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From the Grumpier Old Man: The Success of Selfishness

It has been said People posting answers via email, but I would like to pinpoint a distressing trend. Every single day I encounter a thread that asks for material to be sent to an e-mail address. The opposite also happens. Instead of answering the question, people ask the thread poster for an e-mail address to send information to.
This is sad – very sad. SDN is all about sharing knowledge, and e-mailing things is in contradiction with that principle. Why are people then expecting e-mails? Are they so selfish that they want to keep the material all to themselves?

As pointed out in the above mentioned forum thread, the complaint is sometimes that one can’t provide any attachments. As with many other forums, that is indeed the case. The forum server would be directly flooded if everybody got the chance to upload attachments. I myself have encountered people that don’t look at the footprint when they upload something. What’s the purpose of sending a picture of 300Mb if a 100Kb file is sufficient enough to show things on the web. The SDN web log system is the perfect example of that.
Together with the wiki, it’s also the best solution for the so called gap within the forums if you want to share some knowledge which needs to be clarified by pictures. They say that pictures say more than 100 words can say.

That’s true if they are your own words. I sometimes feel that the latter isn’t always true when one wants to e-mail material. It occurs to me that sometimes e-mail material can’t bear the light of day, meaning that it concerns material that is copyright protected. Let us be clear, it’s ILLEGAL to copy/distribute material without the permission of the owner/author of the material.
If permission had already been given, it would already have been available online and the ONLY thing you should do is to put a link to it when you answer a question.  Copy/pasting content of online material without any reference to, or permission from, the owner/author is also illegal. Copy/pasting huge content isn’t advisable anyway. It results in clutter which is barely readable. This /thread/435315 [original link is broken] is (update: the thread is deleted) a perfect example of how things shouldn’t be done. It’s a cluttered thread where on top of that e-mail addresses are asked for. The posters of the answers should know better.
If you feel that valuable info is missing and you do have clearance to publish it, you can always contact the SDN/BPX admins or, as Marilyn points out, contribute it yourself. All this will result in even better content on the SN site and should prevent this egotism.

This type of selfish behaviour doesn’t pass muster. I would suggest that all offences to the sharing principle should be deleted without demur and recidivists should be warned and eventually punished when unteachable.

Meanwhile I take malicious pleasure in the fact that people don’t seem to realize that their e-mail address can be gathered by search engines and harvesters. A simple test delivered me 400 yahoo and 444 google e-mail accounts. And I’m not talking about the other e-mail addresses which are easy to find. All of these are possibly subject to spam. At some point they will receive information other than on how to enlarge their SAP knowledge.

P.S. Which type of SDN Ubergeek/BPX suit are Which type of SDN Ubergeek/BPX suit are you??
Deadline: June 15th

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  • Hi Eddy:

    As always, your Grumpy thoughts made my day! -:D

    Every time I found in the forums that someone is posting his/her e-mail to get some info, I kindly tell them that we got the business card for that purpouse...And also, that copyright material can't be shared...Sadly, people seems to don't care about that...Because every day, tons of e-mails posts are posted, not only here, but on the ABAP Spanish Forums as well...So as you say, it's like an international problem...

    I hope that by reading this weblog, people realize that they're are doing wrong...You said that we have the WIKI, and I agree on that...WIKI is a great tool, but people must learn to use it and share knowledge with the rest of the community...



      • People should be able to behave in the way they have been behaving.  Telling people not to put their e-mail address for the purpose of exchanging knowledge how is that a contradiction to SDN knowledge sharing?  If e-mails can be collected by this behavior and subject to spam then why should anyone put their e-mail address up on the business card area of the website?  Can someone collect your e-mail address from there?  Knowledge sharing is knowledge sharing and that is the whole point of SDN...if it is subject to restrictions because you feel there are better more efficient and inclusive ways of doing so.  People do not always find one way of doing things better for them (just because you see it works better in one way).  I know this may disturb some people but not everyone can be happy as we know you are always grumpy...Just my 2 cents.

