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Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano

Fishing vs Hunting

Sometimes I feel the rare urge to share my (little) knowledge around here. I did it few times, and all them ended the same way: tired of feeling leeched, I moved away until my next “it’s-Christmas-Time” travel to Timewasteland.

The old times’ mistakes are still here. With a brighter and better look (and bulkier navigation), with a “gamification” of your “reputation”… but the same bunch of lazy leechers and point-hunters roaming around.

Let me clear it: I like freshers. You can learn a lot from freshers: they have no prejudices, and their doubts could lead you to learn new things. But when a fresher doesn’t make any effort to solve his own questions, he becomes a leecher.

And I like to have a way to stablish someone’s reputation. But when the reputation system can be tricked too easy, all the system fails.

Let me try to explain it with a fictional sample pairs:

Fresher post: after some search, I reach MARA table where the materials are stored, but I need to find their descriptions. Can you lend me a hand, please?

Leecher post: how can I find the material description in my ABAP program? Code sample will be appreciated.

“Normal” User: check table MAKT.

Tutor wannabe: did you tried to use the “where-used” button with the MATNR data element? (and a small explanation about how to do it). I will recommend BAPI*MAT*GET* (the true one, if able) function module. If you need to retrieve more material details, will be better to use this kind of functions.

Point-Hunter 1: dear, use table MAKT, check this code (and a full report of ABAP no one cares for)

Point-Hunter 2 (ten minutes later): you can find them in table MAKT (and another code sample)

Point-Hunter 3: (fourteen minutes later): hey, materials’ description are in table MAKT (and a little SQL)

(we are lucky: none of the hunters put a wrong answer to the question… I’ve seen DANGEROUS answers from people with zillion points)

Few minutes later, one of the point-hunters will have his prize: a “new correct answer” tag, probably other users will have the “helpful question” one and, if we are lucky, the thread will be tagged as solved and will have a chance to rest in peace.

There is something wrong in the forum software that sorts the answers with a weird criteria. I’m sure everybody has noticed it, and maybe some point-hunter deducted how the system does and (ab)uses of this weird behaviour.

SCN should be a place to learn. A site where you receive lessons about how to fish for your answers, and not a place to hunt for points.

But while hunting will be more often than fishing here, things will continue been wrong, and to search this place for solutions will be a hard task.

I will continue been around for a while, but each time I spend less time “helping” and I fear soon I will start another of my “seeyouSCN” periods.

Have a good time,


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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Nice fictional samples.

      I first read the term leecher in relation to bittorrent software. Didn't quite think that same term can be applied here too.

      I would like to see an example of a forum answer sorted by weird criteria.

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      Check this thread. The answers timeline, as I can see there is:

      - Govind Battul at 2:26PM

      - Ramkumar r at 2:26PM

      - Shankarnarayan K at 2:25PM

      - vamsi krishna at 2:25PM

      - V. Lozano at 2:15PM

      I noticed it because when I join a thread and I see there a correct answer or a near-to-solution hint, I usually left the thread as it is. I'm pretty sure I was the first one who posted a reply there and, as I use to do, I refreshed the browser before to do it to prevent a useless repeated answer.

      I don't know why it happens, I can only think the system has some kind of buffer, and when you press the "reply" button, it saves you a placeholder. I noticed that behaviour more times, and I think it can be exploited to post "first helpful answers" when someone has posted a true first helpful answer. Luckily you can see the timestamp of the reply, but it's sad; it made me think more than twice I was posting useless repeated messages.

      Author's profile photo Craig S
      Craig S

      yeah.. that's odd.. It looks like to me like you were the first person to reply yet your message is showing in the middle of the postings with later postings both before and after yours.  I can't say I've seen that with my postings.

      I do kind of have an issue with what I call "piling on".  A decent answer is provided but five more people have to post basically the same answer.  I guess they are all hoping they get helpful answers.  If I see a question with some good replies, I will normally leave it alone unless I see some error in a response or I feel I'm adding a viable, or better, alternative solution.


      Author's profile photo Jürgen Lins
      Jürgen Lins

      This timing is unfortunately caused by pre-moderation. And I believe it has happened in the sequence like shown now.

      All poster listed at 2:25 and 2:26  are freshers who are pre-moderated, their answer stays in a queue until the moderator approves it. So they appear later than your answer, but have actually been done earlier.

      You can't see those "existing" answers as you are not a moderator, actually nobody could see the answer of someone else when they entered their reply because all are under pre-moderation.

      This is certainly the bad side of pre-moderation.

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      I didn't know about that pre-moderation thing... And now I'm not sure if I like it, really. It makes me waste my time (sorry if I sound rude) answering questions that maybe someone has answered before, but I cannot see it.

      I know SCN is a company-owned community, and it means their rules must be softened to appeal the mass of users, but someone must draw a line.

