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Losing “talents”…but why?

I am not sure how many people around are aware of the fact, how many active contributors do we have on SCN right now (Just in case you’re not sure who is an Active contributor, you can check the details about the “Active contributor” status and other details of the recognition program. To spare you the minutes reading the details: “An active contributor is anyone who earns over 250 points in a single year“.). By the way the active contributors on SCN are the talents from the headline… (From a perspective of a “company” like SCN, these “employees” could be considered talents in my opinion).

At the moment the number is slightly above one thousand, I believe. It was two weeks ago, I check the number the last time and it was not even a thousand. Second part of the year, that part of the year when the TechED is launched every year, is said to be busier. There are people who expect (guess, pray for) a number of Active contributors around two thousand at the end of the year.

I am sure you wonder “why is this guy so interested in the number of these active guys? Is he obsessed withthe points?” No, I am not. I am not interested in the number of the active people itself. I am interested in the comparison – the current number (I mean this year) against the number from the last year.

We had around 3,000 active contributors the last year. It was around 2,000 at the same time of the year we are now. (By the way, check the links I mentioned above to learn, how the number of active contributors is and received points connected with PlaNet Finance),

Maybe you can guess now, what it is about. The number of active contributors dropped. It dropped a lot! So I ask, why did this happen (or is happening)?

There are many people, who helped the others with their valuable content and insightful answers, without whom there would not be any valuable content we benefit from like every day. And these guys left. This is a huge loss. We miss all the active contributors of the past years, who left the Community or are not active any more. I believe a time, when they will come back, will come. I truly hope it will.

Mark Yolton, Senior Vice President of the SAP Community Network, announced he was going to send his Mail, he sends every year to the selected contributors, to encourage them to reach the “Active contributor” status. You can read his Tweet from 20th August on his Twitter account (@markyolton):

Sending emails to +800 people who are within reach of being SAP Community Network active contributors @ 250 SCN points this year. 1:36 AM Aug 20th via UberTwitter

Hopefully we could get some more people to contribute on SDN, what would be cool. Some more people will reach the status around TechED. But the main question still remains? Why did we lose those thousand souls?

Is that because of the so-called “Crisis”, raging around the world? Do you find it more difficult to get a job or a project? So you work hard to get one, instead of spending time on SCN? Is it because your boss does not like SCN because he/she thinks, that we don´t have time to play, when the life is becoming tougher every day?

Or is that because the people see no point in contributing anymore, because they didn´t get anything back in exchange for their time and effort? Nothing but points? They were helping people and got some points but didn´t get anything “material” back (I can hear so many minds thinking about the feeling of being active, learning a lot, finding friends, but sometimes we have to be serious about our lives and then we would appreciate something more than just ideas, dreams, wishes and feelings). So they decided to stay passive, benefit from the Community without investing any effort, and getting the same nothing. Could that be true?

Maybe they got bored? The way the Community “works” has not “changed” in years. Except some selected people (like Mentors, who I admire a lot!) the active people are not listened much (by the SAP guys running the site), they are not addressed with any new challenges, they don´t feel like there are ways they could change anything (some of the contributors are convinced their purpose is to “change the world”), they could feel very unimportant in the crowd. Or maybe their life changed and they have found other hobbies, got kids etc.

What do you think about it? Do you think this is a serious issue? Could you share some stories to help to clarify the reasons? Please comment!

Regards Otto

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  • Hello Otto,
    i can only share my opnion and personal feelings, that i have nowadays about my area of expertise.

    Before i start with an explanation of the 4 keywords from the topic header, i just want to note that i never received an e-mail by Mark Yolton in any year i reached the “active contributor” status. No idea why, but i think that is the least problem nowadays.

    So let’s come back to the 4 keywords:

    – Effort
    The effort become less as in the last year – Why? I still try to write blogs about some interesting technical topics, i still to try to answer technical interesting questions. But the majority of the community members just asks basic questions or is not interested in some deep technical background informations, because of they don’t even got the basics.

    – Skill level / Questions
    I still see the same skilled active people in my area of expertise, but these don’t have questions. The questions are raised mostly by participants from LCC and are not very interesting to answer. Mostly they are about basic stuff, missing knowledge or they got a problem on daily business, which should be clarified and tested before running a productive systems. The skill level dropped dramatically in my opinion and sometimes i got scared, if i imagine that these guys are consultants or running SAP systems for customers.

    – Fun
    If you summarize all the points, that i mentioned above, i guess you can understand that the fun in participating disappears. I really got some nice contacts through SDN since i started and that is the only reason why i am still here and try to participate (or if i am just bored) – still in hope that it will get better.

