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Moving to Strict Rules to improve Quality and Control


Over the past 18 months we as a team have been investigating the concerns of the community around quality postings, especially in the forums. Recently we have taken several measures to improve the quality and control the flow of undesired messages and content.

We’ve implemented message interceptors in our forums to catch key words and phrases and reject them from being posted, we’ve launched an entire new How Grateful We Are For All Our ‘M’s and reached out to even more community members about moderation. We’ve enhanced and activated an Signal versus Noise which is checked daily for submissions. We’ve upgraded the Forum Upgrade to allow us more features and ability to handle the ever increasing flow of traffic.

We’ve done a series to help people understand how these negative activities can be harmful to themselves as individuals, How to Lower Your Status in The SAP Community and How to Further Damage Your SAP Community Reputation. In the past we’ve talked about the quality How to Further Damage Your SAP Community Reputation and now this is Part II.

We are not convinced simply doing away with parts of the system are a good idea as they have Food for Points however the community has O SDN, where art thou?, very loud and very clear and we have decided that living with guidelines was nice in the past it is no longer acceptable now.

As of today we are informing you the community as well as all moderators that it’s time for “strict moderation”, the Rules of Engagement are now just that – they are RULES! From now on, threads with “urgent”, “plz” and generally those which indicate the user has not attempted to find a solution on their own, nor have they bothered to read the rules or give clear subject lines of meaning – if reported by you the community as abuse – they will be removed.

Asking for copyright material will result in an instant BAN of your user from posting to the forums and wiki and your blogging rights will be revoked as well. You will still be able to surf, read and learn but you will not be allowed to participate.

Users who are uncivil, rude, destructive and otherwise in violation of the Rules of Engagement or the Terms of Service and Use will also result in a ban, the ban however will be a 30 day ban after the second offense once a public warning has been given. (No the ban list will not be made public for those of you who wanted a “Wall of Shame”)

We welcome your continued feedback to our SCN Support forum as well as your continued understanding and support as we move forward.

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  • I have only visited SDN occasionally the last few months. As today is sort of quiet (so far…) at work I decided to have a look in the Workflow forum.  Can’t remember when I last visited, but it was certainly not this month. Perhaps it was in the first half of May, perhaps longer ago.

    The stricter moderation is good news, even if some of it may hit myself. Less noise and more high-quality discussions from which we can all learn, whether we have one month or one decade of experience. I know I am not the only person who started eagerly but ended up disappointed and quit using SDN.

    I am glad to be back and hope to stay active for a long time.

    • As to the workflow forum, this is a good opportunity to thank Mike Pokraka who is moderating.  It will be good to have feedback from you Kjetil .
      • I am delighted to see that the rules will be enforced, particularly in regards to attachments. There are far too many times when I research a question and find that it has been covered by an older thread, but that the answer was passed privately, rather than being posted or attached to the thread itself.

        Ending the practice of sending answers via email, and requiring that they be posted/attached will greatly increase the value of the forums as an archival information source.

        Aoife Bratton

  • This is good news.

    It would be better if this was coupled with an activation time for new users. In this case if someone is banned it takes a couple of seconds to create a new user.

    But this is at least a fantastic start to prevent SDN from deteriorating.

  • Thank you !
    I’ve been asking for strict moderation for so long that I’m very glad that SDN managers finally took the only right decision (IMHO).

    I hope it will set the forums quality back where it stood in the past.


  • Thanks Michael,

    Removing the forum entries you mention above should help elevate the level of discussions and, hopefully, bring some sharper users back into the fold.

    J. Haynes

  • 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.
  • This is great news. I also suggest that rather than deleting threads, they should be locked and shown as such. This will help others know what is not allowed.

    Welcome back  Kjetil!

    Ramki Maley.

  • This sounds like a plan.. nice to see strict rules.. hope community members don’t loose interest by being very very strict.
  • Awaiting Moderators to take this action from very long time.
    Thanks for action on this and hope you will continue to..and will not leave this in midway


  • Hallo Michael plus all SDN Evangelists,

    I highly appreciate your attempt in moderating the SDN community into higher professionalism. It’s a first step and more will follow …..

