You (probably) landed here because you’re new to the SCN Community and you want to “do your homework” before you start your journey with us. You’re probably also interested to know what you can expect from the SCN Community as well as learn about common pitfalls, misunderstandings and birth pains so that you spare yourself some blood, sweat and tears.
Important note before you start with the following: I am known to be speaking the truth and to be exaggerating a bit (a lot). Please don’t feel offended by the fact that I am telling things directly without the magical powder that makes things look pink. Also don’t panic because it sounds like the sky is about to fall, that is common in my blogs (so I was told).
Many of the things I am going to say below are negative or can sound negative. I am discouraging from certain behavior and don’t want to paint things pink. The point is to inform you (warn you in case your situation is similar to the ones described) and not to offend you, ok? If you can stay positive, that would help a lot. In return I will do my best to word things nicely.
If the points below are not applicable in your situation -> good for you! In case they are (partly) relevant, I am trying to explain what to do and what not to do in order to become a recognized and valuable member of the SCN Community.
I will appreciate anyone’s feedback and will try to build the feedback into this text to make the thing better. If you say this text is not so useful, ok, fair feedback and I use it for the best. You should do the same. That is the SCN spirit.
What you should read first
Plagiarism: A moderator explains: the plagiarism rule and what is still allowed or The inevitable consequence of the democratization of content: plagiarism (do not forget to read the discussion)
What can happen and how to go about it (it happens so often…)
You have a problem for which you need a solution NOW. It is URGENT.
This Community is based on volunteers and good manners. It is impolite and against the rules to start running around shouting your problem is URGENT. If there is someone who can help you reading the SCN right now, he or she will probably chime in and save you. If not, shouting will not help, believe me. Only bad things can happen when you start running around shouting. Firstly you will alert the moderators. That is never good. They will not help you even if they know the answer because you’re acting against the rules and that is not tolerated or even encouraged (by helping the offenders). If you followed the rules, they might have given you the answer already. If you start other funny tricks like posting your question in multiple places, things will get even worse. Your posts will start to disappear and you will start receiving emails about your activity against the rules. In a short term, this is your warning. In a mid-term this is your last chance. You stop it, you’re saved. You carry on, your account gets deleted.
System reaction: Lock thread. Delete thread. Delete user account (for repeated offenders).
You want to boost your career selling the SCN knowledge.
This problem is often connected with the previous point. You sell yourself as an expert that you’re not and to deliver up to the expectations you “sell” what you find on SCN. Sooner or later we will find you (the SCN system with all the tools and reports will find you) and tell you not to ask interview or basic questions over and over again. Also consider the fact that the people you work with (like customer that pays for your work on the project) also come to SCN and can see your activity here. If you’re obviously milking the system although you have no clue and cause problems for the SCN Community as well for your customers, you will get punished.
It is ok to be new to SAP or new to the Community, but you must show some hard work and effort before you ask others to do your work. If you help people first, your chances of being helped will skyrocket, believe me.
Experienced people that would follow your posts on SCN would be able to tell if you’re cutting one problem into a series of “smaller questions” (“divide et impera”), what the problem is and what you’re trying to do. SCN is not a replacement for skill, knowledge and experience.
System reaction: Lock thread. Delete thread. Contact your employer. Delete user account.
You have very competitive friends, you work for a “funny” company or you measure your contributions by points accumulated.
It is very unfortunate but happens quite often that people exchange the helpful and positive atmosphere and good manners (and respect for the rules) for points and badges. Points system (and all the leaderboards etc.) as well as the badges are a way how to make the contribution process more fun as well as give one a chance to “give something” (give you points) without having to pay for your advice, your time and effort. If your incentive on SCN is to gather points no matter what, your account will get deleted sooner or later no matter what.
When you’re helpful, people will thank you with points. If not, you can think they’re lazy or impolite since they don’t give what costs them nothing in return for your contribution that cost you time and knowledge. But even then you shouldn’t ask for points. That is against the rules. Lead by example -> give points when you’re helped by a stranger and want to thank the person. Don’t beg for points, ok?
Boosting your points score by “alternative methods” is the worst idea you can get. Points are a way how to be polite and can “feel” like “something like money”. But you can’t buy anything with points. You can’t buy reputation with points (it is in my opinion a side effect that people with high reputation also have many points, but there are many many examples of knowledgeable people that are well known and respected who don’t have many points!).
It is something like with money and happiness. You can’t buy happiness with money. Following the same logic you can’t buy a reputation with points. Happy people (mostly) don’t starve from hunger (->have some money). The same way highly regarded people earned some points along the way (although there are many without points… it is about knowledge, manners and attitude, not points).
There are several things you shouldn’t try. The system is not stupid (actually the system is very fast and efficient) and you will bitterly regret it if you try:
- a) Create multiple accounts and ask and answer questions between these accounts.
