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Are you losing points? Are you losing your mind?

The answer is no! Most of the time 😉

I have received a lot of feedback from people in the community who wonder where their points have gone. Most of the time people who think there is an issue don’t realize that the number of points next to your name above – see an example below – is the points accumulated over the last 12 months, and this number can change every day.

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 11.15.47 PM.png

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Before March 2012 (the new SCN),  members were accruing numbers that were higher upfront, and didn’t take into account the feedback from the community. The system changed, as I explained in my blog back then, and you get smaller amounts of points, but more regularly. That means that today you can still see drops in 12-month rolling points, but after March 2013 that would no longer be the case. Your total of 12-month rolling points would fluctuate less dramatically.

You continue accumulating lifetime points on SCN, this total number always increases:

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 11.24.31 PM.png

(This is taken from my user profile, reputation tab)

Now, I know that some of you have experienced weird point behaviors in some cases, and I’m still trying to figure out why you may be losing one point when one of your answers just got marked as correct. I am checking how often the system calculates the rolling points and will respond in the threads that raised the issue.

And recently you may have experienced a significant drop in terms of 12-month rolling points, which results in a lower status of Active Contributor, e.g. Silver instead of previously Gold. This may seem “brutal”, but it’s the only way we can track recent activity in the current system, by having points “expire”. Last year around end of November/early December some of you probably experienced a big bump of points when we gave additional points for TechEd presentations and engagement at Innojam and DemoJam. These point uploads are done manually and there is a lot of  work involved, checking user IDs, not finding them, uploading the points, etc. Those of you who were indeed active in one of the TechEd event this year will receive additional points soon, and you will see your Active Contributor status go up again.

This is how it works, there is constant fluctuation. Is it a perfect system? Maybe not. But how much do points mean to you? Is it just a validation of your engagement in the community? Is it an end in itself? (I have to become Platinum this year!!). Or would you rather just focus on an increasing number of lifetime points, and other ways to measure recent activity in spaces (communities)? Maybe via leaderboards? I’d like to hear from you, find out what matters to you. As you may know, I am working to implement more game mechanics on SCN for early next year, with missions and badges that will make it fun to engage on SCN, and focus on the types of behaviors that bring value to the community. There will be some changes, hopefully for the better. Your feedback helps me as I plan the design of the new reputation program on SCN.

Stay tuned. Please start the discussion here by commenting to my blog!

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  • There was a long discussion on Twitter with Matthias Steiner Tobias Hofmann Greg Chase and many others…

    What is the best reputation system? You have to keep in mind that no professional community is where SCN is today. Really. In high tech communities I haven’t seen a lot of examples of rolling points. I haven’t seen examples of reputation not based on points. It is very difficult to encourage quality for content that is as complex as SAP technical content. It is very difficult to identify expertise when it’s not just based on points. And the Klout score is the target of much criticism, but at least it’s an attempt at an influencer score.

    My ideal would be a mix of stackoverflow with Bunchball’s gamification platform, with better permissions (think about having to complete certain missions before having the right to publish a blog, think Mentor rating is higher value than a rating from someone with no reputation/status of the community). And important: better Moderation tool, with a platform that Moderators can access and where they can maintain reputation information (such as bad karma, but just in the backend…)

    More thoughts?

    • Same observation here, some moments after pinots were added, old ones are dropping from the horizon, making it look as if your recent contribution cost you some of the beloved.

      Transparency around poings assignment must be increased dramatically, it should be visible who left the ratings (just as for “likes” now), the history on the reputation tab must be much longer, if possible powered by date selection criteria like in the “old SCN”. Powerful moderation tools are always welcome 🙂

      As long as ponits obviously represent a certain tangible value to many people, catching cheaters will be on the agenda, unfortunately.


      • One possibility is that someone rated your content, then changed their minds.  I’ve seen this before.  I’m going to try it again here as well for a test with Laure.  I’ve currently rated this a 4 star, and later today, after she tells me her point level, I’ll go give it a 1.  She will probably lose a point. 

        Ratings, you are correct, we currently can’t see who gave them.  I would also like to be able to see that.  It can be a request for 2013.


        • I think the “point earned just to see how they are taken away” syndrome is actually a bug. Several times I published a blog and a few minutes later my score fell 80 or more points. To me it looks like gaining points also triggers the rolling points algorithm and sometimes points are due to be expired.

          Not a big problem, as the points were going to expire during the next scheduled point calculation run, but leaves a somewhat bad impression. In the worst case people will think twice before contributing.

  • Laure,

    and I’m still trying to figure out why you may be losing one point when one of your answers just got marked as correct

    I noticed that, 12-month rolling points doesn’t get calculated every day (as it was happening in Old SCN).  As soon as point(s) get added, either by a “correct answer” or a “like”, it triggers a 12-month rollover period point calculation.

