[Edited Jan 21, 2013]
“Between You and Me” is a series of blogs I have to share personal discoveries and views of the SAP community.
I’m a moderator in the SAP Community Network, which means I am one of over 800 topic-specific SCN moderatorsSCN Space Contact List reviewing blog posts submitted by SCN bloggers. Besides reviewing new blog posts, moderators also review documents and discussions in their topic areas to ensure relevance and quality. In this post, I’d like to share with you my personal criteria for evaluating the quality of blog content (and also what I do when I see a really good blog).
On our previous SCN platform, points were awarded manually by moderators. I liked how those who in my ‘position’ got the chance to award points. However, I also knew there were many others in the community just as or more qualified (and maybe had a faster response time than me) to evaluate quality and award points. The major part of points for contributions is now awarded by community members at large, by rating and liking content such as blogs or documents. I’m liking the automation and letting the community judge quality and value of the content.
My personal criteria for judging blog quality (and points) revolves around critical thinking. I am looking for a Think-Blog-Think mindset exhibited by bloggers.
Here’s what I mean:
I want to see critical thinking. To me, critical thinking is carefully collecting and using available information to form a belief or to guide a decision. Sure, purely informational blogs are acceptable. To stand out, I look to bloggers to express their opinions and how they arrived at their conclusion, or share knowledge and discuss how this may benefit others. Bloggers should think about how their post may be of value to the community before posting.
The more clear the thinking, the more informed the opinion and the more convincing the statement.
Jeanne Carboni posted some guidelines to Build Better Blogs that I urge you to read through. I care about the same things that make quality blogs, yet I don’t sweat the small stuff when I review blog posts. Small stuff includes grammar and spelling, or using official SAP product names. English is not my first language, and I don’t expect it to be the first language either for others in an online community of over of 2 million members from over 200 countries. I’m looking for clear expression of your thoughts that shows how you have thought about what you’ve written.
You’ve thought about what you want to say and why you want to say in a weblog. You said it. Now what?
Well, did you know posting a blog is just the start of a conversation? I’d like to see bloggers take some time to listen and read what others say before responding. Responsiveness shows engagement (a good thing), yet I look for thoughtfulness and reflection in how bloggers respond (a better thing I think). No one has all the answers, and there is just no universally correct answer for some questions. Based on these premises, bloggers should consider the opinion and feedback of others, add them to the mix of information and evidence gathered, and reassess their own position.
Critical thinking isn’t just reserved for bloggers. Blog readers also need to view these posts with a critical eye. I love that I can now give points to some of our blog readers who post comments to blogs. Whether it was a few words of encouragement, constructive feedback or sharing further knowledge, these folks have obviously put in the effort to read the post and done some critical thinking of their own. Even if members receive no points for commenting, it does NOT mean there is no point in commenting. For some of us bloggers (myself included), receiving encouragement, engagement, feedback, and different opinions are our motivators to blog.
What can you do to support SCN bloggers and those who comment?
- Rate their blog (My Rating – stars)
- Like their blog or comment (Thumbs up)
- Add a thoughtful comment – even if it’s to say “Thank-you!” (Add a comment)
- Share the blog with others
I’m curious, what do you look for in a blog?