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for those who want to know about sap beyond sap, it may be worthwhile to see what’s out there. take for example it analysts. there are a few of the bigger ones like gartner, idg, or forrester. there are also some freelancers that are not held hostge to corporate interests and may be a little more wide open in their views. i’m posting a link to one such site, which has an interesting perspecive on sap and competition like oracle, ibm, microsoft and others. i don’t necessarily agree with all the opinions there, but sometimes drop a line or two.

i actually wanted to write about something else which is more to the tune what i’m trying to accomplish like financial reporting from a browser (blackberry, explorer, iPhone, what have you), drillable down to the single transaction like customer invoice line item, but went off on a tangent to “test” the waters and see what goes and what doesn’t in the corporate censorship room. 

at some point in my career, i was trying to make a corporate intranet a bit more lively, but didn’t get too far as people were afraid to vent and voice their opinions. i think the tool (sdn, bpx) that sap is now offering is a bit more open, but i won’t really find out until a few of my posts get edited, posted or commented on.

last year, i was able to create my own wiki pages and now this authorization has been withdrawn. i don’t really get a response from my comments which is about the only area that i’m able to use to create content. so far, we have forums, wikis, blogs, docupedia, openids…but also identity theft, duplicate usernames, slow connections, multiple sign-ons and other end user experiences that make the it world go round.

just a musing from a business analyst that is trying to get a new assingment. how many of you are out there and want to share a story?

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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    If you wanted to test the blog waters and did so publicly, I’ll respond transparently too (as I have just “released” your blog while trawling the queue).
    Usually we give the following guidance to contributors:
    1)try to use correct grammar and format (for example proper punctuation, spelling, word organization with chunked text-plenty of guidance in the “getting started with blogs wiki pages)
    2)do write about what you know or are in the process of exploring and write from a personal perspective
    3)be original in thought
    4)try to add value to your readers
    5)if you are ranting use the Ranting label

    You seem to have a least 2-3 of these above approaches down.
    I’d say that based on #1, your content isn’t up to our normal “standards”.  But perhaps #3 trumps that. But do think of the moderating here as a guidance rather than censorship.  The goal is to ensure healthy dialogue and information sharing that enriches in some way, shape or form and moderation is meant to help first-time bloggers especially to our environment to get a “good reception” from other readers.  We certainly release content here that is, at times, less than complimentary to ourselves but as an SAP site you can also understand that we try to keep to a level of professionalism and avoid situations that can dissolve into defamatory interchanges.  I think the Rules of Engagement and Guidelines make that fairly clear.

    As for the wiki area and the new expert wiki approach; think of it please as a concept we are evolving and improving over time.  And as something implemented to increase quality and value to our members. There is still an area to “stage” content freely, and often we are dependent on the extended eyes and ears of our community to vet submissions, some of those moderators might overlook comments or might not always feel comfortable publishing content because they are uncertain of its quality.
    That’s when we step in as I am doing now.
    So welcome to blogging and if this was a test I think both sides passed.

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    1. Pascal Renet
      Having some sort of rules and guidance to make sure that blog posters stay within an accpeted framework is good and well , but the issue I found here on SDN is that each forum has different moderators with different points of view on what “blogging” is about.

      I first posted a nice and long blog on solution manager (SLA’s made easy in SAP Solution Manager) with lots of nice “pictures” and detailed instructions – that blog was accepted.
      Happy with that, I went on to write 2 more equally long and detailed (this time manufacturing oriented) posts with “pictures” and detailed explanations which this time were refused as blog entries. The tone of all my posts was the same, but the ones refused were done so on the basis that they had “lots of pictures” and were “tutorials” and should be submitted as wikis or articles.

      It already takes a long time to prepare the pictures, the text and upload them….so sending me on my way and telling me to go back to the drawing board and re-submit the posts as articles or wikis  – and spend some more time doing it….no thanks.

      I don’t know which of the moderators was right or wrong in either accepting my first post or refusing the next two, but this is one blogger lost.

