Skip to Content

Pay it Forward. Pay it Back!

At SAP TechEd 2011 in Las Vegas, Mark Yolton told the story of “Pay it Forward”, to introduce our Topic Leaders, Mentors, and Moderators just prior to Demojam.  Mark explained that “Pay it Forward” means doing random acts of kindness with the only request to the recipient that they do the same for others.  This has been the spirit of our community over the past 8 years.

Throughout the month of June, we challenge you to a mission:  “Pay it Back – Community Appreciation”.  The mission challenges you to reach out to those who have helped you with their knowledge sharing, by rating their content, liking it, and sharing it with others.  You can (and should) include comments that thank the author for taking the time to share her/his knowledge, and explain how it helped you or why it was important. Did someone provide a helpful answer or correct answer to your question?  Mark their answer as such.  Not only does it show your appreciation, but it shows others the answers to focus on.  Equally important questions appear as “answered” once you mark a correct answer.  That makes it easier for others to find the answers to the questions. 

As described in Tim Guest’s recent blog, “Rating Likes for SCN Blogs”, he points out, “My last three Posts have had just under 2,000 views but only had a total of 7 “Likes” and [only] 4 people have taken the time to post a rating.”  Is Tim looking for points?  I don’t think so.  He’s already an active contributor with a silver badge for his more than 1100 points.  I think his point is that people took the time to read his posts, but left him no feedback.  Is it good or bad?  Useful or worthless?  Correct or wrong?  He wants to know.

Here’s what you can do.

  • When you take the time to read someone’s posting, rate it.  You’ve got the option for 1 to 5 stars with a single click, so if you like it, give it 4 or 5 stars.
  • Like the content.  Give it a thumbs up if you think it’s helpful.
  • Share the content.  Let others know about it so that they get the information as well.
  • Comment on the content and provide candid feedback.  If it’s good, say so. If it’s not so good, offer advice. 

Screen shots below show how easy it is to take these actions.

Share, like, rate, comment.


Mark questions that have been answered by selecting “correct answer” or “helpful answer”. Once you select an answer as “correct”, the question will appear answered with the checkmark icon.


So will you choose to “Pay it back”?  I hope so.  I’d like to hear your responses to this idea, but more important, I’d like to see you actions that indicate your commitment to the mission.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Hi,

    I really appreciate the idea... Wow.. really there are so many documents and blog posts and even discussions which are not recognized and the same topic is discussed again and again.

    In a way even the author gets recognized for his contributions. He will be knowing about the +ve and -ve sides of his content...



  • Hi, thanks for mentioning my blog. My view is that if you have had 1000 readers of your post you should have 1000 ratings either good or bad. We have looked at the mobile issue on SCN and this is being addressed but I genuinely think there are a lot of "Passive" SCN members who simply like to read and learn. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as long as they provide feedback on the content they read, the success of The Community depends on it now!

    As Chip says, people are still getting used to the new SCN and it will take a while for everyone to get up to speed. I have rated and Liked BTW. 🙂

    • I think getting 1000 ratings from 1000 views is unrealistic. People just won't do that. But even if 10% of people took the trouble and you got 100 ratings, things would work so much better. The ratings system is intended to be the mechanism that filters out good from bad content on SCN, and makes the good content much easier to find. If so few people bother to rate things, this filtering mechanism simply doesn't work. If even 10% of readers vote, though, I think that's enough.

      Of course, in the spirit of this blog we should all try and rate everything we read for a little while, but let's not get too disappointed if we still only get a low hit rate.

      • I agree Steve, I was being slightly "idealistic" in my last reply. Personally I would feel a bit bad rating someone 1 star and would probably just not rate but I agree we should all follow our own advice and see what happens.

    • Thanks for your comment, Tim.  I liked your blog a lot. It helped spur me on to this one, which has been on the to do list for awhile.  And Steve, sometimes a 1 star is important too.  Have you ever had such bad service in a restaurant that you left a 1 cent tip?  That would send a message no doubt.  I've only done it once, when the waitress poured a full extra large soft drink down my colleagues back...twice!


      • Yes, I agree a 1 cent tip sends a message. But if you do it so rarely, and if very few people do it at all, I'm not sure providing the ability to do it is worthwhile if it stops people from leaving tips at all. I think a simple "add 10%" button (like) would work better than a "leave as much as you think the service was worth" button (stars). "Like" takes less thought, and so is more likely (sorry:-) to be used.