    The byword “Quality for Quantity” describes it really well … the SCN got a lot of members of the past years … but in a ratio of “quality” to “quantity” – it lost a lot.


    • Your comment is both personal and insightful, I support all the ideas of yours. I would love to see some SAP officials to read this (and maybe to comment on this).
      Thank you for your contributions and would love to see you around many more years:)) By the way… could you share two things (maybe the topics of my coming blogs)?
      I would love to know why did start being active here. Don´t tell me about the cool way howto learn things etc. Tell me about the realimpulse, please. We all had one andI would love to hear what is your (or maybe some more readers could share their “impulse” as well?).
      What is the minimum feeling that keeps you being active here? I mean what would have to happen to make you leave? or if something would not change/ become even worse would make you leave, what would that be?
      Thank you very much for your contributions, and time and effort to write the commnet below my blog:)) See you soon (hopefully we havesomething in common and will meet again).
      Regards Otto
    • Hi Stefan,
      This is a detail as you say, but I wanted to clarify one thing: the email that Mark Yolton sent out, that Otto mentions, recently went out to those members who are close to becoming an Active Contributor.
      Otherwise, it is interesting that you feel the quality and interest on SCN has decreased. Let’s see what others think.
  • indeed. points do not even come close to the recognition active contributers should rightfully receive. in my opinion tge lack of netiquette and honest feedback is playibg a major role in this decrease. maybe the economy has irs toll as well…

    Thanks for bringing it up!

    • Hello,
      Glad to hear you can support the ideas. I wonder if you have any ideas, how to overcome these radical drops in future? Or how to exchange the quantity for quality etc.
      You can pick yourself if you want to answer it as an individual or share any ideas that SAP might have regading the topic.
      I would like to continue the discussion, to gather as many ideas about it as possible. It could be valid input for SAP SCN teams and of course would be a most useful input for my personal thoughts and activity.
      Thank you, Otto
  • Otto,

    i like your choice of words like talent and souls, but something else comes to mind: ghosts. any living community eventually will have those as well. imho, participants turn into ghosts once they don’t feel like they have a stake in the success or failure of the community and their attention gets drawn to something else. with social media, it’s much easier to lose focus when trying new communication methods like twitter, facebook, or something new around the corner.
    at least, those who stick around have done so because they see a value in remaining active or involved. scn is a great community and it needs more participants like yourself who try to get some sense of what is or is not happening in this corner of the web.

    • Hello Greg,
      thank you for the comment. I like the point which is different from what people mostly say about it. Some say it is not important, or the people will come back again, or try to figure out what´s wrong with SCN, but your comment brings up something new in this discussion – competition, rivalry etc. (I understand the part about the focus and stuff, but picked another part of themessage, sorry:)).
      People, I mean the ones, who are responsible for this Community/site, must understand they can always do more to atract more people and make them to become active, create content, spend time here. Or the people will not “focus” or will only “follow” (I don´t like the meaning of the word, and it is so widely used in these times of so-called social things) or visit and go somewhere else…
      What are they ways, in your opinion, that could make people to stay focused on SCN or make them to become “active” (I mean find a feeling for the site/Community) instead of only “visiting”, “consuimng” or “following”?The more ways/ ideas we gather, the better chance we have to make this happen.
      Thank you for your time and effort! See you somewhere around on SCN soon.
      Regards Otto
      • Otto,

        it’s kind of simple for me. being active means being visible and building a portfolio of sorts for promoting my own skills and locating possible opportunities. since i don’t expect immediate results i don’t get discouraged that my blogs don’t get any comments since i know they are there for all to see and i have noticed that people sometimes respond in years rather than in seconds, although the latter brings more instant gratification, which is rather superficial. what also helps me is that i have a very defined objective in mind and try to do a little bit every day to get me there. i don’t mind answering simple and repeating questions if i know the answer and i also realize some great people will never participate as they prefer their work speak for them rather than rendering this or that opinion.
        you’re doing a great job by answering each comment and trying to stay positive even when challenged. keep doing what you are doing and you will be successful.
        P.S. we all have to follow before we should try to lead. following will only make us better leaders.

        • Hello again,
          first of all: I like your style:)) So I checked your homepage and your LinkedIn account. Nice photo, man:)) Sorry, no offense. Just wanted to say, I like your comments, since they seem to be very calm and reasoned.
          I also wonder about your contributions here on SCN? I cannot see it in your business card, your LinkedIn integration shows 0 (error or not?).
          I wonder where you want to get? It could be a cool advise, together with the one from your P.S. Sometimes I feel like I am too young to lead and could use some patience, shut up and work even harder. That could help me to become a better leader:))))
  • Presumption that SDN is ‘Losing talents’ is just that, a presumption (my opinion of course).

