginner post excuse”. If post (regardless of its size and complexity) just re-prints content from documentation/tutorial it’s not a “beginner post”, it’s just a naïve attempt to fake a community. If it describes own author experience with applying tutorial, problems that he solved, additional techniques he created based on ones described – then such content is excellent material for beginners. If author managed to keep good content short, then it’s even better.

      VS

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  2. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Hi Valery:

    I agree with you…The quality of the blogs have been down this days…And also the categories are wrong…But I mean is…Someone writes a blog intended for beginners…but didn’t check the beginners category…That lead to a lot of trouble, because experience people tend to think of it a crappy blog…

    People is lazy to make comments…I’m sure they would be lazy to rate blogs too…

    I hope that you blog make some juniors and bloggers to think for a while before posting blog without value…At least…It works for me -:)

    Greetings,

    Blag.

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    1. Valery Silaev Post author
      Blag,

      See my answer to Michal, this is the same “beginner post excuse” issue.

      Actually, SDN LACKS BEGINNER POSTS!
      It’s overloaded with documentation re-prints.

      VS

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      1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
        I see you point and agree with you Valery -:) I didn’t get that “Documentation” in “Beginners” clothing…

        Thanx for pointing that out -;)

        P.S: Maybe I need to improve my English -:(

        Greetings,

        Blag.

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    2. Sravya Talanki
      Valery:

      I have seen many  silly forum posts as well in SAP XI where the author does not even try to search google as he gets the exact info in forum. When I come across such posts I make sure that I reply them to make them understand that forums are for value addition and not to ask a question that yourself can accomplish. The best way to handle it is to make sure the author understand the relevance instead of answering for simple questions for the sake of points. I think this process has to be followed religiously.

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  3. Christopher Solomon
    I agree with you. There are of course some excellent blogs here and some bloggers that I actually follow. BUT more and more, I just see a lot of “noise” (as you well put it) posted up. For a LOT of this, I do think there is another agenda. Lots of these blogs get cross-posted on other sites, turn up as links from other sites (tech related or general enterprise IT type sites for instance) and more often than not, I feel are just to promote an author or company. Past that, if I see another resume where some one lists themselves as a “published author” or “subject matter expert” due to their participation on SDN, I think I will scream! (haha)

    Thanks for a well-needed “kick in the pants” blog.

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  4. David Halitsky
    Hi Valery –

    I personally would like to see a category of “opinion/perspective” posts for which no points would be awarded.

    A lot of times I feel I have something worthwhile to say about the SAP mise en scene, but something that does not necessarily contain a good technical tip, trick, or really novel “gee-whiz”.

    I would be more than happy to post these for NO points, since this is is the only way for people to be sure that I’m not just posting these for points.

    In this regard, Craig has suggested a separate “debate forum” for such “opinion/perspective” posts.  This might be a good idea but I personally would prefer such posts to remain in the main SDN blogspace.

    Regards
    djh

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    1. Valery Silaev Post author
      David,

      Totally agree here. If such category ever exists, I’d put this entry here, definetely!

      And, as you, I see no reason to move such posts in separate space. I will miss Eddy grumpies otherwise.

      VS

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  5. Community User
    These are good points and many are doable with development and I’m sure we could implement some – use the Digg.com method of raising and lowering posts and commenting.

    However to date the commenting alone has had a low turn out, thus leaving the comments to the same group of folks many that the minority is dictating the majority.

    The problem with a blog here is that it’s all subjective, when I review them on Mondays for the previous 5 days prior to the last Monday I look for format, style, understandability, content and especially what the community has to say – the problem is that I’m left to give points from 0 to 120 based on often times a single comment saying “hey great job”, in many cases I’m still not too far removed from the development or theory areas to be able to make a judgment call and I have about a 1% complaint rate for the amount of points a blog receives. Usually from the people who “don’t care about the points”, so question back to you and everyone if you are familiar with Digg.com  would you be willing to place your hard work into the hands of the community 100% meaning that we automate the system to deal out points based on that style of a system – blogs rewardable up to 30 days and no longer ranging in points from 40 to 120 – we as admin would no longer be involved and we may open the system up completely to everyone being able to blog? Of course the catch to prevent your fellow company workers and yourself from participating would be put in place?

    I see personally a problem with that we get an even larger flood of blogs that many of you may continue to see as not relevant but on the same token you see very quickly the highest rated ones but then I get a lot more free time to write and do other stuff as I don’t have to deal with applications, rejections, approvals and junior blogs and issues like this 🙂

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    1. Ed Herrmann
      As I have mentioned previously in the forum post Content/Blog Ranking, I would like to see the digg type content ratings.  Points, comments, and negative ratings aside, this would give others a chance to see the current top ranked content on the front page or some other easy to access location.

