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Author's profile photo Otto Gold

Tiny details I would love to have on SDN, part 4

Note: Please understand that this blog series is not complaining about our beloved SDN. I only blog about the topics I have discussed with other Community members and find useful. I think a place where people can discuss the often-appearing-ideas and suggestions one by one is needed and I hope my blogs about these ideas and suggestions can create places for such discussion.

The voice of SAP

I am from Europe. Sometimes a problem appears on the globe and American presidents are complaining for years there is no person in the Europe they can call to start discussing the solution. In Europe we don´t have anybody to pick up such call. It is a matter of politics. There are too many countries involved in the “project” called the European Union. Nobody wants to be neglected when a global politics is discussed or to be found guilty when a problem appears. It is always everybody or nobody. Well, there are plenty of reasons why this doesn´t work. But that doesn´t help a single non-European politician to solve his problem right?

With this example in mind I wonder who is “this guy” for SDN? Or where can a stranger, an outsider, find a list of people responsible for the certain fields/ parts of SDN? If there is not a central point of access to the SDN relevant information, then, in my humble opinion, there should be a phone book, where I can find a person, who is responsible for the certain field of my interest.

“I feel encouraged”

Let´s talk about the example again: We have a Suggestions and Comments forum. Or a Web 2.0 one. These are Focus on Passion: 10 Tips to create an Engaging Community (check number 4 in the Mark´s list), to discuss the issues and suggestions beyond the everyday concerns. Ok, let´s start a thread in one of these categories. What happens? It depends, I don´t know on what it depends but the outcome varies a lot.

Sometimes nobody answers. Sometimes you get a full hand of answers but from the same people talking in the community forums everyday (guys, guys, I like to talk, but we could use a participation of a man/ or a woman/ who can really change something, can provide information, can promise something and then keep the promise). Sometimes you get the answer from a man/ or a woman/ with a SAP flag next to his/ her name, but that is not the assurance the one you´re talking to can really change anything or is “only” a SAP employee, who likes to talk.

In the Web 2.0 – The potential of social networks you can find a sentence: you are whom you know! Maybe I would feel like I am “somebody” if I would know the right people to discuss the issues, the insiders who can actually do something about it.

Who is my advocate?

SAP flags don´t have to be the mark of a man (or a woman), who can help you, the moderator mark, the Mentor mark, it´s all the same. Sometimes I feel like everybody gets your “workflow item” (a general task), but nobody really takes responsibility, nobody feels it is up on him now to provide the answer, to help or anything that the questioner asks for.

I don´t complain here. I really don´t. I don´t write this because I didn´t get what I wanted or somebody makes me mad or something. I only write about the observation of mine, how the forum works. I feel people are not encouraged by this approach, au contraire. Why would one act pro-actively when the outcome is pretty uncertain and one can do very little to change it.

Not the OSS

I understand that the forum threads are not anything like the OSS messages (for example). The real importance is not “high”. But it is like with children. When I was a kid every problem of mine was SO important. And the adult people around me didn´t care, it was not important at all for them. Sometimes people asking for same change feel like children, their problems are important only for them. If you can recall the feeling, you can understand any change achieved would be great.

The SAP tutorial systems

I have another example: in Trials, Previews & Other Downloads forum you could have noticed the voting threads which SAP products/ systems the Community would like to use under the Developer license/ as the tutorial systems for playing at home. These threads are running for some time, the “votes” are added like every day.

But there are people who don´t understand (like me or Mr. Harald Boeing, Voting Thread for the SAP NW PI 7.11 Developer Edition, don´t miss a comment by Rob Burbank as well) why we need to vote for the trials, why we cannot just go to the download site and get the installation files. Of course there are reasons; there are the technical reasons (like the typical PI would not run an “ordinary” machine, I guess), the time limitations (to solve the technical issues the developers would have to work day and night to deploy the “slim” versions) and maybe some other (politics?).

Please check the comments by Mr. Philip Parkinson in the mentioned thread, where he cites Mr. Udo Paltzer: the current version of PI being ABAP+JAVA he feels it is too “heavy” for a trial version and  emails and threads like this allow him to motivate to SAP management as something that the community is requesting.