    Consider how it is supposed to work – over a period of time SDN is supposed to have more and more answers. Maybe the search is working better and people are getting answers by searching instead of posting new questions? Do you have statistics on how many searches were performed this year vs last?

    Maybe point-gamers had less success this year.

    I can probably list other weaknesses in your proposition if I wanted to.

    Isn’t the question better phrased as ‘Is SDN losing talent’ than stating it as fact ‘Losing talents…. but why?’…

    • I am sorry you don´t like my message, that I use wrong words and phrases. I am afraid, I could use some language classes to improve it. I am sure you have noticed I am not a native speaker.
      I am sure there are many holes and weaknesses in my propositions and with your help I could improve the text. So, please, could you list those? If I would be aware of the weaknesses, I would not put them on the paper. That obviously means you must open my eyes…
      regards Otto
  • Hello Otto,

    Not totally agree with the view you expressed in your blog, I really don’t hyave any idea about last years active contributor’s number as I joined SCN recently.But to get idea I am digging in the histry may be by refering funny threads in CC(its one huge database with 129 pages which gives us window to look into past) How SCN was in past.
    As it started lot of point hunter were there, Specially the link farmers, copy paster, some mafia groups were there who were exchanging points amonst them. On the other hand there were less number of moderators, awareness, less control over the words in threads which might have resulted in large number of people with more than 250 points.

    Now in the 1st half of 2010 I can see moderators are tough on the people mentioned above. Also few words are banned in SCN. All effected in the points earn by these type of “Active Contributors” So I believe we have now increased the quality level of the contribution.
    But definatly few quality contributors have left SCN and hope they wil be back in future but don’t think all the 1000 who have left were the real quality contributors. let’s stop here as too many things to mention here which can be another blog.
    Surely would like to see the active contributors number going up but with the quality active contribution.


    • Hello,
      I understand your point. Your comment is well-considered, makes sense and stuff. There are only two concerns you could help me resolve:
      1) your business card says: Jun 06, 2010, so your you were told things you use as your arguments, is it so?
      2) your comment is about the observations. I wonder if you have any new/ your own ideas about the actions, that should be taken to improve SCN? To achieve more quality content and attract some more people? I am sure you can use, what you were told, to shape a strategy that could help us improve the site to meet your high expectations.
      Thank you, Otto
      • I joined SCN on 6th June 2010, prior to that I was away from SAP world and was with some another technology. The things I argued were not told to me but I concluded this by refering to a very nice blog by Julius regarding the point hunting and his plan to stop that (The blog was posted at start of year 2010 if I remember correctly).Also few things came in mind reading some threads by you regarding value of active contribution, recognisation of active contribution 🙂
        I personally came across to SCN from internal portal of my company. Every company should encorage their employee to be a part of SCN with that we can really have good people on the list. Unforunatly not everyone aroud you are interested to contribute always questions come from people which are in their personal interest which should not be one’s thinking while contributiong. SCN is open to all but it’s success is on people’s mindset not everyone is in thinking that ” I should give something to community to expect some thing out of it”. May be awareness is the only key to sucess in my view.
        I am trying to initiate a awareness program in my organisation, as soon as people joins organisation getting ID on SCN and making them aware about rules and value of active contribution so alteast soon we can see some good contribution.So let’s hope soon that program will be on our learning manuals. May be day by day companies will encorage their employees to be active on SCN and we will have some good number in active contribution.
        About social media I am personally new to linkdin and Twitter but soon will find a way to getaround with those and see how I can help SCN to grow in right direction.

        It was really good to share views with you and same will be continued in future.

