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One of the things I enjoy about being a member of SDN is getting a unique view of the SAP world. For example, I’d like to see things here that are not generally available to those “outside the circle”.

In the past weeks some blogs have been posted here that are sometimes complete copies of aother blog postings and other times are external content with a few extra paragraphs.

Ok, the SDN blogger has done the “right” thing and included a URL to the external site, but wouldn’t it be fairer to make SDN the original and have a pointer from the non-SDN site?

Sometimes I feel I am being conned into following a link to an external organisation’s web site, only to see exactly the same thing as I just read in SDN.

I appreciate that SDN bloggers want to get feedback from the SDN community, which they won’t get by hoping people stumble/Google to their non-SDN site, However, I still feel a bit cheated..

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  1. Pushkar Patil
    If the blog material is copied from someone anothers work then definatly it is copyright violation and the material as well as the contributors should be guestified from SCN.

    but if the blog is published by same user on another site then providing link should be alright.
    Still even if we copied all the text from our own blog and paste it in SCN then also it may be considered as copyright violation as the material once published gets owned by the concern site.

    Something similar has been noted in WIKI and being discussed in the this thread :SAP Help content in a Wiki

    So there should not be any exeption in blogs as well..
    blog about links of own material is ok but in any other case it should be punished πŸ™‚

    -Pushkar

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    1. Michael Nicholls Post author
      Hi Pushkar

      The URLs that the people have included point back to their personal or corporate site, so there’s no copyright or plagiarism issue involved. That would certainly be considered worthy of instant removal.

      Cheers

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      1. Pushkar Patil
        Totally agreed, some blogs seems to be just used as adverts with URL of some personal site or firm definatly that should be deleted..

        SCN blogs are definatly not the place for such publicity πŸ™‚

        Thanks
        Pushkar

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        1. Jim Spath
          In case anyone is unclear how to report either clear copyright violations, or not so clear content complaints to the blog moderators, write to SCNcontent@sap.com or even sdn@sap.com, mention the blog number/title, and state your reasons.  Blog moderators are only human (!) so might let things get through that should not.  See Portrait of a BPX Blog Rejecter for a classic post on this dilemma.
          Further, I would think Ethan should not be a “junior blogger” and need to wait for permission to post. Permission to elevate?
          Jim
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  2. Richard BrΓΌnning
    No offence but i don´t like that idea. As long as the SDN blogs are non public why not share the knowlegde with the outside / the inside.

    To supress ideas and interessting topics only with the reason that someone has the knowlegde exclusivly (we @ sdn) doesn´t feel right for me.

    Look at it this way, its indirect publicity for SDN. Sooner or later all SAP people coming here πŸ™‚

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    1. Michael Nicholls Post author
      Hi Richard

      But SDN doesn’t get the publicity! It’s basiaclly a 1 way street. I’ll post in SDN and point to my non-SDN blog, but not the other way round.

      I don’t want to supress ideas, I’m just asking that if you blog in SDN, then you provide something new and not just a cut and paste job.

      Maybe we need another non-point awarded area in SDN where people can point to their external blogs as a heads up…

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  3. Ethan Jewett
    I’ll go ahead and raise my hand as one of those people who have cross-posted. In my opinion, the content I cross-posted from my personal blog added a lot of value to SDN and resulted in a lot of follow-on discussion. Comments on the blog seemed to confirm this πŸ™‚

    Now, I don’t think that doing this on a regular basis is the best approach, but let me outline a few reasons that I am much more comfortable posting on my personal blog first and cross-posting to SCN:

    1. Ease of use / speed of delivery – SCN’s blog editor … leaves something to be desired. I would rather spend my time writing than wrestling with SCN’s blog editor. On my personal site, I can just write, do a quick edit, and get the blog out there while it is relevant and I’m still focused on the topic.

    2. Searchability – When I search for the title of my recent blog on Google, my personal blog post is the top hit. The SCN blog doesn’t even show up in the Google index. The SCN blog also strangely doesn’t exist in the SCN search.

