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Topic Expertise on SCN – Updates to the SCN Topic Leader Contest

Whether you’re brand new to SCN or have been active here for a while already, you’re probably aware that the community is a great place to build reputation and earn recognition for expertise in SAP-related topics. SCN has a long-standing Reputation Program devoted to continually improving how topic expertise is acquired and showcased in the community.

An important part of that Reputation Program is the annual SCN Topic Leader contest. The contest is designed to highlight the most active experts in certain topics in the community. In past contest years, we’ve recognized top contributors in points categories and then topic spaces, we’ve listed their names in a blog, and sent them a certificate of achievement.  In some cases, when the opportunity arose at SAP TechEd && d-code, SCN Topic Leaders attending the event were acknowledged on stage.


Over the years, the contest has undergone changes as the community has changed, and this year we are making a few adjustments again.

In the 2012/2013 contest, as a way to keep the Topic Leaders list meaningful in light of the large number of topic spaces on SCN, we introduced a point threshold. That is, in addition to being one of the top three members in a topic space in terms of points earned in that space in 12 months, you had to get a certain minimum number of points in that space in the contest period to qualify as a Topic Leader.

This year we are continuing with that concept, but the point threshold has been adjusted—it is now set at 500 points.

The table below summarizes the changes to the Topic Leader contest this year:

2013 2014 Change
Contest period August 1, 2012 to July 31, 2013 August 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014 No change
Threshold of points 440 points within the contest period 500 points within the contest period New point threshold is applied to select active and meaningful areas of expertise (a space audit was conducted to determine the appropriate threshold)
Areas of expertise 107 spaces ~110 to be announced No change in approximate number of areas of expertise (topic spaces)
Topic Leaders Top 3 in each area (with minimum 440 points) Top 3 in each area (with minimum 500 points) No change. As was the case last year, in some areas there maybe be just 1 or 2 Topic Leaders meeting the “500 points minimum” criterion
Recognition activities
  • Blog
  • Acknowledgment of Achievement per email
  • SCN badge
  • On-stage recognition at SAP TechEd
  • Blog
  • Acknowledgment of Achievement per email
  • SCN badge

(Recognition at SAP TechEd && d-code still being determined)

No change, except recognition at SAP TechEd && d-code, which is still being defined (the event is changing, and so are aspects of it such as Topic Leader recognition)

Members whose point level is below the threshold in a topic will not be considered for recognition as Topic Leader. However, Topic Leader recognition is only one way that we recognize member achievement. Your contributions and engagement will still be recognized through earning missions and badges, and if you are among the top 10 members in a space points-wise in the past 12 months, your name will appear in the leaderboard for that space. These forms of recognition continue to be available year-round and are not tied to a particular contest period.

In last year’s program update blog post, my predecessor (Laure Cetin) included a neat little programmatic explanation for the logic of Topic Leader selection. I’ve updated the formula here to reflect this year’s criteria (thanks, Laure!):

If time frame >= 2013-08-01T00:00:00-08:00 and time frame <= 2014-07-31T23:59:59-08:00 and space ID==XY and user Z.point_total >=500 points and user Z.contribution_ranking in (1,2,3) then user Z=SCN Topic Leader in space XY.

In less techie terms: to qualify as a Topic Leader in a space, you must have earned more than 500 points in that space between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014, AND you must be one of the top 3 contributors in that topic space. (Note: points in sub-spaces do not roll up into their parent space. Each space is considered a separate entity.)

We will be announcing the Topic Leaders for the 2013/2014 contest in the next week, followed by send-out of the acknowledgement of achievement. We’re also planning ways to recognize SCN Topic Leaders again at the SAP TechEd && d-code events in the various locations. (Please note that as in past years SCN Topic Leaders are not eligible to receive a free pass to SAP TechEd && d-code.)

I look forward to sharing the list of Topic Leaders with you, and as always, we are interested in your feedback on the Reputation Program and the Topic Leader contest!

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  • Hi Audrey,

    Happy to see the announcements of criteria for topic leaders 2014.. 🙂

    But this year again the threshold of points has been increased to 500 points. In few spaces (for e.g.Portfolio & Project management space in Product life cycle management) getting 500 points is not so easy and in the past very few have achieved and moreover this is a niche area and the queries rate/year is far less than many other spaces.

    A flat criteria of 500 points, may make these spaces contributions fade away. I feel that there should be a different criteria for selecting topic leaders considering no.of posts,blogs per year and members in the community.

    It’s only my point of view, may be others can share their views on this..



    • Hello Ravi,

      While I understand your viewpoint, it’s important to remember that the Topic Leader recognition is not the only recognition given on SCN for valuable contributions. The levels (glass through diamond) also mean a lot, and many missions and badges (such as Storyteller, etc) recognize those who earn them regardless of which spaces they are active in.



      • Audrey Stevenson,

        I eco what Ravi E expressed, for areas falling into niche or new you cant assume to have 500 reach by any one or two, it sounds fine for core modules where every day you have 1000 issues posted and where forum members have achieve 5000 points easily in a year.

        the best criteria to judge a cut off point should be based upon community over all yearly activity and I am sure it differ from area to area.

        Such criteria may de-motivate people contributing in niche areas.

        Hope this suggestion would be consider.



        • Wouldn’t it be demotivating  for those who made 2000 points in a crowded forum  but did not make it among the first 3, to see others with maybe 150 points in a niche forum and get listed as topic leader?