        • Thank you for the detailed explanation. I am able to understand your point better than at the beginning.
          I have a personal appeal to ask you for: Would you consider writing a blog about your ” awareness program in my organisation”? I have several reason why I ask you:
          1) if we both agree the companies should work on this, any help how to start could help them to start
          2) your personal example could help find more people like you, who would care to start such program in their company
          3) I would love to know what have you done so far and what are the plans, just in case I or any other people would like to help. And of course I am a curious person:))
          4) if some companies are doing this already and other are thinking about starting it, it would be cool to let them know, they´re not the only ones and maybe to create a meeting point (could be the comments below the blog at the beginning, could be a new forum in the forum), where these companies (consluting or customers, that´s not important) could discuss the value of SCN for them and many more
          5) I am not sure if you work for a consulting company or a “customer”, but it could help more customers to find their way to SCN, because some people here think, this is one of the pain points of SCN – too many developers and too little customers.
          Please let me if you would consider writing about it. I would be an honor for me to be the first reader of yours, if you would let me read it. Thank you for your time and effort in writing your comments below my blog and hope to see you around in future,
          regards Otto
          • Tahnks for the clarifications and idea about writing blog,it will be there may be in a week or two.
            I may sounded like customer as I was one of them for long time but at that time was not aware of SCN, now I am worki9ng as consultant but surely I liked the idea to involve customers and will try to make our customers aware of SCN whenever possible.
            Thanks and Regards,
          • I am glad I am not the only one who spotted the possible “problem”. Maybe it is not that serious as I described it, but it is the fact that many valuable members of the community left or are staying silent.
            I wrote the blog to get some of the ideas why this is happening. I am interested specially in one thing: Is there something they expected but didn´t get? I mean: If they got disappointed, what were the expectations which were not fulfiled? If we knew what´s missing, we could add the spice to keep them coming…
            Cheers Otto
  • I love reading blogs like this one.  Keep them coming.

    I notice things like adding stars by our names.  An increasing way to keep everyone helping out.  I have noticed in my company that we can look at and support SCN.  However, that is not always the case.  I do spend some time out of my work day looking at SCN.  Usually right before work or during lunch.

    Here’s my thought.   New SAP people are afraid to post.  They are worried that their technical ideas have already been posted before.  Or that what they are doing is wrong.  Not true by the way.   Everyone likes to see a different perspective.   But I know that very few people at my workplace contribute.  I have trouble even convincing them to post questions.  

    The harder questions on SAP are rarely answered.  The easier ones are quickly answered.  I’m guilty of that to.   If it’s quick and easy I have the time to answer.  I too worry that my idea may be wrong.  I just write the answer anyway.  I figure someone will correct it if it is wrong, and I’ll  learn from answering.

    “Old” SAP people are working harder and longer.   These “old” SAP people with the knowledge are working a lot of hours, and may not have time for SCN anymore.  They have their own answers, and so don’t need to post.  Of course, I’m not talking about moderators.

    A new thing to consider, many perspective employers look at SCN.  So people are worried – more aware – that what they post can affect them later.  My opinion on that – it only helps people.  But that’s my opinion.

    Long answer – sorry about that.


    • Hello Michelle,
      please do not feel sorry for the long answer. I like to talk:)) By the way, I sent a LinkedIn invitation, if you don´t mind. This is not the first time we meet on some topic and I though we could share some interests in the future…
      I think the way you use SCN is very common, I use it the very similar way (except the nights, weekends, holidays:))).
      Back to the questions, easy and hard: do you think the quality of the content is dropping? I mean do you think there are less answered difficult questions and tons of the repeated beginner´s questions?
      If you could do anything about it, what would you do? Wouldbe cool to hear some of your ideas about it, because I am sure you could widen my understanding, since I am still a beginner in all this stuff. Sometimes I defend my own ideas too much, so I try to learn how to understand andbenefit from the ideas of the nice people around.
      Regards Otto
      • Hi Otto!

        Easy Vs Hard:
        I do think it depends on the forum as to if the quality is dropping.  I notice on the WDA forum that hard questions are answered quickly and with – in my mind – great suggestions.   I am very new to WDA and have used that forum for my questions.

        The ABAP forum has a lot of repeated questions.  It has a lot of questions with links to old answers.  Of course I can relate, it’s hard sometimes to find the older answers via search.

        Maybe alot more people are moving to different technical forums.  I know I tend to be in a lot of different forums depending on what I’m working on.

        So some easy questions are answered quickly.  There are so many “easy” questions that the harder questions get pushed to the end of the list – because the answers move the questions to the front of the list.

        Hard vs. easy.   What’s easy for me may be hard to someone else.  What’s hard for me could be easy for someone else.

        If I could do something about it – I’d put the non-answered questions prior to the answered questions in the forums.  After around 1 month the questions could move to later in the forum. (In date order) If they are not solved in 1 month, the person asking has either figured it out, or no longer needs the answer.  They’ve done it a different way.

        I’m glad you defend your point of view.  It makes for an interesting debate.


  • Hi Otto,

    I just checked and for the contest 2009-2010 theres 2250 Active Contributors and for the running year theres 1065 so our numbers are kind of crossed.

    Even though I do think theres less activity, I think this is mostly due to the “strict moderation policy” we have a the huge clamp down on basic questions, point gamers, cross posters, link farmers, etc..