      The usefulness and quality of blogs are mostly subjective, and they can only be censored to a certain extent.  Don’t get me wrong, I agree that some of the content quality on here is questionable and the SDN crew has a certain responsibility to ensure that quality.  However, blogging has grown in popularity because of the freedom from censorship.  Do we want to give everyone equal opportunity to blog or do we want to pick a select few people to write articles?  I guess a more fair question would be to ask is do we want to be like Digg or do we want to be like Slashdot?  Both certainly have their pros and cons.

      If we implement something similar to Digg, people may start to conspire with their buddies or colleagues to brute force their posts up to the front page.  If we implement something like Slashdot, we may face problems of elitism.

      -ewH

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    2. Daniel McWeeney
      Yes, I would be willing to put the points in the hands of the community.  If you don’t have faith in the community to judge your work then you are probably blogging cause your boss made you, not for all the important “geek cred.”

      I think a blog should start at 40 points but if large enough group of people “mod” it down ( don’t forget slashdot has been moderating stuff forever ) you should stat losing points.  Heck you could get all the way to zero with a really useless blog.  Conversely, it should go up if people really like it.  Something like Thomas Jung’s value help blogs should be worth 10 times most of my blogs. 

      Personally, I would love that feedback, good or bad and hitting a Thumbs Up/Down button is easier then leaving a comment so, you might actually see an upswing in feedback due to the simpler path.

      -d

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      1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
        If you don’t have faith in the community to judge your work then you are probably blogging cause your boss made you, not for all the important “geek cred.”

        ———————————————-

        Funny…My former boss didn’t want me to blog on the SDN…That was one of reasons I quit -:P Anyway…I posted most of my blogs while still working for him…

        I don’t think that is about trust or not trust the community…As I said on the forums…People is too lazy to comment…Who says they’re going to judge blogs?

        Most of the time, when I read blog comments…It’s the same people…Also in the “Suggestion and Comments” forum…Just a few of us really take some time to try to change things…We’re like the 2% of all the SDN universe…Something is wrong with people…Assing points for comments…and your going to match Craig’s “SDN T-Shirts” blog…

        Greetings,

        Blag.

        Greetings,

        Blag.

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  6. Dagfinn Parnas
    Lately I’ve been having the same thoughts. I no longer have time to read all the blogs, and there are some real gems I’ve missed out on due to the shear number of blogs being published, some of them just plainly not good enough.

    As Craig mentioned, I think digg’s model is a very good one and can help raise the attention on the really good blogs which deserve praise and bury the not-so-good ones. Effort must of course be made so that excellent blogs about narrow topics also get attention (probably be solved by subscription in the different topics mixed into the solution).

    I believe burying the not-so-good blogs will be a far better feedback for authors than comments. Too much negative feedback via comments can discourage the author from trying again.The more voices the merrier, you just need educate the untuned ones.
    If the blog is really bad (reaches minus point), the SDN team should evaluate if it should be deleted altogether in order to keep it from getting search hits.

    Dagfinnn

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    1. Valery Silaev Post author
      Dagfinn,

      If I understand “digg model” correctly, the best thing about it is that we can give it a test drive right now without any [ serious ] changes to existing SDN blogs system. Correct me if I’m wrong.

      However, IMO, this model will fail for SDN blogs 🙁 Just my bet.

      The discussion force me to think about more radical solutions:
      a) Switch-off points reward system for blogs. I can’t say for sure it is a “reason->consequences” dependency, but after iPod give-away was stopped no one tries to hijack point system in forums or via “recommendations”. May be same could be applied for blogging: no points – no points to money conversion – no “bloggers” that writes for points.
      b) If in fact some companies uses SDN blogs for sole advertisement purposes (and force their employees to “just post something”) why not to let them advertise on SDN in more fair and controllable manner? I’d prefer to see “that commercials” in some dedicated SDN section (or even in specific existing sections) rather then in blogs.

      VS

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  7. Mark Finnern
    Hi Valery,

    Took a longer Christmas vacation to come back to your post today. You write that lately there is not enough substance. (Me think: Wasn’t me, haven’t posted ‘lately’ 😉

    It is always a balance act on one side to encourage new contributors to do their first often shaky steps and even a Thomas Jung had a learning curve and on the other side wanting to be wowed by the content every time.

    I agree that it is time to step up and say: Copying of help documentation is not O.K.

    I also would like to see a rating system again. The last one was flawed as it was rating the poster, not the content.

    I would like to see that for comments too, what interestingly enough slashdot is/was doing. (Have not been there in a while, I like reddit.com right now.)

    Subscribing to your favorite authors only is not practical, but I think you have a lot less noise if you just subscribe to the area of your interest.

    I don’t agree that you have to comment to be allowed to rate. I personally don’t like the “Great post” comments and with that rule they would come even more. For me the comments are the most interesting part to get the puls of what is going on here. “Awsome post” without explanation why it noise.

