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There has been some recent discussions (primarily in response to Marilyn Pratt’s How to Lower Your Status in The SAP Community) about how community members view points and how actually the main interest should involve how much money is raised for the World Food Program. (Mark Finnern described SAP’s participation in the program in his Food for Points ) Like many blogs, users read it once and might have already forgotten it. I’d like to remind community members of where our priorities should lie.

What I’d like to see is the usual fundraising “thermometer” on the front page of SDN/BPX, so that members are reminded what the community is doing for this organization and to see how far we are in reaching our goal. In Mark’s blog, the goal was 3.5 million points. I have no idea how many points have currently been collected. It would be great to see how far a long we are to reaching our goal.

I know there is some concern about having a dynamic widget on the home page, so what about a small jpg that is changed every week and displays a vertical thermometer. The area could also have a link to the School Feeding program for those who wish more information

Due to the fact that the program is currently facing some difficulties, this increased awareness is even more important.

When I first had this idea, I thought about a dynamic widget that displays how much I (or my company) has contributed to this effort. I then realized that this functionality would be inappropriate – our contributions as a community rather than particular individuals should be in focus.

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20 Comments

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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    Having raised the issue of a visual reminder (yet again) in a team meeting with the editorial staff and asking for this very artifact, I am exceedingly happy to see this post and call to action come from a prominent community mentor.
    When we say “SAP Community Cares” let’s mean it.  You can find a badge to put on your wiki profile page or external blog page here:
    SAP Feeding Knowledge .
    While visiting that site, take a look at how your points are being employed.  Seeing this program in action this winter in Southeast Asia, it is hard to stand by idly while it goes broke.  Thank you Dick for this very timely post.
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  2. Felix Jeyareuben
    Why should SDN points related to charity? As I told already in a forum post charity must come from heart and not from SDN points.
    The workflow is not statisfactory. Instead of SDN giving to charity  based on SDN points, why don’t it give SDN points to real money contributors. So there will be real contribution going on if SDN really cares instead of unnecessary marketing in the name of charity.
    Why should SDN want to make someone’s need hanging on SDN points? If SDN thinks and has budget which it can give then why is it attached to SDN points? I think it is the worst thing on SDN I have ever seen. Please don’t play with the poor.
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    1. Marilyn Pratt
      This program was driven by a community desire to heighten awareness about “things that matter” to other community members.  Take a look at Nigel James’ post: Change the World to see what catalyzed this activity, before you make accusations about marketing. Had you attended TechEd in the US, you would have seen other examples: a mural filled with community ideas around giving, sharing, building consensus. If you have further doubts, I suggest you take a good hard look at the post about reputation and false advertising.

      No one here is obligated to participate.  You could voluntarily stop producing content and thus stop contributing. 

      The choice is yours alone.

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      1. Ram Manohar Tiwari
        Not sure but I might need to revisit Major Barbara or Atlas Shrugged to get a different perspective.
        As for as raising productivity to fund a charity with the help of extra-generated resources, seems to be a good idea.
        I guess it would be more sustainable in the long run compared to consuming without having a regular source of resource/money generation.
        Further, apart from the “points for charity” method we may look for some direct source of resource/awareness generation.

        Can we have Google Adsense along side the community cares badge on SCN & releated Bloggers’ Blogs (internal/external)? We can have one Adsense ID for “community cares” and Bloggers should be able to add it to their own blogs. The money generated can be channelized to the charity programs. [ Provided it does not violate the Google Terms ]

        Wherever possible and in the long run, It would be preferable to have programs that teach how to grow rice rather than distributing rice-bags.

        Ignore if my comments have managed to miss the point completely, once again :).

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      2. Felix Jeyareuben
        >>  You could voluntarily stop producing content and thus stop contributing.

        You accepted yourself that charitable contribution is dependent on producting content. Charity dependent on Content – this dependency relation must never be for any true charitable contribution.

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        1. Craig Cmehil
          Felix,

          As a community a voice was spoken, it said “we want to do something together” contributing in this community has a metric and thus the best way to enable the entire process was through the contribution of members of the community.

          Now frankly I’m in total agreement with Marilyn here – if you don’t like it – then leave, your negative attitude towards a positive thing is simply sad, self centered and off base.