  • Jeanne

    Definitely agree that commenting or other feedback is a necessary part of creating a community. Cloth has warp and woof, one without the other is just a pile of jumbled thread. Comments can start discussions and that starts to weave the blog threads together into a community fabric. Of course it takes some time to make a comment, but it is simple to add  a "Like" with the new SCN and takes little time. Could an RSS reader or web crawlers add to "views"? That might explain the large view/feedback ratio.

    It seems that only the controversial: as posted by Jarret Pazahanick generate a significant amount of feedback.

    Using comments, likes and ratings is another way the community can "police" the quality of content for blog posts.

    • Thanks for supporting this strategy, Kevin, and for sharing the link to Jarrett's blog.  I hadn't seen it yet, but I really liked it and rated it too!  I need to post a comment as well, as I've been in the SAP Consulting world for 20+ years, and I've seen some interesting "bait and switch" situations, but nothing like that before.


  • I think the mission critical at the moment is to reactivate the "remember me" checkbox on the login screen (cc Oliver Kohl ). For me, I think twice, especially on mobile devices, whether I login "just" to like or rate content. I want to rate, but SCN makes it difficult for us lazy people 😉 (at the end I do it nevertheless)


    • Thanks for your comment, Uwe.  There is a team of mentors, members, SAP IT working on the mobile solution that will let you do this via smartphone / iPad.  I think that ther are a lot of us lazy people who just want to click a button on the phone while we're on the train, stuck in traffic, waiting in line.  Stay tuned.


    • Just to add to what Uwe mentioned, I think if we are using SAP Passport on the browsers and we have a Pxx ID instead of S-ID, there is a trouble in remembering the password. Can we expect a fix here as well?


  • This is one reason why I really think there news to be a "pay to consume" model.  I still would love to see a gamified model where you gain access to extra content by rating, reviewing and liking materials or even contributing.  However it's too technically complicated, along with blocking the user experience.

    Provided the login doesn't fail too much on me(cookies don't work) I will definitely try to get into the rating/like habit more. 

    Take care,


    • Hi Stephen, 

      It's a great idea and not so far from possible with some of the new reputation / recognition systems.  Laure Cetin is doing an evaluation on a couple of vendors for a project we will do this year that makes such things possible.


    • At first I thought I didn't like that idea. I don't think restricting access to content based on your contribution level is right, but here's a variation on that theme. What if posting things cost you points rather than earned you points? Instead of getting 10 points for posting a blog, it cost you 10. You'd then be dependent on other people's feedback to earn the points you need to post, and that would make the importance of the feedback process much more prominent in people's minds. It would also stop people posting poor content, because without positive feedback they'd very quickly run out of points to post with. Forum posts might cost less because we don't want to discourage people from asking questions, and everyone would start off with a few points (say 50?) so they can make a few mistakes and get the hang of how this all works.

      Does that sound at all workable? Or even sensible?

  • Great article and I think education is important to get people to start contributing and by noticing the ratings/likes on this article some of the SCN community members are listening 🙂

    I also mentioned this article in a recent blog I wrote from a different angle as well and "pretty sure" I got the pay it forward title idea from your blog 🙂

    SAP Career - You Owe it to Pay it Forward

    Keep up the great work.


    • Thanks, Jarret for sharing the link to that blog.  I read, liked, rated and commented.

      As a cancer survivor myself (almost 3 years), I really related to the story. 

      It's nice to see that charitable side of you!

      Thanks for your support!


  • Hopefully people will start reading, rating and commenting now and not wait until June.

    It would be good to see more of this on new SCN.


    • Thanks, Tammy. Not only would it be good to's a crucial part of the Community that enables the members to decide what the value.  I hope that we will be able to turn that corner, which is a big change for SCN.


  • Jeanne,

    thank you for helping us understand how we can better use the current content toolbox.

    i never moved my blogs from the old area to the new one and i don't really see a reason to do it. some of it is because my content has become obsolete or there were few comments that original posts have had to begin with, so i have decided to stay away from the new format and have spent more time on wikis. this is not the whole story, though.

    the biggest reason, for me personally, to stay away is the "downgrade" that the original blog format has received. by downgrade i mean no single point of entry for the blogs and no real difference between the blogs and documents. while i understand why SAP would like to better control the content that is being posted on the platform that the company owns.

    no easy connection to twitter with short url's and lack of easy mobile format keeps many existing and potential bloggers away from the updated SCN. multiple logons and sticky follows don't help either.

    my 2 cents...