    I don’t think calculation is weird, but issue is the lack of transparency with 12-month rolling points calculation (again, which was available in old SCN).  

    Regards, Vinod

  • Thanks for quickly publishing this, Laure!

    I’m sure we will get feedback on the points expiration strategy.  Basically, ALL POINTS have a 1-year life span and expire 12 months after you publish. 

    We have considered linking Bronze – Platinum badges to the lifetime points (which never expire), but were concerned that people who become inactive could show as Platinum forever.

    We will be able, in 2013 to have both lifetime levels and rolling 12 month (or 6 month, or 60 day) points.

    Would appreciate your thoughts on this. – Jeanne

    • I think the rolling points are a good thing as it (aims to) reflect(s) the contribution level for a particular year. I also believe into the new system, which provides the community with more ‘power’ to rate good content. I especially like the new sharing buttons.

      As a humble blogger I’d say that I feel as follows:

      • a good comment is the biggest appreciation of them all, hey it even enriches the original content and make it more valuable
      • I love it when people share content as it eventually gives me more of an out-reach and attracts new developers
      • bookmarks are great sign of appreciated as well, as it indicates that people may want to come back and treat it as a reference
      • Stars are nice, but then they may just be from good buddies and as such may be the best indication of quality content, especially if it’s deep technical stuff that only few people can rightfully judge
      • Points… they mean very little to me

      Having said that… I think we are on the right track and the gamification ideas that I had a chance to glimpse at are very promising indeed!

      The only concern I see being raised these days is the following: we changed the ponits system w/o adjusting the contributor levels. With the new system it’s damn hard to get an equal standing as in previous years (given an equal contribution effort!) In the old system a blog would have been between 80-150 points. These days it’s just 10 plus whatever is added through likes and stars. However, it’s almost impossible to even come close to 80-150 points except for the likes of  Thorsten Franz or Graham Robinson.

      Now that results that a lot of people who contributed as much as in the previous years will drop in contributor level (except for Tammy Powlas) , which simply does not sound right.

      As stated else-where, people who used to be platinum contributors are not up for points and not for contributor levels. Still, many of them did put their level on their LinkedIn profiles or CVs and helped advertise SCN that way. So, for the outside world (which we want to attract to SCN, right?) it would look as if the contribution level was less in 2012, which is something that people may be concerned about (and they have a point IMHO!)

      “And that’s all I can say about that…” 😉

      • +1

        I don’t care about points, I do care about the contributor status gained. As this status comes with points, I have not much against the point system. But as you said, Matthias, the problem is: “w/o adjusting the contributor levels”

        The point difference between pre-new-SCN blogs/articles and what you gain today is actually the real problem why people are now starting to realize that points – and therefore – contributor levels are dropping.

        A good blog gave you 120 pts, an average one around 60 to 70. Meaning it was not really hard to gain the Active Contributor status: publish 2 or 3 blogs / articles, answer some questions and that’s it. A goal everybody was able to achieve without spending every single day in SCN.

        In the beginning of December I had platinum status (boy, really miss that one 😥 ) and a little bit more than 3.000 points. Now I am already down 1.000, and until April 2013 for sure I will lose another 1.500, making me bronze. And I won’t be surprised if throughout 2013 I even will lose the active contributor status.

        250 pts means 25 blogs or 25 “correct answer” gained in discussions. I am not anymore as active in the discussions as I used to be for simple reasons: time, and always answering the same kind of questions is exhaustive. So I am now focusing on blogs. There are blogs on SCN that I consult several times a year, and some date back to 2005. These kinds of blogs are rather technical, a collection of how to do it, sample code. The kind of content you are searching for during your daily work to solve problems.

        Technical blogs do not render a lot of points. They rarely help you to gain status. Hidden status by your readers? Sure. But visible? Some blogs need time to show their true value. A blog written about a product still in ramp-up: yes, it is a good idea that content can gain points all the time and not only when being published. Not everyone wants to wait years to see that the community values the content shared. This comes with a possible problem: the rise of rant blogs. The non-technical blogs, that gain a lot of audience in short time, push the status level of the author, and are forgotten 3 weeks after they were published and do not help a single SAP consultant in solving an urgent problem.

        Waiting to see with what Laure will come up. During TechEd LV I told Laure that after a certain level I do not pay much attention anymore if I just made it to the level or if I excel by all means. But that the level also should be achievable.

        Honestly, with the current established participation schemes the never really high number of platinum contributors will be seriously limited. I fear that rant blogs will dominate SCN and people will go to the SCN wiki and edit pages like crazy to gain 2pts each time.

        What else?

        I think content should from time to time be revisited by SAP PM and highlighted separately. If content was featured on SCN start page, this should also be made visible forever in the content. Attribute this to the author’s profile and this for sure will motivate people to contribute high quality content (look: SAP says my contribution is of high value).

