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Overcoming the “moderation trap”

So, you’re posting questions, or perhaps even answers, on SCN but it’s taking a lot time before they actually get posted.  In the case of answers, you aren’t getting credit for your good answers because by the time your post appears, somebody else has already provided the same answer.  But until somebody rates your answer as correct or helpful, you’re not getting the points you need to avoid being moderated.  What to do?

What the moderation system is attempting to do is confirm that you’re a ‘real’ person, not a spammer trying to hack the system.  So, the key is to do something that helps convince the moderation system that you’re real.  And the key to that is the SCN Gamification Missions.  Quite a number of the missions don’t require you do something that requires moderation, so you can earn them almost immediately.  Once you do, you’ll be establishing enough reputation with the system that it will start treating you like a real person.

The “I Was Here” mission you should have just because you logged in.  So we’ll skip that one and look at 4 others that can earn you 20 reputation points rapidly and what you need to do to obtain them.

First Steps

  • Like some content
  • Rate some content
  • Bookmark some content

Ready (Set Go)

  • Change or add another picture.
  • Add an avatar

Ready Set (Go)

Ready Set Go

  • Do the prior mission first
  • Follow 3 people
  • Like a blog post
  • Comment on a blog post or document (this one step does require moderation)
  • Create 2 status updates

Note that you also need to read the SCN rules of engagement (first link above) before you would start getting credit towards a mission for blog posts, correct answers or documents.

Let’s look at the first mission.  Find a blog post that you like, and you’ll find the Like and Bookmark options on the right side of the page near the top of the post.


The Rate option appears at the bottom of the original blog post:


That’s the first mission down!

Note at any time, you can go to your profile, go to the Reputation tab, and the Missions link on that tab to see how you’re doing towards earning various missions.  If you hover the mouse over a mission, a gear will appear in the lower right corner of the mission.  Click that, and it will show you the specific steps needed to earn it, and which you’ve already completed.


While you’re at your profile, you can work on the second mission.  On the Bio tab, find the “Change Photo and Avatar” link on the right side of the page.


Note that you can only have one custom avatar.  If you’re already loaded one you’ll have to delete it and then re-add one in order to get credit towards the mission.

OK, two down.  The third one is easy.  Just go read those two documents that are linked above.

Three down, one to go.  To follow somebody you can click on their name so that it brings up their profile and then select the Follow option.  Note that you won’t get credit for this mission for people you were following before you started trying to earn it.  You might unfollow some people you’re currently following and then follow them again to earn the mission if you don’t want to add anybody new.


If you liked a blog post to get the first mission, you should be set already for this mission.  Otherwise, find a blog you like and “like” it as you did for that earlier mission.

Comment on the blog post as well (something meaningful please).  That’s the only thing you’re doing so far that requires moderation before you get credit for it.

Finally, you need to do some status updates.  It’s not quite obvious where you do that.  There are a couple of options.  First, you could click the Create button at the top right hand corner of the site and then the Status Update option in the menu that appears. See the following image:


The second is to click the “Activity” button, also in the top right corner of the site.  That will bring up your “Activity” page.  There is a single line edit field there that displays a “What’s going on?” prompt.  You can enter your status there as well.


It’s also not entirely obvious where they show up, but they do show up on your profile page and your badge.


Speaking of your badge, now that you’ve completed a few missions select three of them to display in the “Me In Three” section of your badge.  You do that by hovering over the missions you’ve completed in the Reputation tab in your profile.


Congratulations…  Once your blog comment is approved you should be 20 points and 4 missions closer to escaping the “moderation trap”.

Comments are closed.
  • A clearly written guide, complete with an assortment of pictures  with circles and arrows and a paragraph on each one explaining how it is to be used!  I like it.

  • Cheers Bruce, perhaps they should have a vote for this being a “real” person option. Get 10 votes and you in 😉

    To be honest, it not vital to me. I contribute, if it helps then fine….

  • Seriously, Bruce! This is way too complicated. No other support forum I know is anything like this.

    How about adding SAP just adding a Captcha to stop submissions by robots, and doing after-the-fact (instead of prior) moderation to stop spammers? (Some forums have a “Report as SPAM” button that any logged-in user can click, which I suspect is helpful.)

  • Bruce, 

    I hope I was not out of line, but I fixed a word “a” which I think you meant to be “at” and added a few commas for readability – minor stuff for a really great post, but I do appear as an editor so I wanted you to know.


    • Not at all.  Thanks!  It was written in a bit of a flurry.

      You also helped me understand what the difference between a blog post and a document is.  Now I finally get it.  A document is more like a wiki page.