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      1. Marilyn Pratt
        Pascal,
        Firstly, thanks for taking the additional time and effort to share your “less than satisfying” experience with blogging.  Understanding the effort it takes to create text, graphics that fit the blog framework and detailed explanations in the blog, I can understand entirely the frustration you describe. I also applaud your decision to make your opinions transparent here so that we can dialogue and also have a better sense of your experience, unpleasant as it was.
        Secondly, and this is a personal opinion, having a potential blogger get frustrated and leave without having had the opportunity to have that dialogue, is definitely our loss, so again thanks.
        The better we communicate around expectations the less angst and disappointment. Communication, expectations, moderating, and guidance are things we are striving to improve so having this critique is crucial to an improvement in the way we handle content and guidance to our moderators and participants.
        When we have such a large and diverse body of citizen facilitators there are bound to be inconsistencies and personal styles.  Working with over 700 moderators is daunting.
        But it is our job to continue to strive for consistency in moderation and clearer communication around topics such as reasoning behind changes in policy.
        Rather than argue that we have already done this, I can promise that we will continue to use this feedback to improve the way we do this.  There are a number of threads in the Suggestions and Comments forum.  By simple search, I found one such thread What is SDN for?. I’ll also forward your comments to others to ensure further attention.
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        1. Pascal Renet
          Marilyn,
          Merci for the taking the time to responds to my comment.

          Just looking at some of the recent blog posts in other forums, I see new ones appear that are not dissimilar to mine that have been refused 🙁 
          I am itching to write a new one on an engineering change management issue for which I found no resolve on SCN, but with the potential for a refusal, spending time to write it is not worth the gamble.

          I don’t know, maybe you should until you nail the direction that SCN will take, update the blog posting guidelines and encourage prospective bloggers to first contact the forum moderator they want to post to, to briefly present what they want to write on. He should then advise which of the SCN communications means would offer the best chances of seeing acceptance of their work.

          For what it’s worth, I prefer blogs over the wiki or the articles. With blogs I can immediately scan through the post. If it catches my eye I’ll read it completely and maybe even save it as a pdf on my drive.
          Wiki, I don’t like because it is evident that it is an area that is still looking for maturity and frankly at the moment looks like a bric-a-brac where things get parked because no one knows where to put it. Articles are nice, but you have to download them, only to sometimes find a document that does not live up to it’s title.

          Just my $0.02 worth.

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          1. Marilyn Pratt
            Hard work was done to educate people about the wiki and it’s use but I agree there is much more work to be done there.
            I guess we need to understand the proportion of bloggers who have excellent work that gets rejected as blogs as contrasted to the amounts of substandard content that gets pushed to blog queue (plagiarized how-tos, simple contents that adds no additional value as posted,as well as content well-documented in multiple places).  One has to understand the motivation of some of those bloggers and also see the reality of limited bandwidth of the volunteer moderators who often times do not have the time or ability to work with authors to perfect their submissions and thus might be a bottleneck to submission if each piece needed to go through a full “where should I publish it” process before moderation.  That being said you have triggered a good dialogue here and I for one would dearly like to see the content you are “itching to write” get properly published as well as revisiting the rejected content to see how best to position it. And I would like to see a way to implement your suggestion for enhancing the experience.  We need to take this to the moderators as well.
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            1. Matthew Billingham
              One of my blogs – Project Objectify – got, via email, an excellent suggestion to start doing a wiki about it.  Great, love to.  When I’ve got time…  But then, I didn’t start to blog until Gali looked at me and smiled, and suggested I start. 

              I’m NOT an early adopter of technology.  I’m quick to exploit it, but I do need encouragement.  I’m told that the Wiki interface is far better than the Blog – which is good news.  But though I’ve tried a bit, I’m not really that comfortable yet. 

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          2. Gregory Misiorek Post author
            Pascal,

            It was not my intention to get my blog published immediately, but to engage the moderator, who was anonymous at the time, and look for editorial tips. The blog did get published and elicited a discussion which i think is positive. So, this was a great motivation.

            I definitely understand the effort that goes even into a wiki article, let alone a blog entry, and it’s quite annoying not to have it published especially if decision seems arbitrary or if you read another blog whose quality is obviously poorer than the one that got rejected. This is  very demotivating especially if you are not getting paid for sharing.

            I concur in having the ability to identify and contact a moderator before the content gets published. I’ve had a mixed luck with getting a response there, though when some of my comments have been not acknowledged. This is state of affairs as I see it.

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            1. Matthew Billingham
              I’ve only recently become a blog moderator, and I take a very gentle approach – unlike my approach to Forum Moderation, which is quite robust.

              Like all parts of the SCN universe, we’re a diverse lot.  We’re located in different parts of the world, and a fair few of us, like me, don’t work for SAP.  I don’t even work for a SAP customer or partner – I’m just a ‘umble freelance programmer.  Ever so ‘umble…  And, aside from the moderators forums – yes we have our own secret forum to talk about everyone behind their backs – there’s no centrality. 

              This inevitably leads to inconsistencies at the borders, but I really hope that any flagrant disregard of the proprietries does get dealt with.  For example, I’ve had to deal with forum moderators who’ve broken the forum rules… :-O  With this, I think generally, equilibrium is reached, and consistency improves – but there will always be dispute.

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