    I think the recent changes on the Contributor Recognition Program could provide additional motivation to those interested on participate but I do agree that the community need a bit more attention from above specially regarding the flow of information.

    Thanks for sharing your findings.


    • I am afraid, you´re right. I was discussing the topic with a friend and looks like we exchanged the contest and running year numbers.
      But: as Laure announced the contest BEGDA/ENDDA is changing to match the calendar year and that was most probably the reason I got wrong numbers. I am sorry for that. Now it does not look very trustworthy:((
      My apologies, Otto
      • Hi Juan and Otto,
        I think there is a confusion here. When talking about Active Contributors, we’re talking about SCN members with 250+ points this year in 2010. This is not a new concept (but still not too old as the concept of annual points was introduced during 2009).
        The contest period that you are alluding to here is different: it’s about looking at categories on SCN and which are the 3 leading contributors (“topic leaders”, aka “top contributors”) over 12 months. Some of them are active contributors, some may not have achieved this level of contribution when they contribute in a “niche” category where there is less content.
        But yes, ideally if you’re a leader/expert you should be active on SCN, don’t you think?
        • To make sure I expressed myself clearly:
          I can see:
          2904 AC for contest 08-09
          2249 for contest 09-10 (where are the 650?)
          1065 for the running year (we have 4 months to get 1850 more AC, if I assume previous AC period was of a same lenght like the calendar year).
          But even without these numbers I am sure we all could name some “heroes” of the past times who left/ are much less active etc. So even if the nmbers would be misleading a little, questions still persists: where have the people gone?
          regards Otto
          • mmh, I don’t know how you got the contest numbers Otto. The list of contributors (table)?
            Anyway, don’t want to get into the details here.
            We all agree on the fact that the numbers have decreased.
            And FYI, there are 43 topic leader categories (the “contest”) and 3 leading contributors per category. Which makes it a total of 129 people every year, no matter how you search 😉
            Maybe one day we could continue this conversation over the phone? 😉
  • Otto,

    I have read the posted comments and suspect that the suggested possibilities (tighter moderation, fewer gamers, improved search tools bringing better results, too busy on the job) are quite plausible seasons for the change. Another possibility is that some number of the formerly active contributors have moved on in their careers, whether voluntarily or by necessity, either to something outside of SAP or to a different area of SAP work where they feel that they have not yet reached the level of expertise to be blogging or responding to questions.

    We could continue to speculate and never really know the all the reasons. Surveying those formerly active contributors would be one way to get the facts.

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post!


    • Hello Gretchen,
      sorry for a very late reply. I had to think about the answer for a while:))
      At the beginning I was afraid the post is provoking too much, but after receiving so many comments I am glad people think the topic is important. That my text maybe help people reconsider their approach (or maybe even inspire some to be more active…?) and reminds people about the heartbeat of the community.
      As you have pointed out – we will never know, we can only speculate, but after receiving these comments my goal has changed – I don´t want to know any more, I am glad it helped the discussion etc. That is the acceptable “outcome” for me:))
      Thank you for the time and effort you put in this Community, hope to see you around again,
      all the best, Otto
  • I was suprised to see the statistics regarding the number of active contributers dropping especially given that more people are using SCN than ever. This will be an important trend to keep an eye on especially if the trend continues.

    Have you had someone at SAP compare the # of total points this year vs last or some other metrics to see if more people are contributing but just are under the 250 point threshold as if so that would be a good thing.

    In my case I just noticed that I have 786 points for the year and I dont feel as “active” as I could be though because I have a “star” by my name a lot of people would think otherwise.

    I can tell by all the comments that you have got people thinking which is great to see.  Keep up the good work.

    • Maybe we could come up with some metrics? SAP guys do have all the necessary numbers (BW system) and have some internal metrics (I believe), but a) they´re not sharing it with the community b) maybe it could use some improvement (but it is not fair to criticize if we don´t see the whole picture).
      Cheers Otto
      • Watch this space: As part of my Ph.D., I intend to study the SCN contribution behaviors and recognition systems.  You’re right that there is a large quantity of data involved in the system (what specifically is captured where, I am as yet unsure), which should help me as a researcher to run very clean, empirical investigations. As I have said, it will be nice to put numbers to the anecdotes!  I hope to have some more news soon.  Cheers, ~Sarah~
          • Hello Sarah,
            keep in mind people are lazy so for every comment you receive (like this one by Matthias) you can count ten people who are interested but not comment.
            What were you doing in the meantime? It´s like half a year we talked the last time.
            Cheers Otto
          • If they don’t comment – that’s OK too!  At least they are reading and thinking about the post.  But I see you’re point some people will not comment.