          • Tobias, +1 this is a great idea!

            Audrey, it would be really valuable if this gets implemented. I keep a list of all features for all spaces that I edit/moderate. If that would help I can provide some input for testing and implementation.

            As of points, today for the first time I lost 170 after publishing 😆 Luckily I am not after points but makes me think wow I was not really active in 2012!

            Happy New Year Everyone!

            Cheers, Mariana

      • Wow, Matthias Steiner this was comment was a blog in itself

        Overall, I wouldn’t worry about points; contribute to help yourself…blog for yourself or post a document for yourself.  To me that is what counts.

        For sure it would be nice to have feedback, but if that doesn’t happen, I simply do it for myself.

  • Hey Laure,

    I’ve been agog  about the scheduled new game mechanics ever since we had the call some months ago. I do hope there will be more moderators and a consolidated amount of spaces to supervise that the new features won’t lead to “replication” of ‘ponit’-farmers  into mission and badge farmers once going live. What I fondly hope to get bottom line is a more representative reputation system which is more robust and sound/convincing than the current one (with the new features as ‘topping’ but not as a means of ‘whitewashing’ the current discrepancies).

    Concerning ‘pinots’: Up until now I only participate in this community within threads/discussions, so points I receive, to me, are a mere token of appreciation for my advice and the time I invested for my effort to help. I assign points to others in a respective way, for genuine effort, independant from whether it actually helped solving my particular problem.

    Aside from this fact, I value a simple feedback over points any time, so I do know whether my advice actually helped and in what way or whether I razed somebody’s production system to the ground with my “help”.

    Badges don’t really matter to me either since there is no genuine represenation of, well, anything. I can answer to a problem/discussion nobody besides me can solve and get ten points or I can create a blog, sing some canticles about any product being super-secial-awesome and receive 12k points and a platinum badge at the end of the day from people ‘linking’ and ‘rating’ my blog. So what does this pulp of 12010 points say then? Nothing.

    So… what really would matter to me would be a reputation system that really reflects in a transparent way what I provided the community with. Hard to achieve, hard to achieve indeed ;-P. The approach with missions and more detailed badges might actually solve this or at least seems like a good beginning to achieve this IMHO.

    Cheers, Lukas

  • Hi Laure,

    thanks for getting this blog out so fast – much appreciated!

    As I’ve been among those who got a bit of insights into the plans you got here I have to say I’m super excited to see this materializing!

    Keep up the great work!



  • Hi Laure

    The points balance is still wrong when looking at forum entries vs blog posts. I remember comments that the SCN team would wait and see what it gives over a longer period of time. Nothing changed really in my opinion. You need a huge amount of blog post contributions to get anywhere near active forum members in terms of points.

    It concerns me in the sense that we seem to have less new bloggers. The point system can be a real motivator, especially for beginners; Hopefully the gamification will bring a better balance;

    As for the rest, I agree with Matthias, I thrive on blog post comments, likes, bookmarks etc, even a short comment “nice blog” makes me happy as a blogger.

    Best regards


    • Hi Tom,

      Yes I agree it is time to look at point values and point levels, the situation can be seen as unfair. Also point limits are really needed and I am working on it.
      Thanks for commenting.


  • Hi Laure,

    Thanks a lot for looking into consideration …..

    Early  I also reported for missing points.. after the long journey, my true joy is only with helping others… never turn back to points, (might be lost interest in ponits)  🙂

    But for the beginners it is true that point system also one of the motivator. feedback comments also make more encouraging… and the new powerful networking of SCN build trust and would help to stay long time…

    Looking more best for new SCN..



    • Hi Ricardo,

      I like the suggestion! In general I’ve been thinking about adding stats about SCN members, such as “80% of  correct answers”, “most popular blogger in 2012” etc. Having stats and keeping track of achievemnents for the point status is also a good idea.

      I like such ideas, keep them coming!


  • What Jansi said is correct. Initially, I started contributing for points, eventually I have lost interest in points. I feel happy when some one gets solution with my answers.

    Nothing more………..Satisfaction is major motive to lead the life ahead…..

    I have it…………..Thanks to SCN



  • Hi everyone,

    Thank you for all the feedback to this blog, I wrote it quickly, it was something that I wanted to do in a long time… I never expected to be listed in Alvaro Tejada Galindo‘s best picks of 2012. Thank you Blag!

    Just wanted to update everyone on the current research I’m doing. I want to check how the point calculation is working and I have asked IT to check if everything is working well. I’m working with Scott Lawley to prioritize the ticket.

    Oliver Kohl told me that the calculation  happens via direct DB queries.

    I received information from Tobias Hofmann who gave me detailed information about when this happened, what exactly happened and how much points decreased. This is the type of information I need if you want me to report more cases to IT. Thanks!