      I reported a message from a fresher who was literally asking somone to write code for him (you must remember it, becasue he was asking you to do the code, Jürgen). The moderator team thought it was not a wrong thing.

      I will not discuss moderators' decisions, because I want not to do their job, they do enough effort here to have to read my rants, but maybe this behaviour (direct ask others to do your work) should be banned from here.

      There are other places where "elders" make fun of those leechers. They will lose users faster, but the average quality of the users maybe it's a bit higher.

      Who knows... I will stay around for a while, but will "waste" less time trying to answer freshers and will invest my time reading interesting threads or blogs.

      Author's profile photo Jürgen Lins
      Jürgen Lins

      I remember this discussion, for sure,

      actually I think the moderator had taken some action, the discussion got unmarked as question, so nobody can earn any points for helpful or correct answers.

      I know this other forum where people make fun about newbie questions, I hope we will not see the same here. And this other forum had the same kind of poor and redundant questions and redundand answers at the time it was crowded, before SCN became that popular.

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      In the other forum we don't make fun about newbie questions but about idiotic leeching petitions. The same nickname was used to ask the same question and we tried to answer until the OP asked one of us to do his work. Then we (in this particular case, I did it) started to make fun of it.

      It has the same poor and redundant questions, but at least the regulars have the chance to make fun when someone shows a lack of manners or effort. I can understand SAP cannot allow the same behaviour here, but it's a way to release the pressure. And we don't make fun about fresh questions but idiotic attitudes. As here, we spend our time trying to help people to learn about SAP, but not making their work.

      And at least, when we see one of the regulars (been less people, we know better who can lend a hand) taking over a question, the rest of us stay "a part" and learn from them. Of course, we add some jokes to the thread if able, but the informatio uses to be right, and we had no complaints about the jokes.

      And about to be less crowded, I don't think it's a bad thing... it helps to filter people. Do not misunderstand me: there you are allowed to ask anything, and everybody will try to help you, while you don't try to leech.

      Author's profile photo Eduardo Rezende
      Eduardo Rezende

      Good points and examples but as a moderator I agree with Jürgen L about the pre-moderation.

      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      Thanks to Jason Lax for seeing this conversation here and pointing me to it.

      Whenever a community member with a keen eye, sharp wit and valid opinions says "see you SCN" I'm all ears.  So Vic, I'm listening and thinking....

      Having been around here for almost 10 years  I can assure you that the behaviors we all deplore are nothing new.  In fact despite increasing volumes of FAQs, explanding bodies of existing knowledge, better search engines, faster response times from post to first reply, an excellent, impressive and huge body of moderators, those who tend to "leech" rather than teach still continue to practice....well....leeching from others.

      But I have a slightly contrarian view.  If everyone were the same here it wouldn't be interesting.  I've lived in intentional communities.  There are, were and will always be the "grasshoppers" who some call the parasites as contrasted to the ants.

      Not sure I would have enjoyed working on an ant farm exclusively.

      Enjoy the Aesop fable in animated format... 😈

      [embed width="425" height="350"][/embed]

      Author's profile photo Benedict Venmani Felix
      Benedict Venmani Felix

      hi Lozano,

      I agree with you that it is best not to answer a already answered thread if we dont have anything new to add. But it is not always 'point-hunters'. Sometimes it just makes you feel good to give a good answer and someone thanks you for that. Even if it were'nt for the point system I sure a lot of people would jump in to help.

      On the downside, for the point-hunters, as SCN grows points will be more hard to come by and they would go to any means to get a few points.

      Hope we dont see a "seeyouSCN" post from you.


      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      Check this thread ... someone posts a very fresher question. You can see the timestamps of the answers: the first three are:

      - a good answer: it fills the need of the OP, and gives a hint about how to find it

      - someone asking for more information about the question

      - another good answer, the right information and another way to find it

      All marked as Helpful... Ok, I will not discuss the OP's criteria

      FIVE HOURS LATER another answer reaches the thread. It's marked as the Correct answer, although it points to the same information the first answer did.

      (I will not point to the fact he says ALL SAP TRANSACTIONS SAVE WITH 'BU' COMMAND... does he know each SAP transaction? Amazing!)

      Later I tried to add one of my (yes, I'm a bit pedant) "fishing lessons".

      I just received a notification because someone decided to post the same "correct answer"... TWO DAYS LATER

      I suppose the OP marked as "correct" the last answer he saw, because I want not to think about some sort of scam. But it's sad to see things like this: Frédéric Girord put an effort, gave the right answer and added useful information to teach the OP how to fish. Someone decided four hours later to re-post the answer adding a dangerous "fact" that can make the OP to crash something if that "fact" is not true (and a single standard SAP transaction doesn't use BU to save but to delete, to think weird). Both things, in my not-so-humble opinion are wrong: repeat an answer and provide a fact you cannot prove nor be sure of. BUT he get the points he was hunting for.