            They may just be shy…  (Not just lazy.) 

            Some people will not comment in an open forum.  But they might if approached individually.  (Something to think about.)


          • Thinking days and nights how to bring the Mentors closer to the “average SCNer” (there is nobody like this, you´re all just great!).
            Maybe a regular “chat with the Mentors” event? Here on SCN? Do people have important things to tell the Mentors? I think they have, but I need some evidence… could anybody help to gather some? Thank you, Otto
  • Hello Otto,

    This is a very interesting blog and you ask a good question. I don’t have the answer, but I believe Michelle is right in that some people on SCN, especially new members, are shy and hesitate to contribute at the beginning. Why is that? I’m a fairly new member of the community and I remember being overwhelmed by the quantity (and yes, quality) of information on SCN. I could have kept reading and reading, learning and learning, without starting to contribute. But once the first step is done (e.g. a first blog), it gets easier and you start enjoying contributing! It becomes a personal challenge.
    I wish I had more time to read more, and contribute more. I think this feeling is shared by other members of the community; we recently suffered a major economic crisis, the economy is slowly picking up in some parts of the world, and it can be that people are just too busy. I personally don’t believe that social media such as Facebook or Twitter (easy way to contribute, fast updates that don’t need much time) are the reason why people are shifting their attention from SCN. I do have a question though: have you seen less activity in the forums these past couple of months?
    A note to finish: a majority of the people who commented on this blog are active contributors, mostly at silver level with 500 annual points. What do the others think? It would be nice to see them start contributing by commenting here.


    • Hello Laure, I also wonder what others think. By the wa, this is the blog of mine where I get the most comments ever and I hope to get even some more (which can help us answer the questions, instead of asking the new:))
      Cheers Otto
  • Otto,
    I’ve previously not been that active – the number of times I even accessed the site could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
    My immediate reaction would be that I see a lot of people don’t seem award points in the forum for those that provide answers, even if they are correct. I don’t know if there has been a change here, but are there any statistics that would indicate a change in the amount of points being awarded?
    It’s possible that people are just as active as previously, but that they are not being credited for it appropriately, and so they don’t reach the 250 points needed to be classed as active.
    I would also suggest that there are a number of poeple that participate in a number of different social networks – they then spread the same amount of time over 2 or 3 different sites. They are still there, just not spending as much time as previously, as possibly being more selective over where they contribute?
    • Hello and welcome:))
      I have the same feeling, but didn´t want to start shouting. I visit my forum every day, I answer the same number of questions (sometimes even more than earlier) and receive less and less points. I didn´t want to be found guilty of point hunting, so I didn´t share this with anybody, but yes, I do share your feeling, that some of the newcomers don´t have basic manners (which includes awarding points).
      Regarding the second topic: I share your observation, people need to sleep and cannot spend hours doing this so-called social networking, so SCN gets less of their time because of the numbers of choices…
      Do you think we should do something to bind the people tighter to the SCN? What would you do?
      Thank you for your time and effort putting wodn the comment and hope to see you around,
      cheers Otto
      • Hi Otto

        I am the moderator of the Shared Service EIC/AIC SDN forum and it is my responsibility to award points for correct answers when there are situations (happens frequently)which the individual asking doesnt do so.  I wonder if the moderators are not doing this as frequently in other forums.

        I do think that twitter, linkedin etc are taking some time from SDN.  I spend about 20-30 mins a day on twitter which I didnt do last year at this time…..over a month that can add up and in my case I havent pulled any effort from SCN but I would guess that others have.

        The other things I would add is are the more frequent contributers contributing more and the net results the same for examaple….how many blogs were posted Jan-Aug 2009 vs Jan-Aug 2010.  You are perfect example….as you are in the frequent contributer group yet seem (didnt look) to have written quite a bit more this year than last.  I think the key isnt points….but overall contribution as a whole.