          SAP as a company does much more than this so your above scenario to Dan is off by a long shot and for someone who seems so dead set against points suggesting that users can “buy” points via donating to charity is just disgusting!

          The program we started, based on the feedback from the community was that the amount we donate to charity depends on how much contribution the community generates – the community said it was better than shipping t-shirts and other gifts around the world.

          We as a company did a lot of work to determine all the legal aspects as well as how best to proceed.

          The community wanted to make a statement and the statement was “we make contributions” and based on how good are contributions are we get points – they are nice but instead of a t-shirt please donate money to charity instead. So again if you feel that it’s improper that’s fine BUT the rest of the community who are vocal at the moment do feel that it’s OK and therefore as much as you want people to respect your opinions then you need to respect theirs and this constant negative attitude is in poor taste and needs to stop.

          If you don’t want to contribute that’s fine the rest of the community will continue, because regardless of what you may think everything in life is dependent upon something else. The community here freely helps each other and they did this because they wanted to – we added points and t-shirts and they continued – then they wanted to give the money to those who could use it instead of a t-shirt – we accepted and worked hard to make it happen.

          SAP as a company continues in its efforts in the areas of charity, corporate citizenship, social responsibility and so on – if the community continues to contribute and help each other then we as SAP will do “on top of what we already do” even more by donating to charity – what each individual in the community choses to do in this regard is their own choice – me I personally donate an average of $1000 (Euro now that I live in Germany) as well as my time to charity and knowing that each contribution I do here will help to add to that – it’s a nice feeling and certainly better than a t-shirt.

          So I would appreciate you stop putting a blight on this program because you have issues with the points system – accept that this was the choice made by the community then decide if you are going to stick around or not because frankly this attitude of yours and constant negative comments around the points system, company list, and now the Contribution for Food program is simply disgusting.

          Craig

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          1. Ignacio Hernández
            Felix, I admire your work and contribution, please tell me if I could help you in something, I think you are being stuck in the dark side of the participation, please go ahead, we can change it for better.
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    2. Daniel McWeeney
      I understand the sensitivity around social responsibility but I don’t understand the apprehension of attaching any metric to getting a major multi-national to contribute to the poor.  Anyone who really wanted to help wouldn’t care if giving was tied to points or to your personal vocabulary ( http://www.freerice.com/ ).  I applauded SDN’s mission of being an better corporate citizen even if it is with prodding us for points.  Any initiative in this vain I support wholeheartedly.
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      1. Felix Jeyareuben
        Daniel McWeeney,

        >> but I don’t understand the apprehension of attaching any metric to getting a major multi-national to contribute to the poor.

        It depends on the perspective you view it. You will be able to understand when you come out from a company perspective and look the issue from a needy person.

        Take a small example…Assume you decided to contribute 10$ for each bug you solved in your project each day. But in reality, you had predecided the amount you can actually afford and contribute to charity well within your budget. Which means you are not going to solve a 100 thousand bugs and pay a million dollars to charity on a single day.
        Assume that you didn’t solve any bugs a day and a needy person is starving without food who is just opposite to you and asks some help. What would be your answer – ‘Sorry buddy, I didn’t solve anything today. So no help for you from me. Try tomorrow and I will help if I happen to solve’. The next day the same needy person happen to see you and asks for you. But today you just had given the amount for charity, generated by solving bugs to another needy person you happen to see first. What would be your answer? ‘Sorry buddy, the allocated money is over. So no help for you from me. Try tomorrow and I will help if I happen to see you first and solved any bugs’.

        So, in the above story, charity is never important. Solving bugs is the prime. Hence solving bugs means you help. That is the reason charity is made dependent on bugs.

        Lets take another example assuming a disaster stuck a location moments after SDN completely gave the amount for charity or for another help for that particular cycle. When help is requested worldwide for that disaster, I hope SDN will not say ‘Please wait until next cycle when required SDN points are accumulated’ or similar.

        Thats the reason charity must come from heart and not from any other. Charity can be related to anything but CHARITY MUST NEVER BE DEPENDENT ON ANYTHING. Here in SDN, charity is dependent on points and not related.

