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Your reputation on SCN – An outlook for 2012

May 2013 update:
SCN is now enhanced with extensive game mechanics! This is fun, this is driving engagement in the community!

Please read the updated Reputation Program Overview and the Frequently Asked Questions documents, as well as Chip Rodgers’ blog.


2012 is here! After some time off with my family I am excited to be back because I feel 2012 will be a great year professionally. As part of the SCN Collaboration Team, I focus on member reputation and I wanted to share interesting developments we are working on for 2012. Here is an outlook.

The new SCN

As you may know, we are launching a new SCN soon. It means great new features, easier collaboration, and a more social SCN. You will be able to connect with your peers in an easy way, follow their content and encourage them for the quality of their contributions. There are functionalities in the new SCN that will help you grow your reputation and shine on SCN. Stronger, brighter and longer!

Reputation on SCN

Various terms are used in the industry to describe your reputation in an online community and I am explaining below what they mean for SCN members.


Expertise is the knowledge that you have gained in a certain area over time, and the best way to become a recognized expert on SCN is to contribute good content, engage with other members and learn as you do so. You learn as you help others, this is what makes the community spirit powerful and positive in many ways.

In the new SCN you will get points in the areas you contribute in: around topics, products and industries. If you make it to the top you will be prominently featured in the area of contribution and, most importantly, your name will be known to others and you will see more and more people follow you and your content to be kept in the loop on your latest contributions. Your peers will recognize your expertise by liking, rating and sharing your quality content. This is a key step on the way to a good reputation as an SAP Professional!

    Points, Badges and Levels

On SCN you accumulate points for your contributions on SCN. The Active Contributor status reflects the amount of points you received over the last 12 months, with a first threshold of 250 points. There are different levels and corresponding badges: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The Active Contributor badge is an indicator of activity: how involved you are on SCN.

The Active Contributor badges as well as badges such as SAP Employee and SAP Mentor badges will live on in the new SCN.


Recognition is an acknowledgment of an achievement. It is not only about a particular achievement, but also a series of achievements over time that deserve a special shout-out. Recognition comes from the SCN Team but also from your peers in the community. Beyond the obvious rewards such as the Active Contributor badge, recognition can be a tweet, an encouraging comment to your blog, a featured blog, you being brought on stage at SAP TechEd, an email from the SCN staff, etc.


Consider reputation an aggregate of everything I described above. Reputation is your image, what others think of you. Points and badges are a start, and with time and as you collaborate quality content on SCN your image as an expert will grow and you will become the “go to” person in your area of knowledge. If one day you write a book, someone who knows you from SCN will buy it. Or if you give a session at TechEd, someone who is active on SCN will know your name and approach you to meet in person. This may be the beginning of a friendship!

Here are a few reputation statements that can help you understand what reputation is – in your daily personal life and professional life as well:

‘Stanford is a good university, I’d like my son to attend one day’

‘This restaurant has three Michelin Stars and I can tell you it was worth the price!’

Michelle Crapo is a sweet lady who encourages bloggers with her thoughtful comments’

Otto Gold is a gentleman’ (the statement comes from me, I met him at TechEd in 2010!)

Sylvia Santelli rocks the SCN twitter scene’

Moshe Naveh is the wiki guru’

‘You’re Thorsten Franz? Oh yeah, I know you! You wrote Kiss of Death for Web Dynpro Java – The Follow-Up Questions…’


— Feel free to add to the list 😉

Reputation Program enhancements


You know we are always working to bring you the best and sometimes it means a phased approach. When we go live with the new SCN, everything I described above will be available in phase 1. More will come in later phases and I invite you to follow me on the new SCN when we go live, and also look out for a blog that will detail the new features in SCN so that you use them wisely to grow your reputation.

Make sure you watch How to Build Your Reputation on the New SCN now to get an overview of the new SCN and how it will help you grow your reputation.

I am looking forward to hearing from you – now and later as we launch the new SCN. Your feedback is, as always, very helpful: It is always spot-on, it keeps me on my toes, it challenges me and inspires me. Thank you!

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  • There are people that give and others that receive on the SCN.  If I spend some time each day to carefully answer someones question and get no feedback or points from people, they let their question on the forum remain as an unanswered question, cross post the same question etc. then I do feel there is a place for negative points so that I can avoid helping those that don’t show the appreciation of the help they are receiving.  Another tendency is to use a single question/thread to ask other questions that are not related to the first, creating a very different type of discussion that makes SCN harder to navigate.  My idea would be to set some limit on the number of open/unanswered questions that a SCN member can have and to display if someone has a bad reputation 🙂  I would hope that would improve the quality of the forums and would motivate me to keep helping since I would prioritise my answers to those that appreciate it and have a positive or non negative reputation. 
    • On your comments of setting limit to open questions, yes already it is in practice and a member cannot post a question in SCN if they kept more than 10 open questions.  But just because of this lock and in order to post a new question, people tend to close all their old threads without updating properly.

      Last but not least, thanks Laure for your wonderful blog.

    • That drives me CRAZY!!!  I spend my time answering a question for someone and they don’t acknowledge the help.   It actually made me move more towards BLOGS and WIKIs.  