    •     There are some issues regarding language: every editor has a Spelling and Grammar button available, but – I guess – only 2% are using it. And this looks for me like “murdering a language”. I will not name the colleagues which are doing this most likely, but it’s easy to imagine. Sure, not everybody is able to formulate blogs, wikis or threads like Shakespeare but there should be at least a try. There are spelling mistakes, typing errors around the border. Do we want to create our own SDN language?
    •     Copyright is a critical point. The  Copy/Paste technique is used everywhere. When there are small text parts pasted it’s hard to link them to any Copyright publication. And what happens to Programming Code? Such Codes are most likely somehow copyrighted to a client or its vendors?
    •     Point-hunters: That’s a mess. One Developer asks for the meaning of sy-subrc = 0,4,8. He got a lot of answers and one colleague was granted with 10 points, all others were left empty. So far so good. But. The thread initiator had already close to 100 points. This looks for me as a Physicist like someone is solving problems related to Einstein’s Relativity Theory and on the other hand the same guy is asking seriously “why the water in a river is flowing downwards and not upwards?” In my opinion no question is stupid (e.g. brainstorming). But some matters in context let you feel suspicious.

    Sometimes it really let me feel well being able to contribute to the community, but sometimes even reading text/articles/threads saddens me terrible. We all can wish us a better community focused on trust, excellence and professionalism.


  • Very true. i have infact mailed to Gali and other gentlemen, to publish such rules of engagement, as it has brought a lot of indiscipline and disrepect to the forum.

    Thank GOD, it has taken its shape.

    Best Regards

  • This initiative is highly appreciated.

    I have another suggestion to Michael as to make sure that the questions that have been unanswered for long be declared as closed after certain time, maybe after 6 months or a year. The person posting the question should close the message once it is answereed or after certain amount of time. If the person is still looking for answer upto a certain length of time, it should be kept open, so that others can respond to it.

    The whole point is that there is no good reason for answering a 3-4 years old question.


    • HI Just have alook into this..
      The ACTIONS TAKING TO KEEP our community clean is highly apprecaited ..
      i want to make one more suggestion..
      so many users are posting similar kind of questions due to unable to find the Correct in search.. i mean unable to find the wright key word to search..
      Just now hope u people can see orkut has implemented one scheme..where when we are searching the person name in search place it is showing all the friends list..of the words..
      For instance if u type Arc these three words..

      it will show the Words starting and the words in the middle if u see that once u can clearly observe my point..If u can implement this it helps alot..
      I know its too tough to do that..but is it possible?

      • Hi Sas,

        I have a question for you (and others…).

        Is it so difficult to type “y-o-u” instead of just “u”?  There is only a two keystroke difference!  “U” is fine for a text message on a phone, but since this blog is about professionalism, we should all strive to use entire words and not pretend that we are texting each other.

        Best Regards,

  • Hi Micheal,

    I am regular member of the SDN Community. It is a great platform provided by SAP to get solutions to our challenges we face in the projects.
    But for the past few years this forum is taken causally by some members, thus degrading the quality as well as the effectivness of SDN.

    Its a great effort from your part to come across such strict Rules of Engagement.I sincerely believe this will restore the Outstanding Quality of the forum.

    All the users who are willing to take advantage from this great platform will stand by the side of this sound Rules of Engagement.

    Hope this will be the best ever way to ensure the Quality of SDN Community.


  • One other thing I would like to add is that people  should stop begging for points. 

    SDN is not a competition, it’s a community.

  • Hi Michael !

        Its really a good initiative to improve the quality of the SDN and avoid the misuse of this forum.
        It will be more helpful If you advice the users to provide more details while they posting the issue. Some of them are posting without clear explanation of the scenario.

    Thanks & regards


  • Dear Mr. Michael,
    This seems to be a really good move which has to be appriciated. I on behalf of the SDN community wish to thank you and your team members.


  • I tried posting to the form and was told that my post was rejected because it contained banned words… I removed the word please and it posted ok.   We can’t be polite in our postings any more?
    • Hi Gregory,

      Sorry that we didn’t get back to you earlier about this.

      It has to be something else that you changed in your post. I tried in the test forum and created a post with just two words in it: Please in the subject as well as body of the post. See: please

      Try it for yourself. We welcome courtesy on SCN. It is a sign of refinement. 

      All the best, Mark.

  • Michael,

    Currently, it is not possible to edit the contents once your posting is followed by another posting from another member. This may need a reconsideration. In my scenario, one of the members who followed my reply raised concern about a portion of the message and I wanted to really *fix* it. But, in the current setup I couldn’t do anything after my posting was followed up by another post.

    “Edit” should be made available to the contributor all the times or a link should be available to the contributor to request the moderator to make the changes.

    Easwar Ram

  • Hi Michael,
    I recently received an e-mail informing me that one of my posted messages was rejected by the SDN moderators. The message simply referred me to the terms and conditions of the site. I have read the rules of engagement for the site and cannot figure out why my post was rejected. Is there a way to find out the specific reason for rejection so that I do not inadvertently repeat the same mistake?