    My suggestion is that the rating is not anonymous.  You hover over a 4.5 star rating and you can see that there were 15 people rating it and you can see who that was for what company they are working and how many points they have, in brackets even how many in that particular development area.

    So if I ever write a blog in XI (when hell freezes  over 🙂 I just don’t have the knowledge) a rating by Michal would be looked at differently then from someone else. We actually could program that in, the more points you have in an area the more your vote weights. That would be sweet.

    Love the new rant topic. We will take free exception to the no points rule and actually give freely to good rants 🙂

    Still don’t be too fast on the trigger with harsh comments if you see a sincere effort from a new Blogger. Gentle hints into the right direction do often wonders.

    Great discussion, thanks for posting, Mark. 

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  8. Puru Govind
    I agree with Valery. The number of blogs are increasing way to much, but I need to point out few things here:

    1. There is a lot of people diversity on SDN. A blog can be seen with different perspectives by different people. A blog may be a peanut for a person working on SAP technologies for 10 years or so but it may turn out be a Gita for a developer who just started his stint in SAP. For this, we need to follow what David advocates. Have a pointless blog page. Beginners can start bloggin there. Once they get out of Junior Blogger tag(I am still a Junior Blogger!), start giving points to his blog. Now here we need to give some freedom to Craig and Community. If they feel that a particulr blog from a ‘pointless’ page is apt enough to come to main blog page, please do it and award him points!

    2. Regarding weighted average thing: It isnt neccessary that a active blogger is active at forum too!

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    1. Michael Nicholls
      Maybe junior bloggers or people thinking about creating blogs for beginners should consider creating a wiki instead, especially if the content is likely to change. That way the content can be updated by the community (including the original author), instead of the reader having to follow the reply threads..

      “Hint” style blogs fit nicely into the wiki structure, as over time the hints become more useful and will, for example, reflect the latest version of the software, instead of becoming out of date.

      Wikis also removes the need for part x of y style blogs, which tend to be frustrating to read.

      Cheers

      (ps: I believe that rating of blogs is a good idea)

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  9. Maybe you are right about the number of bloggers but  if the SDN restricts the people then they will find new other free place where to post their thoughts.
    These steps will reduce the postings but This will be BIG disadvantage for SAP.
    Leaves bloggers to feel the freedom.

    best regards,
    mladen

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    1. Valery Silaev Post author
      Mladen,

      Nobody tells here about limiting the freedom of bloggers. We are talking about rating system for blogs — about existing one (points assigned by SDN editors) and new one (where rating is influenced by readers feedback).

      In fact I hope that fair rating system (digg-based or SDN in-house) will detract those ones who post solely to get points, but not because they have freedom to post. This will not forbid anyone to post whatever he wants — this is an essence freedom, isn’t it? Rather, it’s an option for readers to vote with “Cool stuff!”, “Old news”, “Don’t get it” or whatever else opinion s/he has. This is freedom too, the other side of freedom.

      VS

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  10. Natty Gur
    I don’t think that someone could judge quality of a blog and I don’t think that any rating mechanism is appropriate. Coming from MS background I use to read from weblogs.asp.net.  and MSDN blogs. There are lots of posts there per day and still, without any rating system, you could find bloggers of your interest and read their posts. Every one knows who are the good and who are the not so good blogges.

    I personally use SDN RSS to read (using google reader and google homepage) 10 of the interesting posters that I like.

    The idea behind community is that every one can express himself. if you like or don’t like his post, that’s your own problem and you always can use the comments to say what you have in mind (although I think that we have a real problem with the comments lately :-).

    So, if we are a community lets behave like one. Like in every democratic community anyone to express himself and every one of us will decide who’s blog he want to read ….

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    1. ArunKumar Ravi
      Agreed… NO one can judge others works… So be it…

      But when ratings are given in the form of points, i guess such judging is required.. If people want to blog for fun, let them do it at commercial blogging sites.

      We professionals are looking for quality information out here not Junk. Unless we take some serious measures, such a thing can happen.

      SDN has a Brand Equity in town and we are proud to be a part of this Brand Cult. I guess its up to us to keep the flag flying.

      Regards
      Ak.

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      1. Michael Nicholls
        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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  11. Iyengar Karthik
    To grow the community, one needs to encourage members to contribute. If the content is not good enough, the same message can still be sent across in a better way.

    I fundamentally disagree with any black-or-white approach.

    A reponsible community member needs to foster community comntribution, not shutting out members abruptly. A distateful blog is as bad as lousy content.

    Thank you and best regards

    Kartik Iyengar~

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  12. Kenneth Moore
    I don’t think you should get points for posting a blog automatically anymore, as the blogging has gotten off track a bit.  There should be a feedback rating like ‘Very Helpful’, ‘Helpful’, etc. just like when you provide an answer to a post in the Forum.  If a blogger consistently gets no points, hopefully this will discourage unwanted blogs.
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