- b) You don’t want to do the above with your friends either. There are ways how to identify “bonds that are too close”. You will all get “guestified”.
- c) You answer every possible question to harvest points faster. You literally answer “everything that moves”. One of the rules of the Community is that we don’t create noise (in fact we actively kill noise by reporting abuse on things that are FAQ, interview questions etc.) so we don’t answer questions that have been answered million times before. The person asking the question should also follow the rules and search before asking. If that is not the case, you should either hit the “abuse” button or politely tell the person that the question is already answered and move on. When someone hits the abuse button and the thread gets deleted by a moderator, all the points assigned in such threads are lost. If you waste your time by giving an answer but the thread is “noise” and gets deleted tomorrow, your time and points are lost. Rather spend your time on things that add value and make the world better.
- d) “Scratch my back, I will scratch yours”. Liking all your buddies’ content in exchange for them doing that the same with your content will send the content to Nirvana. And your friends. And you.
- e) There are ways of answering questions that are discouraged (and punished):
- Copying help.sap.com instead of linking it
- Copying someone else’s answer without linking it
- …and some other things that seem to be “low hanging fruit” for the “points’ hunters”. Remember the system is not stupid. We will find you…
System reaction: Delete thread. Delete user account.
You want to share something new and valuable (for you) but the feedback is not so positive.
You’ve gathered enough courage to post your first post. You’re happy about it, proud about it and you see it as a first step in a long term fruitful Community participation. But then something goes wrong and someone (probably an “arrogant” moderator) suggests/ recommends change/ improvements in order to make your contribution better/ compliant with the rules or (this can also happen!) make the piece useful.
If you’re told what you say is wrong, read the next point. If you’re told that your piece is plagiarized, you better fix that fast -> this is a serious crime on SCN which is punished with daffodils daisies (credits: Matthew Billingham, ). If you’re told the level of contributions is too basic, you’re missing references, you stopped half way etc. read on here.
Intermezzo: A real life example of this problem triggered this whole blog. So I will try to be as detailed as possible here and hopefully guide as many confused newcomers as possible. It is not your fault that what you see as super cool new stuff is actually something that has been asked many times before (and also answered without many nuances) and so is considered common knowledge on SCN. But it can become your problem when you don’t see how the Community perceives it and don’t try to “play along”. This is not a group of elitists how some angry newcomers see it. We don’t offend anyone, we don’t protect our territory, we don’t want to chase you away. Nothing like that. But we do protect the atmosphere, the quality of the content and the cooperative spirit of the Community here. If you feel “the whole world is against you”, consider playing by the rules that are much older than your first appearance on SCN.
You want to participate in the forums and your opinion or provided solution is… simply wrong.
How you feel about: You can feel offended by the fact that you’re told you’re wrong. It is very rare here that you’re told you’re wrong but you’re actually correct. Many smart people stick around. In case you want to have a “discussion” about the situation, I can recommend the following:
- a) Double-check with Google that there are other people saying what you’re saying. Unless your idea is a total breakthrough (sorry, pal, this is very unlikely), there must be people and evidence already available in the internet that support your claim. Link these ideas to the discussion.
- b) Do a background check on the person that says you’re wrong. Is that person a respected member of the community? Is he or she posting on SCN often? Is the person a moderator? The fact that someone is a moderator or a respected long-time member of the community alone does not guarantee he or she is always right. Many people (moderators and others too) have watch dogs on their favorite forums or topics so they are informed about everything that is posted/ happens in their field of expertize. They probably see things touching your problem time to time. So please consider the statistics -> the probability that they know what you’re saying is high and they probably encountered the same problem before -> the numbers are against you here.
- c) Everything seems to be against you, but you think you’re still right? Stay calm. Post all sources that support your claim and ask the other participants in the discussion to point out where the problem is. In a civilized discussion one of the people talking finds a flaw in his/ her thinking and the problem sort out itself in a nice way. It is not a crime or a shame to say “I was wrong” or “I didn’t consider this”.
System reaction: Your fellow Community members will give you pointers what you should do. If the problem is serious and you ignore the feedback, your contributions will be changed or removed by the moderator. Repeated offenders are banned.
Your points’ number is not rising despite your desperate effort, the number is even falling!
In case of a problematic behavior the problematic pieces of content are removed. That also removes the points you received for that content. If that happens, running around complaining about the moderators or starting offensive threads against the moderators’ actions is the worst idea you can get. The best idea is to count to ten, start breathing slowly and ask yourself what the problem could be. You are smart, I am sure of that. You will figure that out. In the long run it will mean that you will get credits and build up reputation (for doing things right) instead of being shot in a leg at the very beginning of your journey for playing unfair.
If you made it here, congratulations and thank you for your attention and collaboration. May you have wonderful time with us on SCN and may you become a respected member of the Community.