    3. Control – I don’t particularly want to spend time justifying myself to SCN moderators. In my case, I got lucky and a moderator I know from the community approved my blog almost immediately. However, it was telling that I later got comments from another moderator that indicated to me the blog would not have been approved by some other moderators because of questions about technical accuracy. (For the record, the blog was accurate, but there was room for disagreement.) Instead of taking my chances with this system, I would rather publish on a platform I control and then offer the content to SCN in the event that SCN wants it.

    So, those are my reasons, and they are not very negotiable. I guess the question is whether or not SCN feels the my content is of benefit to it.

    On the other hand, there have been some cross-postings recently that I think could be done much better. When I start seeing artifacts from other blogging systems in cross-posted SDN blogs, then it’s pretty clear that people aren’t trying very hard. Just like any other blog post, a cross-posting should be respectful to the community by being relevant, well-edited, and readable.

    I’m not quite sure what the correct response to these messy cross-posts is. Comment on the post?

    Thanks for bringing up the topic! It is definitely an important discussion.

    Ethan

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    1. Michael Nicholls Post author
      Hi Ethan

      I can understand your point about ease of use of the SCN blog editor – especailly when it comes to pasting code fragments etc. The Googability of SCN content is also a bit of a mystery sometimes.

      In relation to justifying yourself to the SCN moderators, well that’s part of their job. I agree that they shouldn’t be commenting on the technical accuracy – that’s part of the general nature of a blg environment – let others make the technical arguments.

      If a blog is expected to invite comment and discussion, then isn’t it better that that be done in 1 location rather than in multiple locations? By keeping the content in SCN or non-SCN, then that’s a more realistic possibility.

      Cheers

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      1. Ethan Jewett
        In my experience, and as others have mentioned here, publishing on SCN and publishing on my personal blog results in very different groups of people reading the blogs and in very different discussions.

        So, I don’t believe it is a valid question to ask if the comment and discussion would be better done in 1 location rather than 2. Yes, discussions on cross-posts might happen in two locations, but they are 2 different discussions, and one of them probably wouldn’t have happened if the blog had been posted in one place and not the other.

        I’m not saying that cross-posting is always OK. I think usually it is better not to cross-post, and as a result I rarely write on SCN. But sometimes it does add value, which leads me to believe (as I think John mentioned) that cross-posting is not the problem.

        For me, the key question about where to publish is whether the content will be of value to the community. I think cross-posters need to ask themselves this question just like everyone else πŸ™‚

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        1. Mark Chalfen
          Ethan – Some of the blogs on SCN now resemble articles.

          For examples – this is how you do A and B.

          Great information, but that is not a blog – it is a piece of information that perhaps would sit better as an article.

          “How to do A and B”.

          People want to read and learn from other people’s opinions through a blog.

          An article is more factual, this is how you implement X, or these screen shots show you the config for Y.

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          1. Michelle Crapo
            Articles are hard to search.  They also are very dry.   Exactly this is how to do A and B.

            I like blogs to tell me this is how to do A and B.  I went down the C road but came back to B, because…  Or this is how to do A and B.  Here are the things that caused issues.

            I like complete screen shots and config.  Also an article seems like it should be the “best approach”.  It’s not always possible to do the “best approach” based upon constraints.  It’s nice to hear from people who have ran into problems with the “best approach”, and taken a substitute the ingredient approach.

            Just my 2 cents – I seem to be having a flash back to where I gave these two cents before…

            Michelle

            Add a side note – sometimes I don’t even know to look for A and B unless I first read a blog intoducing the concept.

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            1. Ethan Jewett
              I think maybe there is a difference between “My experience doing X, Y, Z” and “How to do X, Y, Z”. I like the first as a blog. When I see the second in SCN blogs I find it annoying, dry, uninteresting, and frankly often wrong.

              I think Jim’s recent blog series on his trials and tribulations with Solution Manager are an excellent example of the first type of content, which makes an excellent blog. These blogs have been informative and entertaining.

              Ethan

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          2. Ethan Jewett
            Hi Mark,

            I completely agree with you and I also find step-by-step type blogs pretty annoying. There has been some discussion about these types of blogs in the past. I don’t advocate banning them, but I would prefer if authors could think about where they might provide the most value. Maybe these types of blogs would be better off in the wiki?