      • Otto,
        I’ve been working with SAP for about 2.5 years. I’m not going to try to claim any major expertise, but having gone live, and got over the initial “hump” of the work, I feel that I have time to contribute a bit more rather than just be a static observer.
        I think that it wouldn’t hurt to try to get people to make more use of SCN – it is clearly a resource of some considerable value when used correctly. However, I’m not sure yet of what might a better way of getting people to participate more actively.
        An initial thought is that part of the issue will be that there are so many options in social networking, and if someone doesn’t get a fairly quick result in their first few attempts, they may well then move on to another.
  • Hi,
    as someone who will hopefully reach platinum status at the end of the year, I still have more and more doubts about my engagement.
    I am glad that Otto picked up the numbers, they showed what I was guessing over the last months.
    Writing blogs and articles about complex topics require a lot of time. Time, that you don’t have in a business season that has tremendously picked up. (luckily) .
    And you don’t get anything in return.
    Recognition and Influence? Yes, in the virtual world, but my clients and contacts are in the real world an they don’t care how much I have published. Maybe I have my reputation and a point more or less is really “pointless”.
    And unless you are striving for a Mentor citrus status icon, there is nothing to reach, nothing to gain.
    Money, Gifts or Golf balls: They would be just small recognitions, like the famous T-Shirt, but no really reason.
    I spend the time recently I would have invested in writing blogs and making video instead to talking to my customers and my project fellows. This has paid much more off than any blog.

    Maybe it is also because in Germany, as a local acting company, I don’t have much english business. And language barrier still keeps a lot of people from using sdn in english. So i am “recognized” in the “World” but my paying customers are my local neighbors (and don’t like sdn in english) 

    Why spending time to write? In fall 2010, I don’t have an answer for this question.

    • Hello,
      I am glad I can see your comment under my blog. I remember using your comment about the golf balls in another blog of mine, I think it is a nice idea:)) By the way, I was going to shake your hand at Inside Track Walldorf, but had no chance to do so, when Craig cancelled the event.
      I understand your message and feel the same way.
      The only difference between two of us is that you have a company and I don´t have one (in fact I am young and trying to catch on:)) By the way, it is nice to know that SDN is not only place for the workers. And I hope you will not leave us even if you have enough “real” work to do.
      I am afraid that people from some skill level cannot afford to spend much time on SCN (your case, maybe the reason why so many people are less active or silent at all) and this is what we can expect in everyone´s case in the future.
      By the way: what you said about the “world” recognition and none on a local basis is like 150% true.
      I am afraid my comment is a little messy, but I hope I put down everything I wanted to:)) Still hope to shake your hand once.
      Have a nice day
      cheers Otto
  • I’ve been in SAP 12 years and from my very humble opinion the problem is the SAP’s product portfolio, not the SDN community.
    SAP was excellent (or lucky) marketing R/3 back in the 90’s and from 2000 with BW.
    Since that point, products like CRM have been quite a disaster. SAP has delivered complete inconsistent message to customers regarding IP, BPC and BO (I’m familiar with these products, at least). In some cases trying to replace strong good products with lower quality products with the hope to sell more licenses.
    I won’t comment on the whole chain of events. Botton line is that there are less projects going on, and a significant reason is that some customers and starting to doubt the SAP offering. SDN is just mirroring SAP activity in the real world.    
    • Hello, first thank you for the time and effort to put down the comment. My question is: would you consider helping us making SAP better? There is Idea Place, where you can post your suggestions how to improve our “daily bread”, many SAP pros can be reached through SCN, LinkedIn or other ways. It would be much more constructive than just saying everything is bad. Keep in mind everything can be improved.
      Have a nice day, Otto
  • in my opinion, like everything in life sometimes it’s low and sometimes it’s high.
    this year wasn’t good and many talents were “lost”. sap won’t disappear at least in the current decade; vice versa – after recovery from global crisis many companies having sap seek for new value added features that system can offer.
    new features require sharing knowledge!!
    patience  – talents will return.
    otto, have a good year
  • Hi Otto,

    just by chance I came across this interesting blog. Just my two cents:

    Is it possible that less active contributors mark the end of the ‘crisis’?

    I remember having much more time to see what kind of questions people have and what may be a good way to help them solve it when I had more time to spend on SCN.

    When I’m really busy with project work I can’t spare much time for SCN, sometimes not even to post my own questions.

    And then, this is a natural thing: With rising number of contributors, the signal/noise ratio decreases, attributing ‘noise’ to basic, repeated and malformed questions and signal to interesting well-explained questions and the respective answers.

    More often than not I got interesting answers on questions I really did not expect a solution.

    Sometimes I really feel frustrated watching the big number of members who just refuse to learn, i.e. asking the 1012th question regarding so_document_send_api1 or even recommendations to use it.

    Anyway: The good old contributors are still active, generally quality rules and as new and good contributors get on board you rarely see someone leave completely.

    It’s just Keep on Truckin’ !