  • Hello Bruce,

    nice one! 🙂

    Maybe you could add for the status update-stuff, that you can also update it easily at the top of the “What Matters: Activity”-page, since a lot of people seem to mistake the input-field there for the search field.

    Killing two birds with one stone. (Is that the correct proverb? In my country we kill flies with something else… 😀 ).

    I would have put a screenshot in here (already took it, too), but it looks like you just can add videos but not images in comments, the button is disabled for me. 😕



    • I would have put a screenshot in here (already took it, too), but it looks like you just can add videos but not images in comments, the button is disabled for me

      I’m seeing the same behavior, both in blogs and documents.  I know I’ve been able to add them in discussions.  They do have a bug report listed in the list of know bugs on SCN that might account for this in the SCN Bug Reporting area.  There’s no link to a discussion though as there are for others, so I can’t confirm they’re talking about the same issue:

      COMM-1360 Inconsistent Image Upload Capability For Community Members In Blogs/Documents/Discussions
    • Maybe you could add for the status update-stuff, that you can also update it easily at the top of the “What Matters: Activity”-page, since a lot of people seem to mistake the input-field there for the search field

      Added.  Thanks for the tip.

      FYI, you could have added it as well.  This is a document rather than a blog post, which means that – depending on what collaboratin options are set – members of the community can update it.  I’ve left it at the default setting, which allows anybody to edit it.

  • Quite frankly I find the ‘moderation trap’ to be ridiculous. This is 2013 there are better ways to eliminate spam than send users on a ludicrous ‘treasure hunt’ to get support. 

  • Being new in this community I was pretty sure there are other people frustrated by moderators and moderation. Just didn’t realize until now that there was a formal document for it. 🙂

    Thanks, this is good stuff.

    warm regards,


    • Sudhir: i had actually added my comments for this doc before, but I just wanted to add I actually overcame “moderation trap” by just following this doc step by step. I created documents from my some old threads, read some blogs that interested me and then added my comments to help with the topic being discussed, kept an eye on discussions taking place and contributed whenever I could, besides some admin stuff the doc lists.and that was pretty much it 

  • Even though the guide is excellent as I believe all admit, I still have two questions if someone could answer. 😳

    The first is what is a “Status Update” ?

    And second, why “likes” in blog posts may not account in “Ready Set Go” mission completion ?

    Thanks in advance

    • The first is what is a “Status Update” ?

      I point those out about half way through the document.  They’re like an update in Facebook or Twitter.  Just a short description of something you’re currently doing.  The location to edit them and view them is non-intuitive though.  The document does show you where though.

      And second, why “likes” in blog posts may not account in “Ready Set Go” mission completion ?

      Make sure that it’s actually a “blog post” and not a “document”,  This article is a “document”, and liking it won’t get you credit towards a badge that requires that you like a “blog post”.

      If you’re sure it’s a “blog post” and you’re still not getting credit, you might want to report it over in the SCN Bug Reporting area.

  • Hello Steffi and Bruce

    Thank you both for your instant answers.

    I am going to report to SCN Bug Reporting even though in a previously reported problem I have not found a solution.

    Thanks again

    • Hello Konstantinos,

      I am a member of the SCN gamification team that designed the missions (along with Laure Cetin and Sean Yang), and the answer is a mixture of platform limitations and our intention for the mission.

      The platform limitation is that we currently cannot track the action “Like a good blog post OR a good document”. We can only track the actions separately, i.e. “Like a good blog post” is one action we can track, and “Like a good document” is another action we can track. (In contrast, in the case of comments, we ARE able to track the action “Comment on a blog post OR a document”).

      So this is where mission design then comes into play. The overall goal of this mission is for members who are new in the community to learn how to perform simple engagement and feedback activities. For that specific requirement in the Ready, Set, Go! mission, the goal is to introduce people to the idea of Liking a piece of content, and if you learn how to add a Like on a blog post you will understand how to add a Like on a document.

      We could just as easily have made the requirement be “Like a good document”, but we chose to go with Liking a blog post. Alternatively, we could have included both requirements in the mission, but why add an extra requirement that isn’t really needed to achieve the goal of the mission?

      I hope this helps explain why the mission requirements are the way they are in Ready, Set Go! No need for a report in the SCN Bug Reporting space.

      Have fun completing more missions!  🙂


      • Audrey, what I don’t understand is why SAP has chosen to make it so difficult for us to get our posts or comments through this “moderation trap”. You mention “gamification”, but it’s not as if this is a FUN game – it’s just a needless use of a significant amount of our time, IMHO.