            Ethan

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  4. DJ Adams
    Hi Michael

    Ethan made some very good points (moderation, ease-of-use), and I’d like to add a couple of thoughts of my own.

    SCN/SDN has a long history, and in the early days it was most definitely a walled garden, which discouraged people from posting things there. Things have improved greatly since then.

    Cross posting can be abused, but can also be terribly useful. And while SDN is a huge and massively successful venture, it’s still only a small part of the web and finding the balance and harmony, and using the tools and standards (e.g. RSS) to maintain the relationship between SDN and non-SDN content is always a challenge.

    I wrote about this a few years ago (not on SDN :-): http://www.pipetree.com/qmacro/blog/2005/07/sdn-blogging-and-planet-sap/

    and started Planet SAP, following the lead of many other ‘Planet’ feeds. It’s since defunct, but interesting nonetheless.

    If you’ve written something that you want the SDN community to see, and it’s not in SDN, you’re between a rock and a hard place sometimes: cross-post, or thin pointer?

    dj

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  5. Anton Wenzelhuemer
    actually I don’t feel cheated and I don’t care much about where someone originally posts hist content. I just feel annoyed by (excessive cross posting). To me a posting which doesn’t contain anything but a link to a post eleswhere doesn’t usually add any value but increase noise. Of course, in the course of a discussion, a pointer to some further ressources, elaborating on what is just being discussed is always helpful.

    I also do not see any values in recently posted linkfarms on topic xy. Anyone who is interested in a certain area usually has all the news at hand through his collection of ressources or RSS feeds or whatever. I have no need for such bot-fabricated linkfarm blogs and wonder how this place here would look like if more people started to throw out such blogs.

    my simple rule of thumb: provide original content (knowledge) or leave it.

    my 2 cents,
    anton

    note to the community owners: consider a special section apart from the blogging system, called Industry News/Bits or something, and let people dump their linkfarms, cross-posts there if a need for such things exists.

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  6. Mark Chalfen
    When I blog I write to express my opinion on a subject that I believe others are interested in.

    I like to blog on SCN are there are lots of other like minded community members and they share their opinion as well.

    I also have my own blog space on my Company’y website where a different group of users will access my material.

    Blogging is free and easy, the whole idea is to share ideas and opinions so putting your blog or thought in more than one place feels right.

    I also right articles for SAP Insider. These are factual articles on some new SAP functionality and for that I get paid. I sign an agreement with SAP Insider not to share my article or to re-publish it and I fully respect that.

    I am not personally bothered how a blog is rated by Google – my main concern and reason for blogging is to get my opinion across and to open people’s eyes to the potential of the area of SAP that I have a passion for.

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  7. Matthias Steiner
    Interesting discussion – I had similar thoughts when I opted for cross-posting.

    Why I do it – first I consider myself as an individual blogger. I’m an SAP employeee, so be it – but I’m no official spokeperson of SAP and doing it within my free time. As such, being the author of the content I keep a personal blog and a SCN blog. While I certainly write a blog targeting the SCN community I also blog about other stuff, which I do not publish on SCN.

    To have a single point of truth I also cross-post the stuff on my private blog – given a link to the original SCN blog post. (http://www.inscope.net/post/256)

    This also gives me a lot more freedom of the look&feel of the article and the mobile rendering of my blog!

    Being a big WordPress fan I also sketch out my blogs there and once done I grap the HTML content and shift it to SCN whith some final polishing at the end…

    Just some thoughts….

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  8. John Appleby
    Hi,

    I suffer from this problem too and often cross-post to my company blog – normally SCN comes first and they lift and shift.

    I see no problem with this because the correct metric is: does the blog add value? Did it stimulate an interesting discussion?

    The much bigger problem on SCN is the growing noise of poor quality content. Let’s deal with that first!

    John

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  9. Jim Spath
    Mike: You raise valid points, er, critiques, as do the other commentators.  Coincidentally, we were dealing with the same issue on another site, which I’ll discuss presently.

