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Former SCN “Top Contributors” now SCN “Topic Leaders”

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Note from the author (November 2013):
This blog post dates back from 2010. For an accurate and updated description of the Topic Leader recognition program, please read this other blog.

As we launch the new SCN Contributor Recognition Program, I am sure that some of you are thinking: “Hey, it’s August, I’m going to be a Top Contributor this year!”

Yes, you are almost there, but keep up the good work until the end of the year. We’ve changed the timeline of the recognition period and also changed the name of the program to avoid some confusion we’ve had in years past.


For those who have no idea what I am talking about, check out the blogs from SAP Mentor and well-known Community member, Craig Cmehil, who announced the previous Top Contributors in 2009 and 2008. Craig was part of the SAP Community Network team, but moved on to another role within SAP and he couldn’t take the Top Contributors with him 😉

Change of Name:

The former Top Contributor program will now be called the Topic Leader program. Topic Leaders are the three SAP Community members who accumulate the highest number of contribution points in a specific category on SCN. If you don’t know what these categories are, check out the “Find the Expert” page that lists all of them and shows who are the five leading contributors per category at any point in time. These five people are competing for the recognition as Topic Leaders.

Change of Timeline:

The timeline for this contest was previously August 1 to July 31 but we’re adjusting the calendar to coincide with the overall SCN Contributor Recognition Program for Active Contributors. So now the program is aligned to the calendar year (January to December).

Recognition for Topic Leaders:

Don’t worry, nothing changes except the timeline and the name.

Because 2010 is a transition year, we will recognize Topic Leaders who contributed starting August 1, 2009 and finishing December 31, 2010.

As far as TechEd is concerned, we will be watching this year’s five leading contributors listed on the “Find the Expert” page, which is updated daily. We will select the three leading contributors in each category and involve them in activities such as stage presence, involvement in the Expert Lounge, etc.

In addition to exposure on our social media channels, we are also working to provide more online visibility and recognition for current and previous Topic Leaders, stay tuned and we will announce the initiative benefits towards the end of 2010.

The Topic Leaders 2010 will be the three leading contributors in a designated SCN category from August 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

The Topic Leaders 2011 will be considered for contributions from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.


Learn more about the SCN Contributor Recognition Program.

Questions? Read our FAQ page or enter your questions below and I will respond.

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    • Hi Michal and Abhishek,
      We are in a transition period and I’m doing my best to keep it easy on you. Please refer to what I wrote in my blog: everyone will be considered for Topic Leader recognition at the end of the year 2010. I will disclose the names of the Topic Leaders so far (Aug-July) very soon. Those in the list who plan to attend TechEd can expect to hear from me soon.
      • Hi Laure,
        Thanks for the effort taken in this blog. I do welcome the change. But got some concerns like how you are going to conclude the topic leader from Jan-Dec where the TechEd will get conducted in Nov or Dec? Will it not be difficult for you to decide who should be invited (not free) to the techEd as the ranks changes on daily basis? Ya, its true that by this method you can remove the filter ‘Contest’; but this does not speak about the 2009 July-2010 Dec list.


  • This gives me some more time to get ahead of Tim Spath:)) Anyway, thank you Laure for the update, I welcome the change I would like to see more activities to promote the program than changing the name or timeline. But I am not afraid you wouldn´t make it and look forward to see any results. Would be great if you could keep writing the blogs about the updates and changes. This blog was a nice surprise for me at the morning. Take care and keep up the good job, regards Otto
    p.s.: I second the question by Michal, but I understand the choice was like 50/50, head/tail:))
    • I think it is good to start clean and clarify confusions first. Yes there will be more and I’ll keep you posted via blogs and personal reach outs.
      Thanks Otto.
  • Now we have some extra badges for the active. But the Community is asking for the so-called banana icon for the “passive”. We would like to be able to see the banana icon next to the names of the people who keep asking and never answer. Mark the lurkers, who have asked like 200 questions and have 0 points, we don´t welcome these ….parasites.
    Regards Otto
    p.s.: evidence can be found in suggestions&comments thread in community discussions…
    • Hello Gourav and Muthuraman,

      Topic Leaders do not get a free pass for TechEd events, unfortunately this is not something we can offer.
      But hopefully a majority of leading contributors (and I mean the top 3) have planned to come to Berlin, Las Vegas, Bangalore and/or Shanghai. I look forward to plan it with them and make it a successful event.