I ask: Why there is not a central point of access where all the people interested in the new trials can read about the progress, about the calendar (when any new trial system will be published for public use), about the obstacles. If you check how many of the “voting threads” you can count in the mentioned forum, if you count how many people has added their “votes”, if you understand the importance of having a “playground” system at home (for those who don´t want to play in the company sandbox, the company don´t have such system or even do not work for any company running SAP) then you must ask the same question as well.

I don´t want any SAP people to sit by the phone and wait for the Community members to call with their questions. I don´t want SAP to hire any people to answer the forum questions. But if the initiative is important for SAP, if they do care about the people needs and understand the importance of the feeling somebody listens, then an action should be taken. A short blog about the progress posted in SDN category and mentioning it in all the “voting threads” or something like that would suffice. You don´t have to do anything big, but you should probably do something.

I didn´t want to mention the “voting threads” example without trying to dig for some news. I asked a question (I got “encouraged” to ask a question), Voting threads, and got the only answer by Mr. Parkinson (mentioned above from the PI voting thread).

What do you thing about the mentioned ideas? Would you like to read a blog about the progress? Would you like to receive such “update report” regularly? Would you like to feel that there is a person who cares about the forum suggestion? What do YOU think? Please comment. Regards Otto

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      3 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Sergio Ferrari
      Sergio Ferrari
      Thanks for the blog and for your contributions in the Adobe forum Otto.

      I like this blog and I think you're providing good suggestions and comments.

      I personally suggested some small improvements (e.g. "the Notify me of comments about this weblog" ) to increase the efficiency of the system and as part of the SAP Mentors initiative I can assure that a lot of people as well as infrastructure is involved to improve the community everyday.

      Honestly I think SDN community is very open minded and suggestions and feedbacks  are very very important and well accepted.

      General suggestions are probably more difficult to be applied than specific ones. Maybe you could summarize a bit what kind of change should be evaluated.

      Even if I agree with you I would say that "everything could be better" and I would remember to everybody how World was before the SDN Community.
      We only had the opportunity to ask to the OSS or colleagues with more experience. I really think SDN was the "game changer" and it could become even better maybe looking to some other platforms like stackoverflow.com that manage "reputation" in a more sophisticated way.

      Sergio

      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold
      Blog Post Author
      Thank you very much for your comment, Mr. Ferrari! I am always surprised how nice people I find around here and how supportive people on SDN are. With every blog comment or a personal email, the feeling is better a little.
      Every time I start "complaining" about anything I am a little afraid the reader might feel that I am complaining because I have nothing better to do. It is not because of that, it is because I feel so much potential in the Community and a part of this potential was not revealed yet.

      "Maybe you could summarize a bit what kind of change should be evaluated." --> Maybe you could elaborate a little what outcome would be the best for processing on the SDN team side? I would like to help here, not cause any problems and of course a bad template would harm the result. I thought somebody would be ready to discuss the details and the summary would naturally come out from the discussion. Looks like the ices didn´t start to move yet (oh my, is there a saying like this in English?).

      I wonder if you have your personal opinions about the future of SDN you can share here. Maybe it would inspire and encourage other readers to drop a line? I also wonder if you have ever thought about the way the changes on SDN should be prioritized?

      And the last important thing: because you´re an insider and you probably know people responsible for the SDN, could you please thank them for me? Since these people are not active in public, or people (like me) don´t know that they´re personally "responsible" for a great SDN, we cannot thank them personally.

      I hope ideas of yours could direct the ideas and suggestions of the Community and help us create something useful, not just talk, complain, suggest and write the blogs like this one.
      Thank you for your time and effort.
      Yours sincerely, Otto:))

      Author's profile photo Sergio Ferrari
      Sergio Ferrari
      I'm just going to thank the sdn team.
      I do have a partial vision of what is going to be improved but for that I'll try to involve the "right people".
      Please continue with your blogs and in the forum "Suggestions and Comments".

      Sergio