        Best Regards,
        Hector Gutierrez

        • SDN knowledge sharing does not prevent community from contacting one another, in fact it provides a business card where you may choose to expose your e-mail address and we know of many offline collaborations evolved because of that ability to directly connect.  But using a public forum for private content exchange brokering might not be the best use of everyone's time and bandwidth in the public space.  Additionally, asking for illegal contents in a public space exposes us all to legal consequences.  I, for one, don't want to be a bystander in illegal transactions, thank you very much.  I think Grumpy's point is: "don't abuse the public space" and "do maintain professional demeanor here".  As far as individualism, plenty of room for it here.  Look around you: Community Profiles, authored blogs, coffee corners. But as far as illegal tolerance.
          • Hello Folks,

            Thank you all for giving me more clarification.  I understand the issues more clearly and definatly concurr with what you are point out as valid concerns.  I wonder if more people felt the same way as I did...?

            Best Regards,
            Hector Gutierrez

          • Hi Hector:

            Actually, I think many people feel right now the same way you feel -:) Having a big community like this make people to have different points of view...We don't all people to think like us...That wouldn't be good...What we want is people to give a second tought about their actions...And realize if they either doing good or wrong -;)



          • Hi,

            I don't see why all people should behave the same (like it should). I compare it with driving a car. You need to stick to the traffic regulations, otherwise it's a complete chaos.
            If you don't follow the rules, you get fined (if caught).


          • Hi,

            Yes, people are individuals and can behave in different ways. And some can choose to communicate with an individual directly and not via the group or forum.

            However ...

            There are many, many times on the Enterprise Portal forums when someone provides a document to an individual and then post after post other people ask for the same document. Clearly, there is a need for the document to be published, yet the document "owner" continues to get requests and send out himself. In addition, for all I know, many of those requests go unanswered, and some communitiy members are left in the dark. So it ends up hurting the community.

            In addition, many of these documents end up not being the SDNer's document, but some SAP document or some other person's work. So the SDNer is simply playing games, using other's people work as there own and not really helping the community by showing where the document is located.

            There are so many really bad stuff that people do on SDN, but this is just one of them.


        • Hector:

          The SDN created the Business Card to let people choose if the want to show or not they e-mails...The Business card is of course more protected than the forums...So it would be harder for a harvester to pick it up...

          You can share if you want, but you can't share copyright material...Also, how are you supposed to share knowlegde if you send some material to one person e-mail instead of uploading the content to the WIKI or send it a public document to the SDN library...So everyone can access to it...

          There's no restriction on SDN...We just want people to not make mistakes...Having your mail in a public forums will lead to flood your inbox with tons of spam...



        • Hector,

          Sharing knowledge in- and outside the forums is NOT about one to one communication (via e-mail). If it was, the S(D)N/BPX site wouldn't stand at the level it currently is. In contrary what you say, e-mail isn't more efficient at all. The fact that the forums are flooded by requests for sending material by e-mail is the perfect proof of that proposition. When the material is available on line AND people take the effort to look at/for it, this kind of behavior is unnecessary.
          And if you don't care about the fact that it may disturb some people since everyone can't be happy, proves the point of the title of my web log.
          I know a bit about spam prevention (see my web logs) and I can say that the BC is fairly spam proof. Certainly better that just throwing your e-mail address in the forums.


  • Hi Eddy,

    Thanks for writing about this problem. I have confronted several people who distribute information this way, publicizing that they have a special document and inviting anyone to send their email address.

    I think this is indicative of a general problem with SDN, where people do anything for points (rewrite other people's posts verbatim, provide unrelated information in the hopes of at least getting some crumbs of 2 or 6 points), where people horde information, where people don't acknowledge other people's achievements.

    I have emailed people directly to ask them to post the information they have, especially on the new Wiki. But most don't respond.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog.


    P.S.: I have never met you, but I love your writing. (I did see you at Tech Ed on stage when you received a special award.)

  • Hi,

    This is one of my top "dislikes" on the forums. Whenever I see a new posting on the MM forum (I use this heavily), I always post a request on that thread to NOT send any emails because all that happens is that the thread is constantly at the top of the forum as hundreds of people post "Me too please" to request some "magical document" that they think will solve all of there problems.

    I would like to see such posts deleted once they start, with a request to the person offering this "magical document" to post the contents on the site for all to see.

    I may be being a bit cynical, but sometimes I wonder if they don't want to broadcast the information, so that they can use it over and over again to gain points each time.

    If we all thought like this there would be no answers posted at all, because that is the whole point of the forums, to make the answers available to everyone.

    Steve B