  • Thanks Laure & Team for implementing the “small” suggestion I made last year which was backed by fellow Top Contributors.It’s nice to see the badge now 🙂

    As it happens with SAP Products, here too we could have stayed away from changing the terminology!! New revision should bring changes in process if at all and not in names I believe 🙂

    • Hi Chintan,
      Well it’s a start with the badges, but that’s for Active Contributors. Make sure you don’t confuse this with Topic Leaders who are the three leading contributors in a category. Stay tuned for more news around the program (blog announcements).
      True, most of the Topic Leaders are active contributors at some level and get to enjoy the badges. That’s how it should be 🙂
      • Well I understand that Laure. What I was saying is that the Top 3 Contributors for a category, either we call them Topic Leaders or just Top Contributors for that forum it does not make much of a difference.

        To be a Topic Leader you will obviously need to be an Active Contributor!!

        • Um – not really – none of the Topic Leaders in the “Spanish” section are “Active”

          In a more real example, under sustainability Marilyn Pratt is at number 5 with only 222 points in the year – so could be a non “Active” user and still make the top 5. (I know Marilyn is very active elsewhere, but was just using this as an example.)

          Are all sections equal – it seems not, should they be? I doubt it. Something else for Laure to consider!

          • I have sme suggestions about this stuff if you would like to hear it:)) I guess you would, so:
            – the topics definitely are NOT equal. I mean in some of the topics you need to earn a zillion to make it to top 3/5. Maybe you should not push the topics where all the “active” guys have like 500 pts in total this year. I know I exaggerate, I do all the time, but compare this Spanish section with SAP Business One or ABAP etc.
            – maybe the guys who are not the active contributors should not appear at all? well… if you check the names and can see Craig, Marilyn and other next to total strangers with few points, is that what you want? Compare the uncomperable? Or this is supposed to be encouraging for the newbies?
            – I understand how the page works and you can´t change the logic (nor your IT guys can/want) I just want you to express your feelings or intentions becase all the questions/ complains around here are legitimate.
            Cheers Otto
            p.s.: I don´t want to sound offensive or something. If there is a way I could help or the other people (who are most probably ready to “help”, because if not, they would not bother to comment here) could help, please share your needs with us, Laure. It is not like you´re here to make us happy. We are here to help you do the site better for everybody… Even if we don´t understand or question some of the points here, we still think you´re doing a great job!!
  • Hi Laure,

    wow, I have one week off sick, (swine flu is making another round here in the southern hemisphere, really not fun – if you have the chance to get a jab, I would recommend it) and come back to find all sorts of changes happening… I have a little gold star and now I’m trying to figure out how to a get a platinum one like Otto 😉 Guess I’ve got some serious posting to do 🙂

    Finding these changes very interesting. Is the the stuff you were talking about at Inside Track NTSQ? I never did see a recording of that presentation – I guess I should have forced myself to get up in time to attend live.

    I look forward to any sort of additional interaction that might occur. But perhaps it might be nice to think about the points development areas and how they are divided. For example, in Web Dynpro, there is just on “Web Dynpro” area. Which is nice, but the skills around Web Dynpro ABAP and Java are similar, but certainly different. It would be possible to be top contributor in both areas ( and at least you’d not have to compete versus Thomas Jung in WDJ!) but it would be unlikely that an expert in one area would be able to field all the questions relating to the other area.

    In another example, there is a forum for FPM ABAP, which is rarely used, but you’d think that would develop points under Web Dynpro ABAP – but I don’t think it would.

    If the role of “Topic Leaders” is to be promoted, I think we do urgently need to think about how we count points towards these area.

    Tagging and metadata anyone?



    • You can have a half of my fancy star, Chris:)) I have no use for the star so which one do you want? Left or right? Cheers Otto
      • Thanks for the offer Otto 🙂

        strangely enough, there’s not a lot I can do with the star either (half of or otherwise). The picture of my face on SDN main page (featured blog) – now that was cool – my little girl thought so anyway 🙂  What I really need is some way of showing people how much I’ve learnt in the last few months of being active – then the learning curve can keep increasing as more people get involved and it becomes even more rewarding.

        Sigh – in the meantime I’ll keep posting and keep learning.

