Skip to Content

I have noticed an alarming trend here in the Cloud Computing space: People not doing their homework, not enabling themselves, then asking for documentation on myriad topics.

I AM NOT A DOCUMENT REPOSITORY.

/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/profile_image_display_jspa_135991.png<> /wp-content/uploads/2012/09/image1_136013.jpg

What is going on here? Asking someone for documentation is a strictly amateur move and it immediately signals that:

1) The partner you work for has not empowered you to gain the information you need through the Business Center

2) You think that I am available to do your job for you, and have a vast wealth of documentation that I will freely share with anyone who asks.

If #1 is your issue, take it up with your boss.

If #2 is your issue, I am extremely scared of the solutions you will eventually build.

I don’t even think it’s technically legal for me to provide you with documentation you don’t already have access to.

Being an ‘elder statesman’ in SAP’s cloud world, I expect to get some rookie questions headed my way. Fine. I was once a rookie too, and I am happy to help. This week alone I have answered dozens of questions on the SCN, and several more through my personal email. I have also held several web meetings where I have graciously offered my time an expertise to guide a peer through their issues, and I have physically gone into a Customer’s office to freely advise them on their botched ByDesign implementation.

Here’s what it boils down to:

Ask a specific question.

Get a specific answer.

Don’t ask for documentation.

Be a professional.

Am I coming from a radically new view point, or has this always been a problem? Discuss.

Feel free to answer me The Twitterz @JudsonOnDemand

To report this post you need to login first.

25 Comments

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

  1. Luke Marson

    Hi Judson,

    Your blog has a familiar undertone – those that think documentation will help them implement a solution or those that just ask every one of their implementation questions are not uncommon. Unfortunately there are people more than happy to answer those questions in spaces such as SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) and it only exaserbates the problem. If the moderator can layout some ground rules and try to put a stop to it and then hopefully it can be kept under control.

    Best regards,

    Luke

    (0) 
  2. Andreas Eissmann

    Hard words Judson…but you are right. Such simple questions could be solved by theirself if the people would read the documentation…

    And that should be the first to dos before asking here on SCN…read documentation…ask your collegues…we are here to help people and we like to do that….but we are not here to do their work, the work they will be paid for…

    Andreas

    (0) 
  3. Steve Rumsby

    It isn’t just the cloud computing space that is suffering from this. The whole of SCN is affected by it. I think it is in part down to the rapid growth of SCN – it no longer has the same community feel as it once had. Without that community feel people just see it as a source of help and nothing more. That’s my take on it, anyway.

    (0) 
  4. Tom Van Doorslaer

    It’s actually touching a bigger problem as well here.

    More and more people come here with the hopes that they get tailor-made answers on their specific business requirements.

    SCN is supposed to be a source of knowledge which inspires customers and partners (and SAP itself) and helps in solving complex technical issues.

    It does not offer out of the box solutions to complex business processes, nor is it a training center. (and the people on SCN are not free consultants either.)

    I tend to point people to good trainings, well described blogs or helpful articles, but I ignore questions for extra documentation or guides. (you can google it yourself)

    It’s an issue, and unfortunately, it’s growing. There’s no ready-made solution against it, so for now, we’ll have to live with it and hope that awareness spreads and the problem eventually dies out.

    (0) 
    1. Frank Koehntopp

      The best ones are by people who only just signed up, write a grammatically questionable one-liner in all lower case and then add “PLEASE EXPLAIN IN DETAIL”.

      Instant moderator fun…

      Oh, and most likely they just pust in any random space 🙂

      Seems the community aspect hasn’t carried over to everyone just yet. I would really appreciate a “thumbs down” button like Digg or Reddit…

      (0) 
      1. Dirk Wittenberg

        Hi Frank,

        “please explain in detail” is the easy version – I remember a discussion where the questioner answered on a post including including hints how to solve his problem: “I need detailed code!”.

        Regards,

        Dirk

        (0) 
    2. Steve Rumsby

      Unfortunately, I don’t think ignoring it and hoping it goes away will work. I do believe the problem is that people are expecting to be able to get help for free. The only solution to that that I can think of is to have a mechanism where people have to earn the right to ask questions by contributing first. Posting a blog or a discussion question costs points, not earns them. You earn points by joining in – answering questions, commenting on blogs, etc. – and by getting positive feedback to the things you post.

      As much as I’d like to think a community will just grow in time, I believe SCN is now too big for that and that we need to give it a helping hand somehow.

      (0) 
      1. Tom Van Doorslaer

        Just like always, I still very much like that idea of “earning credits”. In the long term, that’s probably the best solution.

        The ignore approach comes from my experience with kids and dogs. If they have a tantrum to ask for attention, ignoring them eventually pays off. of course, the big problem here is that you have a new dog every day, so they have to learn all over.

        One thing you said kinda triggered  bell.

        “People expect free help”

        Where does this idea come from? Why do people expect free consulting assistance here?

        Was there maybe something mis-stated in a promotion talk?

        Can we correct this wrong vision via the same channels?

        (0) 
          1. Tom Van Doorslaer

            I figured it was something like that.

            SCN promotion partially attracted this behaviour by making it sound “to good to be true”.

            It’s a good thing to promote SCN (I do so daily, just by sending people mails with links to SCN blogs), but I think the overwhelming promotion around SCN has had an unwanted and unanticipated side-effect.

            We can now remedy the symptoms (moderation = aspirin)

            We can remedy the cause (correct promotion and spread the word that it’s “not a free consulting firm” = Don’t want malaria, don’t go to Africa)

            Or we can regulate the disease (credit system = When going to Africa, you have to take a net, pills and vaccination)

            I guess it’s a bit of all (duh)

            We already have moderation.