    • Gregory Misiorek

      You can get to a single point of entry to blogs by going to Browse -> Content, click on Blog posts, and sort by date created

      Sure it is a few extra clicks, not what we're used to, but that is a way


      • Tammy,

        while i'm comparing it to the way it used to be, i'm also comparing it to the way it's done in the affilite community. blogs there are much more prominent and don't require any additional navigation. they are also moderated and seem limited to a smaller "expert circle of mostly SAP employees", so traffic there may be slower, but finding content seems much easier and for some reason my id doesn't need to get reauthenticated every time i go there.

        blog author's involvement with those who make comments on their content is always helpful and no automation and reward tools can replace that. if they are too busy to respond then they should not seek "involvement" from others, should they?

        from my recent personal experience the point of entry into SCN has been the twitter.

        obviously, there are very few community members that come even close to the level of engagement that you have consistently displayed to the rest of us, so thank you for being a good sport.

        • Gregory Misiorek

          I agree with most of your points and here recently I have missed the blog moderation and have seen too many "sales pitch" blogs, or "gurus"

          It's a shame too that experiencehana site is not a part of SCN, but maybe that is just me.

          Thank you for your kind words


        • You make some excellent points Greg about "expert circle".  How do we create a balance between expert content that is almost exclusively SAP generated and giving the community the opportunity to generate it's own content while still maintaining a high level of quality?  That's the real question.  It's a delicate balance.  The site does generate lots of likes, comments and responses to blogs but it is very granular in nature from a topic perspective and there are limited and highly controlled pieces of featured content.  There are no discussion forums, so for the most part, its a bit like Forbes: broadcast and opinions (with comments), curated highly and highly controlled.  I think each of the mediums are legitimate and I remember the growing pains with SDN when we opened up blogging and then needed to take a step back to more actively moderate the blogs.  This in turn became a bottleneck for publication and even those on our team with the best intentions, often let garbage sneak past the quality gates because of lack of subject expertise.  With the wiki, we had the same problem and introduced expert wiki pages and moderation.  Seems we can't fully get away from more formal policing.  Or perhaps it is just a matter of more time, as wikipedia seems to manage quite well with citizen moderators.  (on a sidenote, and from an article shared by Mark Yolton, wikipedia style of moderation seems to deter women from participating ...I don't have the link he shared at my fingertips but this one is interesting: )

        • Hi Greg,

          Your point (as agreed by Tammy and Marilyn) about blog moderation is a topic of much discussion amongst the team members in SCN Collaboration now.  As we add on Reputation and Points functionality throughout the year, we may be able to implement a "quest to become a blogger" mission.  Sounds like fun?  Stay tuned. 

          Laure Cetin is leading the effort, which is in it's earliest stages now.  (Vendor selection almost complete.)


      • Tammy, Greg

        Remember that you can bookmark locations (and even the 'generated' URLs created by searchs).. In the example you quoted, the ultimate URL is...[blogpost]&sortKey=all~creationDateDesc&sortOrder=0

        which I have bookmarked as SCN Blogs.  And since I use firefox (which lets me specify keywords on a bookmark), if I enter the that keyword in my browser, or select the bookmark... I get taken directly to SCN blogs, Browse -> Content, click on Blog posts, and sort by date created.


  • Hi Jeane,

                   you have spoken my mind. Thank you for your article. If you see in real world we take lots of help from others and much often we forget to say "thank you". Maybe these wonderful people are getting paid for their jobs, but what if they cease to work?? What if there are no blogs in SDN or no answers to your questions?? I feel helpless if SCN goes down even for an hour. Please take some time to rate the articles,answers,blogs you feel are good or help people solve problem. I hope we all agree to one point that SAP is here to solve and support  complicated business process, spread accross the globe. Thus the solution SAP provides cannot be simple. SAP is way different from conventional programming. Thus all of us who are working with SAP need help. With times our lives are getting complicated, so is SAP too. SCN helps us easing the complexity. Let's take some time out of our busy schedule to say "thank you" to all contributors of  SCN. Then at the same time when we rate its important that we rate exactly the way the article deserves to be rated. As all fingers of our hand are not of same size the articles present in SCN also vary in quality of content. The rating should be proportionate to the quality of the article or how much it has helped you gain knowledge.



  • Hi Jeane,

    Though I read this blog late 😉 , what you say is absolutely true. Rating/Liking/Leaving a comment not only helps author to improve them self but it helps others also to filter the content during search. An article/blog having large number of likes and good rating would most probably a good pick to spend time in reading. We are here to help others and learn from others 🙂



    • Thanks for your comment Vinod. I'm glad to see some comments that are well thought out about this blog. It's still very important for people to provide good honest feedback to authors about what they have shared.

      I fear a lot of times people are commenting with "good blog", "thanks", "great work", to gain points. The downside of gamification.

      Your comment here is a great example of a thoughtful post.