      Motivated by points?  No I’m not really.  But I hate to spend my time on something, and not hear back.  Maybe my answer wasn’t used.  That’s OK.  Maybe they did something amazing.  I’d love to read about it.  But there isn’t any more activity nor points given.

      Actually I think the kind of questions you ask builds you a reputation of sorts.   BUT  I don’t want to discourage people from asking.  Just encourage a good search.

      Yes, they can only have 10 now with a good or bad reputation.

      It’s an interesting thought.  Should non-point givers, non-follow-ups, non…  be excluded.  I’d hate to see that, because we all get caught up in our current project.  

      But it does stop the answers from coming.  How about when you answer and are blasted for giving the “wrong” answer.   Should those people be limited?

      I think it would become too much overhead just to keep track of the “negative” reputation.

      Just my morning coffee – ummm “nice” thoughts,


      Have you thought about a “ranting” blog.  After reading this and getting negative again this morning, I certainly have thought about one.  Now if I write it, who knows?

    • Adding to your point about the ‘limit on the number of open/unanswered questions ‘, would’nt it be better if we also had a method to divide the questions posted into parts. Like,
      Part1-Actualy issue/question to be posted
      Part2-what efforts the user undertake to correct the issue before turing to SCN
      Part3-Did the user search fin SCN for available solutions before posting the issue in the forum

      Even after so many years of SDN, we still have people asking very basic questions without even checkin to see if what they need to know is already available. The quantity side of SDN is very much out-weighing the quality side of it. And reputation has started to ride on quantity rather than quality.

  • What a great reminder to kick off the  year- reputation management.  I think SCN really supports a person’s ability to do just that. Lucky for us we have a community to help us build our credibility as we learn and grow.

    Thanks for the shoutout..=)

  • Sometimes, I can be nice.  Wicked laugh here.I’m guessing this won’t be the last blog I’ll be repling to about reputation.  It’s becoming more important on the new SCN.  Maybe I should be non-politically correct.  Just don’t put junk on SCN, you’ll be fine.  How do you know it’s junk?  It’s something you wouldn’t want to read.

  • I was asked (by Kumud SinghHow to Build Your Reputation on the New SCN I’m getting the sense that the New Year’s Resolutions on the SAP Community Network team must be to get out the vote, spin the new system before it’s released to the masses, and continue to build up the traffic in order to, well, that’s what I’m not too sure about.

    Jason talks about “brand” and “reputation” as if those are distinguishing characteristics to be striven for, and describes ways that one can spend time on SCN, supposedly to become “real” and “trusted”. I’m fortunate, I suppose, in that I don’t depend on this online bulletin board system for either of those attributes. Maybe it’s because I’m older and had established my own identity in the virtual world (and in the real one) before SCN existed, and maybe it’s because, despite being a frequent contributor here, I consider having notoriety in this space to be a dividend, not my main quality. I can point to online contributions I made close to 20 years ago, to proof-reading books for a few authors (but none of my own), that define me better than my SCN posts. What I’m seeing are hearing are about how to use SCN, not what that means to me or to others.

    I and others have been sucked into games of gaining counterfeit recognition, whether that be the number of contacts on LinkedIn, points on the SCN system, or the number of followers on Twitter. And when I say counterfeit, it’s because these are qualities that don’t seem to matter in an actual work encounter, in personal relationships, or just plain living. My management wants results from my network of SAP professionals, not a meaningless number. My friends don’t care how many page hits or stars I’ve gotten.

    As a moderator here, and a proof reader and editor for whoever asks me (Hi Vinnie!), I hear and see a lot of abuses of the system. Laure and Jason’s writing only talk about how to use SCN in a bright, shiny, utopian way. There’s little here to learn about fighting off trolls, about leveraging the search engines to find good answers to serious questions, or how to build a quality friends network, not a quantity of Kevin Bacon degrees. One quote that’s missing on the “Reputation” bullet is “oh, you’re a member of the BITI team.”

    One of Kumud’s offline comments on reputation building is (and I’m paraphrasing) that people will go to ridiculous lengths to gain a reputation here, particularly if management encourages quantity over quality. One of my friend Gretchen Lindquist’s favorite questions when asked to participate in a new committee, online network activity, or volunteer work, is “what’s in it for me?” Why would I spend extra time building a reputation or recognition here? Isn’t this something that should just happen as a result of my using the system over a period of time? Why or how could I force this to be accelerated? Another phrase that applies here is the cliche from acting: “what’s my motivation?” All I’m seeing here are superficial participation requests, nothing that would would give me long-term satisfaction.

    How do I think about my online legacy? It isn’t very much around SCN, as there is so much transient content about hardware and software that will be meaningless in a short time. I am trying to contribute elsewhere, such as with documenting hiking trails, taking photographs of interesting places, and writing about obscure subjects (like sporks).

    Finally, am I the pot calling the kettle black? Am I saying you don’t need a reputation here, because I already have one? I hope not. What I hope you take away from this vent is a little perspective on what effort you put into contributing here. I’ll like you a whole lot better if you said that one thing that mattered, than a lot that didn’t.