          It can be seen in the overview page of the space  all year long  who is the topic leader, even in a small space.

          Some reach the limit in just 1 month, some by just posting one excellent document. What about those compared to others who contributed to 100 discussions  all year long?

          Everything has ups and down, clear borders as described cause less confusion.

          • Thanks for reply Jürgen L , I agree to an extent

            It can be seen in the overview page of the space  all year long  who is the topic leader, even in a small space.

            well then why not just a snap shot of this overview be consider, why to add a 500 figure into it ? 🙂


          • Actually 500 is very fair under current standards.   I think there were several years under the old system where it took 1000+ to be part of the top ten in CRM.  I even think I had few years where I had 2K+ per year overall and never reached the top three in the CRM area.

            SAP also used to have an old standard where 250 per year was the threshold for being active on SCN(under Mark Yolton).  If you look at things that way perhaps 500 per year is too low to be called a leader if 250 means active.

            Take care,


          • Everything has ups and down, clear borders as described cause less confusion.

            Completely agree with you. Additionally, it still all depends on the OPs whether they “rubarb the pinots” or simply don’t. There are threads where only help links are posted without any real dialogue and people get 25+ points out of it, while there are high quality discussions containing exclusive information and not a single point is assigned. Thus, it’s probably a bit narrow-minded only to talk about quantity here.

        • Juergen and Lukas have summarized the situation quite well in their comments here. Besides that, there is an additional reason we set a threshold: If we were to recognize the top 3 in all spaces without a threshold, we would wind up with over 1,000 Topic Leaders, and a list that long is simply not useful to the community overall.

          We are truly trying to strike a balance between the desire of members to be recognized (which is also done through ongoing recognition in leaderboards, mission achievement, level, etc) and value to other community members trying to gauge who are the ones with expertise.

  • In past contest years, we’ve recognized top contributors in points categories and then topic spaces, we’ve listed their names in a blog, and sent them a certificate of achievement.

    Errr.. has this been done for the 2013 period as well? Because I was topic leader last year but never got such a certificate, neither did I know you’re supposed to receive a certificate at all. 😕

          • Hi Lukas,

            Sean is no longer part of the SCN team, so no need to reach out to him.

            I believe that the emails with the acknowledgement of achievement were sent to the email address associated with the user profile at the time. So perhaps it went to an email inbox you no longer use?


          • Hi Audrey,

            I believe that the emails with the acknowledgement of achievement were sent to the email address associated with the user profile at the time. So perhaps it went to an email inbox you no longer use?

            is not my case, the company I work for has changed name so I changed the email but also the previous addresses are forwarded. I received the mail from Laure Cetin and continue to receive regularly, DM and all the mail related with the forums I follow but not the certificate of the last year.

          • Same goes for me –> same mail address for five years.

            @ Audrey, do you have a possibility to resend these certificates for people like Roberto and me in Sean’s stead? If not, nevermind.

        • I just receive the 20th of september this

          You have been mentioned

          by Laure Cetin in Announcing the SCN Topic Leaders 2012-2013 in SCN and nothing more.

          Now I noticed that inside was written

          You will soon receive an Acknowledgement of Achievement per e-mail and a new shiny badge on SCN. ”

  • Audrey Stevenson

    While it is okay with the current system that the Topic Leader should have earned 500 points, there are also forums like Internationalization and Unicode where predominently, queries are being posted on Country Version India and the number of posts are very minimal.  So take this into consideration achieving 500 within the stipulated period is not at all possible, I feel, as a token of appreciation, SCN can consider to include atleast the first Topic Leader if not two or three which will encourage others to participate in that forum.  If no recognition is given, then, members might loose interest and refrain from giving suggestions.

    Hope SCN can consider this point and arrive at a solution which will benefit the member.

    • That point of view surprises me, to be honest. If I contribute somewhere, I’m sharing my knowledge out of good will, though, with the ulterior motive of learning something new in the process of the discussion and not for “racing” on the leader board; plus, ultimately the recognition from the people whom you helped is worth a lot more than some formula-calculated ranking IMHO.

      If no recognition is given, then, members might loose interest and refrain from giving suggestions.

      I really think this is not going to happen.

      • I agree with you but the fact is only few members would fall in that category.  If everybody is interested in this voluntary service, then why lot of points gaming is being reported in Moderator forum.  The underline message to SCN is majority of members are giving suggestions only to get some recognition and if that is not going to happen, then I can stand by what I say.

        • True, I can’t argue against this. But then again, concerning those people who only contribute for points, I dare say their contributions can’t always be labled “high quality” and thus, who would miss them? Certainly not me.

          • concerning those people who only contribute for points

            Sorry you misunderstood my thoughts.  What I wanted to convey is people who give quality suggestions are not looking for points only but some recognition from SCN since indirectly these people only are helping SCN as they are doing free service.

            In fact, I would go one step further and say that if SCN would take the points system for blogs and threads, then the number of blogs being posted currently would be reduced drastically and the same goes for threads also.  This will indirectly affect the new members to learn more from SCN and again and again, they need to refer to existing blogs and threads.

            So here my argument is if SCN is not ready to give any recognition to a first Topic Leader, in a forum where earning 100 points itself is very difficult, what is wrong in keeping silent by a member who stood first in SCN ranking but not earned the stipulated points within the time frame.

          • Ah, sorry, now I understand what you are getting at. I understand and can sympathize with both points of views, your’s and Jürgen’s, though I guess they can’t coexist in the system technically ;-/