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I have known the community sites, discussion forums, developer forums etc. for quite some time now. I have also used the resources sometimes. Contribution from side so far has been little or none. Even if there was any, it got diluted with multiple Identities used for different employers. Surely, I did not contribute much to the community so far even it was diluted in multiple Identities.

I have been in this dilemma for a long time as to whether to write or not. Recently, I started reading the blogs regularly. Lately I came across few articles, which tipped my thought to write my first blog. Below are the two thoughts on community contribution, which I have struggled for long in my mind and were brushed again.

To contribute, or not to contribute

I came across this interesting It needs to be said from time to time: GIVE and TAKE from Holger Stumm. It was interesting to read, especially the healthy discussion in the comments. I have not been a very active user; neither passive nor active; of SCN. For some reason most of the needs were handled by the standard SAP documents, SAP notes and other official documentation. Or maybe I was lucky to have some really good friends working with me who could always help me with their expertise :).

  • One interesting point, which I came to know about is the “1% rule” in the online communities. It looks like that old and tested Pareto principle (also known as 80-20) principle got worse in this side of the world to become 99-1 principle!!!
  • Another interesting term I came to know was “leecher” and “lurker”. While leechers is quite a common terminology in P2P networks, it was surprising to see that in community. My view on this is tag “leechers” give a negative view on the users who use the information. Isn’t the information created in the first place, so that others can use it. And also, it has in general always followed the pyramid. Where the prominent contributor sit on the top and the users on the bottom. Is the reverse pyramid possible, useful or sustainable? I do not know.
Community and Career

Another thing which I had in my mind as a question is the usage of community to sell yourself in the job market. There have been some good discussions in SCN also ( I do not have the links now) on the importance of the contributions in differentiating from others. I am of opinion that contribution is good. But to make it a point to help in career is little challenge for my neural network to accept. Below points keep running in my mind on making the contribution a target.

  • It becomes challenging to draw a line, who is contributing because he wants to, or who is contributing to use it for own vested interests. 
  • Will it not lead to another race than a healthy community at the end.
  • People create internal network to raise the point bars.
  • Some people are forced to contribute and achieve the targets points.

How much such contributions really value? I understand that having an ideal world is a theory and practical world will have other side of the coin as well.

How things will take shape in future, I have no idea. Leaving behind all the doubts and arguments, which kept my neural engine hot for some time, I have decided to join the community and contribute when I have any interesting thoughts to share. I hope that, I will be able to keep this passion on. 

At the end thanks to all those people who keep the community portal alive.

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3 Comments

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  1. Gregory Misiorek
    Arundeep,

    some great contributors we will never get to know as they have decided not to participate. for those who made the leap of faith i can only offer encouragement. u raise all valid points and its hard to disagree with them.

    i think we will become 20/80 at some point as
    this seems to be one of those statistical “models” like Bell curve or Fibonacci series that we like to find in the world around us.

    as for the “leeches”, they may serve a purpose. we can use them to do our brain dumps to unload the old knowledge to make room for new, so i don’t really mind if they don’t “give back” as their thinking is short term and they limit themselves more than anyone else, really.

    i’m here only to learn…

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    1. Arundeep Singh Post author
      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for the welcome message.

      I believe we lose some contributors as they are not so comfortable with the new methods. They prefer to stick to method of peer sharing, face to face talks. There is an old phrase in India which means, “The thirsty goes to the source of water”. This was quite imbibed in the education system (not just the technical but spiritual as well), where the seeker find the Master. I know some really good people who are not comfortable with new technologies. Or may be my view is strengthed by fact that I also find myself in the same boat at times. e.g. I am not comfortable with twitter and still struggling to work while being online on messenger 🙂

      There are other type of “Gurus” or Masters, which are working too much to have time to contribute. I happened to have come across some of those. The only way to have some nectar extracted from them is to have some direct converstation with them or observe them while they are working. You realize that knowledge/ experience is simply flowing, but you need to be there to collect it.

      I do not feel otherwise for them just because they did not adopt to the new ways.

      I believe that variety is what makes the world beautiful and challenging.

      And yes, life as a whole is nothing but learning.

      Arundeep

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  2. Gavin Heaton
    Excellent questions!
    I have written a number of times on the topic of careers and skills – and community contribution. I actually see community contribution as a new form of CV. Hiring managers and agents now actively research job candidates – so what better way to demonstrate your skills, capability, leadership and teamwork than to be a participant in a vibrant community. Sure, there may be some self interest there – but it’s not just about you. Passion tends to win out anyway.
    And along the way, you might just meet with some smart folks that you can learn from – and become friends.
    But it doesn’t work unless you step out from behind the shadows and actually participate.
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