  • Dear Michael,

    Why not make a new forum for Quality Management under the header of SAP Solutions?People like me and more willbe more benifited by such process.Please revert if any such idea.



  • Michael;

    As a relative “newbie” to SAP, I have been appalled by various notes I have seen in these forums – from the horrid mangled english to what obviously were questions that were designed to get points for someone.

    As for the mangled language, my comment to those who do this is as follows – how would you feel if I asked a question in your native language and made it look like I was only in the 2nd grade of school and what would you think of me ?  It also makes searching a lot more difficult – think of that the next time you post.  I understand that english is the toughest language to learn as a 2nd language, but the level of effort I see on many posts wouldn’t even qualify in my book as even trying.  Mis-spell a word – ok, I get that, but to paraphrase a famous US court case – “I know garbage when I see it”.

    As for the points system, I think Drew Carey says it best at the beginning of every show of the television program “What’s My Line” – “The points don’t matter, they are …” and he then proceeds to say something very witty and funny about point systems in general.  It is very nice though that you recognize the top points contributors at TechEd – so there is a fine line and I hope that the moderators help out in this regard.

    I have some comments about the forums and in relationship to other comments made.

    #1 – Length of time a post is kept.  I have a question out there which could REALLY use an answer and I think it would help a LOT of people who deal with change records on systems with multiple app servers would like an answer on.  It’s been out there some time and isn’t fully answered yet.  I don’t mind if the question comes up for review from time to time in an email and you then get asked to renew it.  I also ask that it then go to the moderator who can optionally re-raise the question again in addition to just leaving it out there for more time.

    #2 – I like the idea a post can be marked as “abuse”.  However, I would leave it up to the moderator to decide whether it was legit or not.  Also, if someone marks a question as “abuse” and the moderator decides that the person saying it was “abuse” is abusing the system, then they should be flagged as well.  False marking of abuse is worse than actual abuse in my book because the person is knowingly trying to cause harm.

    #3 – Getting points for questions you answer yourself.  In regards to item #1 above, I tried as best I could to answer my own question based on observations from what I learned.  However, I get no points credit for doing so.  Could it be possible that one could petition the moderator and group for points on those?  Otherwise, what one would have to do is have one person pose the question and the other answer it.  Given my rant about point abuse, you can understand why I’m being cautious about suggesting this.

    #4 – on a particular wikki that I contribute to, we have a section called “FAQ”.  What I’d like to see is a way to click on something and say “I’d like to vote that this goes into the FAQ”.  Again, the moderator would have the final say.



  • user ids are *assigned*.  (mine is p744029, wtf…)  search is difficult to impossible.  to find what you’re looking for, you don’t want to look here.  threads are not in the search engines’ indexes.  you apply more and more draconian rules and have less and less control because you are fighting the natural order of things.  I want answers about crystal reports. I couldn’t care less about SAP.  but you centralize and here I am.  the problem is in your core business philosophy.  it should be distributed, not unified.  let the business units handle themselves.  crystal reports did just fine before SAP came along.  they’ll do just fine without SAP mother henning their customers to the point that the service you provide is unuseful to the majority of customers seeking it.

    • Hi Joseph
        I did want to share a bit of why we decided to move to SCN. Though there were some trade-offs we liked what SCN had to offer, at the time and the strategy going forward. One trade-off, as you mentioned, was the experience for ‘people who don’t care about SAP’. We know this and that is why a separate identity on SCN was created – the Business Objects Community.  Among many features this included several product portals dedicated to Crystal Reports users, code , sample report, wiki, blogs and numerous other Business Objects/Crystal Reports areas. Included in this are the Business Objects/Crystal Reports forums –

        As for the search, if you are referring to the likes of Google, I agree that it doesn’t index as well as previous community sites. This is a known issue and we improve it monthly. There is also the forum context search which won’t go into SAP forums –  SAP Crystal Reports  

      Some other pluses of moving to SCN:
      Moderator requirements: because each forum requires moderators we were able to get +60 moderators to manage forums and ensure the forums stay clean and threads are answered

      Single set of forums – Business Objects was struggling with two separate sets of forums, throw in SAP and that’s three. By consolidating into one place we have focused our energies and now members only need to create one account and look in a single place to find post/reply about Crystal Reports.

      Forum traffic increase – The Business Objects forums use to average 2,000 posts & replies/month; After 5 months on SCN the forums average 14,000+ posts & replies/month.

      There are lots of pros/cons and we want to continue to make the experience better. I’ve captured your feedback and will use it going forward.