    • Hello Clemens,
      nice to read one optimistic post. I must admit this point of view didn´t come into my mind and I like it. Could be the way you explain it: end of crisis => more work, less time => less SCN activity. I will try to check the SCN heartbeat for some time… and maybe you have just figured out a nice way how to make a fortune… SCN activity forego the grow of the stock markets:))
      Just kidding, I mean i like the idea and feel positive energy about it.
      Thank you for the time and effort to put down the comment, have a nice day, Otto
  • Dear Otto,

    I noticed some users like one below
    are in active contributors (More than 250 Points) only because they have asked so many questions and assigend so many points to others.
    With wvwry post they got one point and now they are part of active contributors list..

    Now the question is where do they stand, as for sure they have not actually contributed but by answering their posts many have become active contributors.. So should they deserve to be part of the list or not..
    I hope you got my point..
    Now a days we are opposing strongly to asking  basic questions as well as answering them as well..

    So we might see fall in the numbers due to that as well.. Last 2-3 weeks we have atleast made 2 top contributors “Guest” and due to fear factor many such have already stopped.. I can say atleat I know 5-6.. (Only based on my active forums that is 3 forums)
    There must be such cases in other forums as well and if we consider as a while then the number is big enough to say that we have lost (Made them go away for good reason) few contributors.

    So I would be really interested in that number, there is some discussion now begin to have top negative contributors (Indivisuals as well as companies) so that will be really intersted to see.

    P.S. I am working on my assignment with my organisation where we are trying to get our emplyee invole in SCN effectively but more on that in coming days..

    • Hello,
      thank you VERY MUCH for this comment. First: the message is important to know and I hope all the other involved in this discussion have checked on the “Notify me of new comments”. Second: I am very happy that my content is provoking or found useful so the people like you come back after weeks to add important ideas and turn the discussion back on.
      I am not a moderator, have never seen any of the moderator tools for “search&destroy”, but think they´re doing a great job cleaning out our forums and am ready to accept the drop in numbers if that will mean less ponit gamers and cheating.
      I also don´t like these “ask hundreds, answer zero”-guys, but I understand SAP does not want to mark these guys any humiliating icon or something like that (even they would deserve it). But luckilly we all can see the number of posts/ points/ question and can judge who are the lurkers. I would like to know what is your approach on these guys, mine is simple: I always add a comment instead of the “answer” like this: “How comes you ask so much and never answer? You will find it difficult to get some help here. You´d better reconsider the “balance” between your questions and answers.”
      It is up to us to deal with these immoral …people.
      • My approch is through “Abuse” button along with message to such OP about respecting forum rules but really we can’t force people to Start answering questions insted of just asking them. But the figures in forum related to the OP are really a good help to judge them.

        I saw a comment regarding “Mark’s mail”, I guess the seed you planted with this blog has started growing and some initiatives are started, Congratulations, see you around.

        • I was told not to use the abuse button to “tell” the OPs to reconsider their behavior. This is for moderators, the OP does not see the message and moderators cannot do a thing about the lurkers… So I just put my provoking post.
          At the beginning it was not my goal to plant anything, I was only worried and had questions, but if the text helped to start anything useful for the Community, I am glad. I want to see more interactions and more outcome of this amazing group of nice and proffesional people.
          Let´s see what the future brings us,
          thank you for the passion and interest,
          cheers Otto
  • Hello,

    I am feeling guilty reading the mail from Mark even after giving myself the excuse of being on vacation for the last 6 weeks.

    All said and done, one has to be self-motivated to remain active.  I have never worn the SCN badge I got once, or the orange t-shirt I was send some other time.

    SCN activity is about knowledge-sharing.  TechEds are also about knowledge-sharing.  I suggest that SCN/SAP should invite active contributors to attend nearby TechEds. I would also suggest that SAP should make the process easier for active SCN contributers to get certified in their area of expertise.  I am not talking about making the questions any easier:-)

    I am not saying I will be motivated by any of this at this point of time.  Outside of work my major interest now is going below 80 on the local golf course. 

    Nevertheless, I am promising to myself get more active on SCN.

    There may be more to SCN activity than the 250 point mark as some others have pointed out – ratio of total number of questions being asked to that being answered, better usage of search functionality leading to lesser questions and thereby lesser opportunity for points and the like. I guess Mark would have looked at all that.

    Thanks to Otto for bringing about this discussion and to Mark for the gentle reminder.


    • Thank you Mathew for your contributions and commitment!  Send me a note or a tweet when you hit 250! I want to hear when you (and others) make it to the highest level of recognition: 250 points this year.  (twitter @markyolton)

      Mark Yolton

  • I think that the main problem is definitely crisis.  I mean if you have a job and suddenly you lose it you wouldn’t have any reason to post questions in the forum- and by the way answer other’s questions- because you wouldn’t have work related questions to ask since you have no work to do.