        I posted a comment about this a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that no other software vendor I know of makes this so difficult, and also with some specific alternate suggestions:

        How about SAP just adding a Captcha to stop submissions by robots, and doing after-the-fact (instead of prior) moderation to stop spammers? (Some forums have a “Report as SPAM” button that any logged-in user can click, which I suspect is helpful.)

        If part of the problem is just that SAP isn’t willing to devote enough staff time to do moderation (without making us jump through so many hoops) wouldn’t the “crowd sourced” moderation suggested in the previous paragraph help significantly cut that down?

        • How about SAP just adding a Captcha to stop submissions by robots, and doing after-the-fact (instead of prior) moderation to stop spammers? (Some forums have a “Report as SPAM” button that any logged-in user can click, which I suspect is helpful.)

          The SAP Mentors (including myself) had a webinar with some of the folks that run the site on a different topic, but this issue came up.  They indicated that the problem is that this is coming from a large group of real people, not a robot.  So they would simply fill out the CAPTCHA and keep spamming.

          I use the Jive mobile app on my iPad to access SCN, and it gets push notifications from 7 public spaces here on SCN that I follow.  The notifications come in even though the content is being moderated.  And what I can see from just those 7 spaces is that the spam comes in waves of 100 to 200 messages a night.  I can only imagine what it’s like across the entire community.  That’s not something that is going to be manageable via after-the-fact moderation.

      • Hello Audrey

        My problem is not actually with how the missions are designed or which are the steps included in completing a mission. I find that very nice and I would like to congratulate all of you participating in this design. However, I believe the problem is that even though someone might complete the tasks of a mission the system does not give him credit for that. As if it does not recognize it. And there are many cases I noticed “buggy” behavior, from preferences not to receive email notifications ignored, likes not being credited and comments shown as moderated being vanished without any notification. If such problems where solved it would save us a lot of time and frustration and allow us to enjoy and have fun with the whole “gamification” concept while helping us on the same time to give solutions to problems posted  or to find solutions on our problems.



        • I think the topic here is pre-moderation, which was introduced due to spam attacks. I agree that it must be very frustrating to have to wait for a post to be published, especially in the discussion forums where you usually eagerly wait for an answer to your problem before you can continue with your work.

          Gamification is not the reason why we have pre-moderation, it’s actually just a tool to palce people in or out of pre-moderation. In the end it’s the same for you because you have the same problem regardless, but I don’t think Audrey or I can comment on the security of the platform, the registration process, using CAPTCHAS or phone number verification like Google does. This is not something we decide on and things are not simple it seems.

          As for glitches in the system, there are some, yes. If you encounter a glitch and think you didn’t get the points for a like, or something, or you didn’t get the badge you deserved, just report this in the SCN Bug Reporting space and we can investigate. Keep in mind that most of the time people thought they were missing points, it’s because they didn’t know that when points are removed/an action is undone it is not tracked in the point history of the profile reputation tab.


      • Follow these steps.

        1.Delete your avatar (Not your pictures but your avatar of which there is only one you can  upload or delete).

        2. Add it back. Bingo!

        That should get the first battery stage lit.

        To get the rest follow Bruce’s instructions.

        Good Luck!

      • Kons (sorry for shortening it) Actually all you have to do is follow Bruce’s doc step by step (he wrote a pretty easy to follow doc) and you will be on your way out of this trap. Now that you have created the avatar just simply read two docs Bruce has listed under:

        Ready Set (Go)

        section, read these two docs and comment on them if you have something to add and that should bring you closer.

  • I have been using SAP 15+ years. SDN was mildly useful but now SCN is dreadful. Very hard to find anything and they change it around all the time. Way to kill the service guys!

    • Can’t really speak to that, as SCN is all I’ve known.  I’m just trying to help folks deal with the situation as it is.  You might take up your concerns with the site with the folks over in SCN Support.  They are the ones that are more likely able to do something that would make the site easier to use.

  • Hello Bruce,

                         Very nice blog, and moreover it helped me gain more points, very useful tips. I would also like to advice new SCN joiners , which I did by my self and found effective. Actually I earned the trust of the moderation system quite earlier and after that I read this post and thought to share my experience. If you have enough expertise, try to join very new discussion/post(just posted). Give your suggestions/answers first before anyone has participated into it. It is likely your answers will be followed first.



  • Wow, this is some awesome stuff Bruce.  I will make a point to perform some of the actions you suggest so that the site begins to believe that I’m a sensible human.  🙂

    Maybe we can enlist the NSA and use their database to determine who is worthy of posting without moderation. 😉

  • Thanks bruce,

    it is important these tools to create real added value. You know how I can distinguish my articles so that they are marked in Spanish.

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