    • Hi Chris,

      Welcome back! Hope you’re feeling OK and not too tired after the flu.
      At the SAPITNSQ I was probably talking about the Active Contributor badges, which are another component of the new recognition program (see Chip’s blog:
      Actually Rich published the replays in the wiki: Another good piece of news for you this week! 😉

      Once again you’re making a good comment: next for me is to revise the categories. This is a big metadata project and has some important repercussions as far as the point system is concerned. I’m the lucky project manager 😉 Please be patient as I work on this (I’m talking more than weeks here). I’ve made a note of your comments and will look into this as I progress.

      All the best,

      • Hi Laure,
        Thanks – feeling much better! As to other comments here – I think there is a general consensus that points are not, a) important, b) a good way of tracking knowledge or willingness to share knowledge. Perhaps blogs/articles are expertly reviewed and appropriately rewarded, but any fool can give out 10 points in the forums for any sort of stupid answer. But you’d be a very brave person to remove them (points that is) – whilst some of us don’t care too much about them – I’m sure you’ll find those that do.
        Seems like SAP is working (pending all those announcements) to make points more important – at least if you want to be more involved at SAP events like TechEd. But I’d agree with the other comments, that what we need isn’t something to make points more worthwhile, but something to improve the quality of the content here, and reward quality, not quantity.
        How you do that – that’s probably more a forum discussion… Good luck, it’s certainly a huge task you have ahead if reform is coming…
  • Though probably a really unimportant label change, I find this choice rather funny. Based on points one can easily see that “Top Contributors” is not too far-fetched when interpreting the term in the context of “activity level”. Now without a doubt the list contains many “Topic Leaders”, but am I the only one who finds the link from collected points to “topic leader” more than questionable?! Makes me wonder who thinks about such things, who approves it and what analysis backed this change…

    I’m probably missing something, but looking at new badges, topic leaders, SEO topics, SCN by numbers, etc. I feel it would be nice to see some more postings centered around how to promote creation of quality content and how to make it easily accessible. The community can express wishes, but SAP as the platform owner is the actual “topic leader” here… 😉

    • I whole-heartedly agree with your comments. I say do away with points, badges, top contributor last 30 days, etc. and focus more on quality content and better search functionality.  Far too often, I see points assigned for useless comments or just by virtue of the fact that someone clicked ‘reply’.  If anybody wants my points…you can have them!
      • Hi Brad and Harald,

        Thank you for the interesting comments. I think we could debate all day, in all time zones, over the topic of recognition and point system. And the name. Top Contributor was confusing and not clear enough, hence the change.
        I don’t think we should completely get rid of a point system and ignore the work and time that SCN members put into helping fellow members and sharing knowledge and experience (and I’m not only talking about the forums).
        Points can still can be a good indicator of quality content (think of articles and rich media documentation for example, that are reviewed before publication and are rewarded with points. Also ratings and reviews are an indication of what the community thinks about the content).
        What would be your recommendations? What would you suggest instead of points?
        BTW about the SCN search – Harald, I saw you commented on the blog recently written by our colleague Christine Merten: There is progress and attention from SCN, isn’t there? 😉


        • Hi Laure,

          we actually *do* debate all day (see Suggestions for forum improvements) and I don’t think that’s bad. 😉

          I’m here for the content and I don’t see that the current point system does anything substantial to improve it. It seems actually counterproductive as it attracts people who have more interest in new high scores/point competitions than knowledge exchange. Points awarded by individuals do not provide any feedback at all about the value of a specific content to the community (and isn’t that what’s really important?). Anyhow, I’ve posted already enough comments in the above mentioned forum thread on my views of the point system and what could be changed (so you can check it there if you’re interested).

          You say that the term “Top Contributor” was confusing. Fair enough, but I’d say the term “Topic leader” is misleading based on the current evaluation and that’s much worse. Of course I might be completely wrong, but I don’t see how you could convince me without full disclosure on how and what basis the decision was made.

          And finally – yes, there’s progress and attention from SCN and we do appreciate that. However, apart from all those nice-to-have features we discuss, I think a simple look in the forums about feedback on recent issues of the platform shows clearly that we’re far away from a “transparent framework/site” that lets us focus on the actual content and how to easily get to it. Now I don’t envy the people who have to make decisions and try to keep all SCN users (a very diverse crowd) happy, but that won’t stop me from posting silly comments…  😉

          Cheers, harald

        • This is very interesting question “Can “Topic leaders” be identified by points?” to which there can be no clear answer of course.