    Copyright issues. (1) Obviously, if material is posted by someone other than the original author, it’s a violation.  Not so obviously, how do we find out? Teachers use automated tools for spotting term papermill products; SCN blog moderators use less sophisticated means, and rely on community members to be whistle blowers.  Authors should realize they will be scrutinized; finding the exact same content elsewhere with a different author name triggers alarm (hint, don’t use pseudonyms). (2) I’m not sure about posting material that has been submitted elsewhere if you’ve given away the rights.  Check with competent legal advisers.

    Boredom factor. As an SCN blog moderator, I often have to read material that has nothing to do with SAP, and precious little to do with enterprise software. If I find the author transcribed it from their personal cracker barrel, I’m going to lean more heavily on the blue pencil. So as you say, Mike, if someone doesn’t have new material, readers might be spared the abuse. And simply publishing for quantity is irksome.  I’ve posted close to 300 blogs on SDN, and I’m hopeful none were uninteresting.

    Two way street. I’m in favor of material being published here, and elsewhere, not *just* on SDN.  This is not the be-all and end-all of SAP criticisms and commentary.  Although others draw a hard line about “promoting non-SCN” sites, I think people are bright enough to decide for themselves where to read about SAP.  And the fact that this site is ultimately owned and controlled by SAP should be enough to ensure mutual admiration societies.

    Me too. I sometimes out the same material here, and on ASUG.com.  Hopefully it is rare enough that no one has to slog through my prose more than once intentionally.  I support my right to be lazy on occasion, as long as 98% of the time you won’t see the same sentence again.

    What we’ve seen a couple times now on ASUG.com is wholesale publication of old material on our site.  When I see several posts per day from one author, alarms go off about originality.  Why do people do this? Laziness is one answer, self-promotion is another, and ignorance a third.  I guess I’d rather see a digest of links to historic posts on a subject, but even that doesn’t interest me much. 

    I am going to post on ASUG.com today, if I have time, about a chapter meeting.  Rather than copy what I put here on SDN, I’m going to add value by referring here, then writing up my notes that didn’t fit, and hammering more than normal.

    As for blogging tools, to paraphrase the primary author of Mutt, all blogging tools suck, some just suck less than others.

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  10. Michelle Crapo
    As long as it adds value here.   I don’t mind clicking on a link to get the information I need.  I try to start my day by catching up on blogs.  So I do a quick look at the info I’ve missed – I start here at SCN.  I could easily miss a good blog if it wasn’t “cross-blogged”.
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  11. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Michael:

    I used to blog a lot here on SCN…work, family and a new country doesn’t allow to blog as much as I would like…but I’m doing my best -:)
    Apart from SCN, I got two personal blogs…one in Spanish and other in English…both are exactly related to SAP, because sometimes I write about Ruby, Flex or even Wii…but of course I write about SAP too…but the thing is…my Spanish readers doesn’t know English…at least not all of them, so I need to take my SCN blog, translate it and cross-post it…for my other blog in English…I don’t think all my readers are SCN members…so why should I stop them from reading something interesting that I have wrote on SCN?
    Sometimes I cross-post, sometimes I don’t…for me it depends of which audience I want to target…if I’m the author of the blog, can’t I post it anywhere I want? I haven’t sign any NDA with SCN, so my blogs are still my own -:)

    Greetings,
    Blag.

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  12. Natascha Thomson
    I think it’s totally ok, as long as the blog is relevant to SCN. Some blogs might need adjusting. When reposting my own blog (or elements of it), I don’t feel I’d have to disclose that I already posted it somewhere else. Why should I? (If I did, I’d state by the URL that it’s the same blog.)

    The bigger question here is if SCN should have an area where people link back to their content vs. making them reports content to SCN…

    I think in the future (who knows when) all content will be assembled around the individual SCN member’s needs/specifications, at least I hope so, and it should not really matter where that content “lives”…

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    1. John Appleby
      What I’d love to see is SCN able to consume my RSS feed :=)

      Then I could tag blogs for SCN in my personal blog and it appears in CSN too.

      That would be cool. And the right type of cross-posting.