        I ‘personally’ feel points are more important than charity for SDN.

        Plz note that I am not against SDN giving for charity. But the way its dependent on points is something I don’t like.

        Just an idea – points can be given to people who contribute to charity through SDN. Lets say if anyone contributes 50$ – a point can be given to him. There may be a risk of he himself increasing his points like 10000 SDN points. But if he is ready to pay half a million$ for 10K points – I think he deserves it for his true charitable contribution.

        Best regards,
        Felix Jeyareuben

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        1. Dennis Howlett
          @Felix: As background, I am not part of SAP, I have a very limited commercial relationship with the company yet I blog here. Why? Because SAP is the only company I know that TRANSPARENTLY attempts to make its programs meaningful and of meaning.

          I blog here because I’d like to think I can make a difference. I really don’t care how big or small that difference might be. As long as someone, somewhere can say: “Yep that mattered.” I don’t want thanks only that one day when I need help, I hope I can find it here.

          SAP is providing an incentive for charitable giving. It is saying to the community, you help make this better and we will reward that effort by giving to OTHERS. That is a quad winner. If I give, I earn points, someone might learn (for which I might get additional recognition) and the community takes another step towards its target.

          If you can’t see that from a ‘charity’ perspective, which I can understand having seen your personal website and the beliefs you put on display, then perhaps think about it as a highly effective business transaction.

          Finally, it’s important to realize this is a COMMUNITY decision not one for individuals. At that level, you have implicitly agreed by continuing to contribute.

          Otherwise, I cannot help you.

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        2. Ramesh Ramaswamy
          The points are the indicator of a reasonable solution;are the rewards in recognition of trouble shooting/clarifying a point in question.
          It is an indicator of the professional contribution to the community at large.
          If the points are given based on charity,i think we will lose sight of our focus.We should keep in mind that charity is incidental to our professional work.This is why the charity is tied up to the point.This should not be the central theme here.There are many other organised agencies fully dedicated for charity etc.
          Let us not blurr on our focus.
          This forum is metorphising in to a robust platform to further our professional interests.Let us restrict ourselves to this.
          I think the forum managers have not fully applied themselves while tying charity to the points.
          SAP could have consulted the forum members before embarking on this charity.
          The intention is certainly good;but fairly mismanaged while going downstream.
          This is why we are debating a needless issue which hardly add any value to our profession.
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          1. Craig Cmehil
            A very large selection for the community (we are not just forums) was consulted and this topic was very much discussed broadly before hand. So I think your comment about it being “mismanaged”  in regards to this off.

            There really is no need for further discussion until the end of the year when we see the results of this and further feedback – please everyone let’s give this a chance nothing has changed here only that instead of doing one thing we are doing another but the community activities and helping each other is the same.

            The bottom line for the community is that the wish for us to do something to help the greater good, no more t-shirts but rather food for those that need it and each and every community member should be proud of that.

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            1. Ignacio Hernández
              Craig, the program is excellent. A little help for people needing it, it is better than a t-shirt gift. Go ahead. I would like to see more proposals in SDN than just people talking bad about the work of others.
              Regards,
              Ignacio.
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  3. Somnath Manna
    I have been following the discussion going on in the comments. IMHO knowledge (sharing or consuming) comes first for a community like this. Points, converted to prizes (T-shirts) and now converted to charity comes second. If I worry too much on the rewards or fruits of labour by spending time browsing / contributing to the Community then the basic purpose of the Community is lost.
    Personally – I have not monetarily supported any charity till date but I have no qualms about that. I contribute in the Community because I see value in that. The rewards (T-shirts, wristband memory stick, book or even points for food) come secondary. The biggest reward for me actually has been getting to know many others whom I consider as good friends through the Community.
    BR,
    Somnath
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  4. Nigel James
    I noticed today an addition of ‘Total Annual Points’ in the sidebar – could this be extended to include ‘Total Community Points’ or could we add a total number of community points in a period to the top contributors filters/pages.

    cheers,
    Nigel

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    1. Marilyn Pratt
      The editors will be including this on the homepage with a weekly update to the best of my knowledge.
      This is found on the right side of SDN and BPX homepages.
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