          >>What would be your recommendations? What would you suggest instead of points?

          I think that Points is just one indicator (criteria) of expertise. Points shall be combined with other possible criterias on the Topic Leaders page.

          For example, for the alternative indicators/criterias I suggest to look more deeply at such contributions types as Blogs and Articles. For the contribution types we can bring into play “number of downloads” as the number indicating how the posted article/blog is really helpful for community. The Number of downloads then can be combined somehow with Points earned by the author in order to increase his recognition on the Topic Leaders page.

          This is just one idea, but I can also imagine other alternative criterias which can help to recognize real experts better…

  • It’s not easy to recognize small 11×11 icons: small platinum medals look almost the same as silver ones in my Firefox, because they are very similar in color. Maybe it’s worth to change colors of Platinum medals to make them more recognizable.
    • Thanks Siarhei for the feedback. We’ll evaluate it, together with the input received in the other comments.
      Do you have a specific color in mind you would like to recommend? Platinum is a kind of “shiny” silver. What else would fit?
      • Is there an Idea Place post about this? – I can’t see one – perhaps if anyone feels particularly strongly about it an “idea” in idea place would be a good thing to do?

        I’ll add another twist – perhaps even consider changing the icon shape between levels, this will make it easier for those with visual impairment to tell the difference also.

  • Laure,

    not sure how i got up on one of the lists earlier (or how now i’m gone from another one) and even less sure what to do with the points or the silver medal, i still think i can add some value to the overall discussion about the social media and SAP’s role in it. in my case, at least, the technology has worked and my name popped up in “business standards” as i continue plodding through IRFS and related topics, which to many SCNers are rather obscure and esoteric, but in my mind critical for the business technology as it streamlines the flow of information in today’s enterprise and beyond.

  • Hi SCN friends,
    It is good to see this Blog and it give clear clarity on selection process of future Toppers. And also Good Comments on this weblog from SCN World.

    Surendra Kumar Reddy. Koduru.
    SAP – BI/BO Lead.

    • Hello Wilian,
      Thanks, this is a very good question indeed! The existing categories are articulated around some of the main interests of the community. Usually, a new category is created when there is significant content on SCN.
      The “General” category, as the name says, is for general topics such as social media, experience with SCN (e.g. suggestions for improvement), career advice, recognition topics, mentor-related topics, event recaps, etc.
  • hi,

    >>>“Find the Expert” page

    any chance to change the name of
    Exchange infrastructure to Process Integration
    on that expert page?

    thank you,

    Michal Krawczyk

    • Hi Michal,
      I’ll discuss this with the team and will get back to you on this page. Changing the name on the page means changing the point category name, so I need to find out about the impact this would have. For these details I usually rely on my dear colleague Gali Kling-Schneider’s judgement 😉
  • Hi,

    As per your blog, “Find the expert” page will show the top 5 leading contributor who competes for the topic leader position. So, i am just curious to know whether the current “find the expert” list shows the top 5 leading contributor for the time line of Aug2009 to Dec2010 or jan2010 to Dec2010.

  • I make a query generator, but I can not because there is data i need to do when the table name tells me it is a variable and I would like to know how is possible that these varibles can be part my query generator.

    Thanks hope you can help me

    • Hello Rohan,

      This blog is a bit old and it doesn’t really reflect the current Topic Leader contest. FYI, with the recent platform change and upcoming gamification plans we will revamp this program soon. Follow me and you will learn more as I post updates.

      Lifetime points always increase and show on your profile, in the Reputation Tab.

      12-month rolling points can vary every day, and they show next to your name when you’re logged in, and in your user profile in various places. They determine your Active Contributor status (e.g. currently Bronze for you). Please read our Reputation Program FAQ if you want to learn more.



  • Hi Laure ,

    This blog mentions that you changed the timeline to January – December starting from 2010.

    I just saw the list for this year had been announced in August. I am confused. According to this, should it not have been announced in Jan 2014 for the contributions from Jan 2013 to Dec 2013?

    • Hi Susmitha,

      This blog here is old and outdated. Since then we changed the contest period back to August-July. I will make a mention of this in the blog.

      Please refer to this more recent blog from me to understand how the Topic Leader contest works now.