            We could easily adapt the ongoing promotion and focus more on the collaboration.

            The credits ‘n quests system is a bit more difficult, but potentially has the greatest benefits. (as it can be used for much more)

            (and I know that Laure Cetin is a big fan as well)

            but we’re kinda hijacking Judson’s topic again 🙂

            I love our discussions (especially because we essentially agree), but it should definitely go beyond the “discussion” stage

            (0) 
              1. Steve Rumsby

                Why not post another blog over in the About SCN space and link back to this one? Or ask a moderator over there to move this one? This type of discussion has happened over there in the past, and it might get a little more attention that way.

                And sorry for hijacking 🙂

                (0) 
            1. Marilyn Pratt

              This gets multi-channel attention from my perspective Frank Koehntopp  and thank you for calling to us to review.

              I actually arrived here to this blog following the twitter feed of https://twitter.com/JudsonOnDemand (Judson Wickham’s feed) although I will eventually see your shout out to me in my inbox later today 😈 . 

              So glad to read you Judson Wickham and see how prolific you are in many different spheres.    In the past, I think I would have become acquainted with Judson and his excellent writing in “my environment” as he began to flow content through the old blog system (as an SCN blogger newbie or relative newbie).  In the present environment this does get “lost” in my line of vision unless someone (even Judson himself) gets my attention which is not an easy feat.  I was following some excellent twitter feed that Judson posted about a cloud youtube interview and by following the long tail ….got here.

              I admit, I have to readjust my thinking to the new reality of the new interface and I too struggle to bring the “community” back to SCN in thought and action.  It’s not just because its too big.  It’s because without some real work and re-thinking on my part it might seem less personal to me.  Why? Because I’m new here as well.  That might sound a bit strange but it’s the truth.  I’m learning to live here pretty much as you all are.  And I’m recalling how I felt years ago as a newbie on SDN.  I suffered similar challenges of being a newbie even though I was a lurker there from inception.  Here on the “new” SCN, I’m new to this integrated Jive environment, I’m new to the way of subscribing and following people and content.  There are a large number of spaces but its more about learning in this new space to meet and greet.  I think the Blog It Forward Community Challenge is a good way to bring back community spirit.  I think learning to filter through general flow and follow the spaces, people and conversations that should be getting my attention is a process.  I need to adapt my thinking and my old methodogies and throw myself in to welcoming using new techniques.  Still not comfortable.  Still feel slow to respond.  But not giving up because there still is enough passion, quality and smart newness (read smart new participants) to keep me engaged.  

              Again welcome Judson (I know you’ve been on SCN for a while and established your reputation, but you are new to me)

              (0) 
  5. Judson Wickham Post author

    Thanks everyone for chiming in. I’m relatively new to the SCN as the ByDesign forums used to be mt ‘go-to’ place to help people out.

    I am fine giving my time to people trying to learn, but not people doing the things you’ve all listed.

    (0) 
  6. Billy Gast

    I guess I am confused… How does someone asking a Question harm you or the Community?. Just do not answer it. If you are too busy and/or smart to be bothered by such questions then ignore them.. Why are you here? If someone has time and wants to help  they can answer it. if not it will go unanswered.  It is that simple.. Demeaning partners and customers who are looking for answers in not in the spirit of “Collaboration”.  Sometimes the elitist tone here is more of an issue than the “Stupid” questions.

    (0) 
    1. Judson Wickham Post author

      No questions are stupid and if you go through this forum you will see that I will answer any level of question. I don’t consider myself superior to anyone and I have had meetings with people in this community to help with their issues. I’ve even helped your own co-workers on their projects, for free. Just ask Grant.

      But I will not do someone’s job for them and as you can see by the many comments above, it’s a problem.

      (0) 
      1. Lukas Weigelt

        Well said. I feel (on many terms) the same way and I feel uneasy about many ‘figures’ on the Forums trying to utilize people’s well-intentioned help by means of expecting out-of-the-box problem solutions (or documentation, in your case; comes down to the same problem either way).

        >>I don’t consider myself superior to anyone

        I’m glad you see it that way, thinking otherwise will only lead to becoming narrow-minded..

        >>Sometimes the elitist tone here is more of an issue than the “Stupid” questions.

        I can only speak from my experiences on the ERP HCM Subforums, but with respect to that constraint I have to disagree. The only ‘harsh tone’ I’ve experienced or, in some cases, have been part of, was within threads with questions that could have been 100% answered by using google just once. I’ve tended to just report and ignore such threads lately and tried to suppress sarcastic remarks, but it still is a nuisance, IMHO. The SCN Forums are not an avenue of escape for people’s laziness or incapability of simple information retrieval.

        (0) 
    2. Jelena Perfiljeva

      Billy, I think Judson got it right from the start:

      People not doing their homework, not enabling themselves

      It’s not about “stupid”, it’s about “lazy”. People don’t want an answer, they want someone to do their job. Just today I had to scroll through a dozen of posts in ABAP forum that had whole copy-pasted programs asking for troubleshooting or no indication of using at least Google before posting. I could just pass through (I did report them instead), but it still takes time to scroll through such posts (the web site is still on a slow side). Add to this the time spent by others, email traffic, database space, etc. So there actually is tangible harm, I believe.

      Maybe it’s just hormones, but for me “do my job” posts are rather demotivating. Like sifting through garbage. Really makes me lose hope in humanity on some days… 🙁

      (0) 

Leave a Reply