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Many years back when the CRM Web Client UI was a new product, and many if not all of us did not know how to effectively create extensions for the product, I got this great idea of creating a FAQ section in the SCN Wiki.  As a result of this effort it became a larger project to grow a new CRM wiki base of information that hopefully people would find useful.  Much time has passed and SCN has moved to a new platform that provides some new ways to share, collect and organize content.  As a result I thought it would be a good time to revisit the whole wiki FAQ concept and see if there is a way to do it better.

Why now?

I’m going to admit the reason why I’m looking at this now is personally motivated.  I have taken a year-off from super-active participation on SCN in order to write a book, run a half marathon and lose some weight.  Amazingly I accomplished all three, although some of the weight has come back(well goals can’t be perfect), but my goal was always to come back to the community in some fashion.  Once I was finished with the book(the weight loss is ongoing and I signed up for another 1/2 marathon), I knew personally the way I would need to particpate in the community would need to change.  Although I retained my moderator status, I don’t plan on being a “regular full-time enforcer”,  however I’m not going to ignore things that are blantantly against the rules of engagement.  Instead my moderator focus will be on helping this community curate and develop great quality content that will help us all solve our problems in a better fashion.

How should this work?

Let’s face it when you come to SCN to look for information or ask a question your goal is to solve your problem.  My goal will be to figure out ways to mine/find information so that it is easier to find and elevate the level of discussion to the really hard questions.  The goal is that for those of you new to the solution or haven’t done something before, you find some resources that can be used before asking your question.  This will allow you to focus your question on applying the knowledge rather than learing the basics.  A prime example was a recent question on how to create a dropdown in the Web Client UI, that’s the type of question that has been asked/documented several times.  It’s not that we can’t talk about those issues, but the focus should be less on the mechanics but how to apply those mechanics. 

How will this work?

The concept is quite simple and there are two options if you choose to participate

  1. Pay it forward through documents
  2. Pay it forward by “popping some tags”

If you choose to pay it forward through documents, then all you need to do is when you receive a useful solution, you should create a “document” and not a blog on the solution you received.  The document should be a summary of the work necessary to solve the problem and should contain code snippets etc.  Then when you are finished with it you should tag the document with crmpif for now.  Later down the road a master document organizing submissions by topic will be created.

For the “popping some tags” method when you receive an answer to a discussion and you would like it documented, then please add the tag crmpif to the discussion.  Myself any who wishes to join will make at least a weekly sweep of pay it forward content and try to convert at least one or two discussions into useful discussions.  During the conversion process we will attribute both the person posting the question and who solved the problem.  My goal in doing this is that we will provide an easy way for you to contribute content without needing to do all the work of formatting and bringing to others attention.

Quality over Quantity!

I just want to say when we start this up my target goal is one or two discussions converted to documents a week and that will be a success.  The reason for such a low volume, is that I want impact over sheer numbers.  The problem is we have way too much information so my goal is to expose those critical pieces of information buried under a pile of noise.  Ideally if every active member of CRM community made one contribution to this project this year by either tagging or creating a document that would be a success.  I have always been vocal advocate that each one of us sharing one small contribution when combined together is much better than one of us sharing everything. 

What’s the benefit to me?

Borrowing from Pedro: “Pay it Forward and all your wildest dreams will come true”.  Maybe not, but I think if you do participate you will help build an even better knowledge base than what was before.  For those looking for more formal rewards and recognition, all I can say is let those follow you instead of seeking those out.  You never know when random acts of kindness might follow your deeds 😉 .

Great when do we start?

Now!  As content is created and tag, keep watching for another blog that talks about how things will be organized and progress so far. If you have questions or feedback leave them in the comments below.

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6 Comments

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  1. Vinodkumar Kommineni

    Hi Stephen,

    Appreciate that you are taking lead for this activity of sharing quality knowledge. I would surely be in for it and I hope all the active members will also support the initiative as this is going to be more useful to the community in which we are also a part. Waiting for your next blog. By the way is June the final release date for your book 😉 ? Waiting for that as well.

    Regards

    Vinod

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    1. Stephen Johannes Post author

      My part is actually quite easy in terms of organizing it especially with the new platform tools 🙂 .  The hard part is creating those quality contributions.  We will see if I can meet my one per week goal, as I have a in-person presentation that I need to finish up the slide deck this week.

      On the book: it’s finished and right now should be in the process of being printed, etc.  I reviewed the final proof last month.  Perhaps I owe a quick personal blog on the writing process.

      Take care,

      Stephen

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  2. Former Member

    Hi,

    Good Initative, <ranting mode = on>let’s see if some people learn how to use the search button </ranting mode>. 🙂

    Looking forward to contribute!

    Luis

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  3. Former Member

    Hi Stephen,

    Of course I like the idea, but I’m afraid when you’re not going to Google your question before posting it on SDN, it is more likely that you won’t ever find this very useful blog… unless we create a mission to encourage people to read it? #SCNGamification.

    Also, I was hoping we could find an easier way to somehow “classify” discussion content without the need to create “duplicates”. Because with what you suggest, when searching for something on SCN, now instead of one result we will get at least two of them: the initial discussion, and the document that was created afterwards.

    What do you think about creating one FAQ document instead? I mean, if the solution provided in the discussion is clear enough (and I believe it is meant to be otherwise the discussion would never be closed), providing a link to it should be enough.

    Hence, I think #CRMFAQ would be a nice start. The biggest problem then is how do we organize content, i.e. categorize it. But the CRM wiki structure seems to be just fine… So the “ideal” solution to me would be the following:

    1) People tag useful content with #CRMFAQ

    2) We decide the name of the corresponding question in the FAQ document, for example “How to create dropdown list in WebUI”?

    3) We assign a more precise tag to the discussion, in this case #WebUI_Dropdown for example

    4) We can link our FAQ item (point 2) to a result list of the SCN search engine pointing to all discussions tagged with #WebUI_Dropdown.

    This way a discussion could be linked to multiple FAQ, and one FAQ could be answered via multiple questions (because there are always many ways to solve one problem)… But I’m not sure we can search by tags on SCN already, can we?

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents :=)

    Cheers,

    Nick.

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    1. Former Member

      Just noticed that only the discussion author can add tags (and maybe moderators too?)… and you cannot add tags once answers have been provided. Am I wrong? Because if I’m not, it’s definitely an issue.

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    2. Stephen Johannes Post author

      I thought that you could always tag your own content, thus the pay it forward concept.  I guess my moderator view of the world strikes again.  In terms of marking things as crmfaq that’s not a bad idea, however part of the problem is that sometimes the correct answer is not marked or you need to combine several different postings in a discussion to get an answer.  If we create new documents then everyone can edit those documents(like the wiki) so we can constantly update/correct the solution instead of just tagging.  You can search by tags, just have to know how to do it, which is a future blog/document for me to create.

      In terms of notice you are right, it’s not going to catch mass attention yet and trust me that’s not quite yet the goal as we can let things organically grow first.  We need to have a few more supporting documents/organization in place before pushing out the concept more.

      That being said let’s figure out what works best mechanically since the goal of what you suggested is the same as mine and I am personally not attached to any mechanism in achieving it, beyond just doing it 🙂 .

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