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  13. Tim Clark
    I think most cross blogging intentions are pure and that you shouldn’t feel cheated. As enormous and influential as the SCN is there are other sites out there that people might find value from. So I’d actually suggest the opposite which would be to “tease” the content here on SCN with a link to read the full article.
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  14. Marilyn Pratt
    Although thanks for the compliment. But I do feel a super meddler here. I must disclose that this whole excellent conversation was triggered by a “backroom” conversation I had with Mike.
    Not wanting in this case to impose my own opinions on handing down a judgment to Mike on allowing cross blog posting, (a practice which we aren’t entirely consistent around) I asked to open this up for wider comment which he has done here so successfully.
    I would conclude from the comments here that the community is of the mind that good relevant content may be cross-posted as long as no copy right infringements exist and it doesn’t irk our readers.  I’ve slapped some wrists for doing this in the past but usually when I was concerned about promotional quality of content.  When content seemed valuable there didn’t seem much point to defer it.  Would like to hear more from you, our community and wanted to let you know that we will also have a discussion on this with our collaboration team to check ourselves and align with the content team folks around syndicated content.  This might need to be on a per case examination.  Not sure that there will be hard and fast rules.
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    1. Audrey Stevenson
      Marilyn,
      I, for one, know you are both super-human and regular-human, and I love that about you.
      Just to add my 2 cents to this conversation, as the editor of the BPX homepage, I can say that I do tend to prefer blogs that are clearly original content on SCN. After all, I am chartered to highlight SCN’s value as a source for knowledge, and I do that by choosing excellent SCN-originated content to feature.
      While I will sometimes make an exception if the content is really excellent AND the author has added at least a little bit more to the cross-posting on SCN, I’m usually going to pass on a good blog if its author’s main purpose seems to be to take the reader to another site to get the full story or to get points for work already done elsewhere (yes, this is often a judgement call, and I don’t claim to always be on the mark in my judgement).
      Thankfully, there are is a consistent stream of good-quality blogs on SCN that are not visibly cross-postings from which I can choose. So if the community feels cross-postings have a place, I don’t have an issue with that. πŸ™‚
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  15. Prasita Prabhakaran
    I cross post stuff within the SAP employee communities and on SCN. Its usually the internal community first, to understand the pulse.

    If I am reading something interesting related to SAP or enterprise software, I ao ahead to read other relavant articles or blogs, to know more. And if I feel, summarizing what I have learnt makes sense I do a cummulative blog, with references wherever applicable. This is cross posting in a way, but rather than having to read stuff in 10 different sites, its available in one go, and might be helpful.

    Though just a link, with a one liner about the topic, which is mostly same as what we have in that link…no I would not like to read tihs.

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  16. Kevin Benedict
    It is my opinion that the ability to find relevant and valuable information conveniently and quickly is the key.  When I search for a topic I appreciate a good list of relevant content. 

    I am not concerned with filtering my information and restricting it to what is original to SCN.  This does not help me when I am looking for answers or knowledge.  If a fellow SCN member can point me to a good external source of knowledge, this is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

    I cross post simply because SCN does not have a monopoly on good content, and the miniture fonts and poor blogging tools make it too difficult. 

    In addition, many emerging and niche technology markets are first developed external to SAP and most expertise resides outside of the SAP general community.  When it becomes relevant to the SAP community, this information should be brought into the community in appropriate manners.

    Bottomline – blogging is a vehicle to communicate knowledge.  The history of progress points to the value of cross cultural exchanges of knowledge along trading routes.  Closed societies were not the ones with all the technological progress.  It was the locations where ideas from many different peoples, cultures, experiences and economies were mixed and debated.

    SCN is a place where the best SAP-centric relevant and appropriate content from the world should be aggregated, shared and debated.

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      1. Kevin Benedict
        M2M (machine to machine communications) and wireless embedded technologies is a niche technology supported by SAP (there are SAP specialists in M2M), the Sybase Unwired Platform, enterprise asset management, fleet management and nearly every utility (smart grid) using SAP. 

        A subset of SAP customers will find this content highly relevant, others not.  The category to which it is published is important for relevance.  The title should clearly define the content so thoses not interested need not read.

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