Update About the Development of Priority Features
A month or so ago, Oliver Kohl shared the roadmap for the new community. The team has also been publishing release notes twice a month — outlining bug fixes and feature development resulting from our team’s biweekly sprint cycle.
Beyond that and some public one-on-one interactions with individual community members…we haven’t told you much about what’s arrived or what’s coming. This will change, and moving forward, we plan to promote the release notes more prominently and highlight key achievements in the community itself.
We want to show you how your feedback is guiding what we do.
And what we will do.
In the coming weeks, we will share a more detailed version of the roadmap, and we will update regularly to give you better insight into our plans.
For now, I wanted to inform you that — based on your ideas and input — we have made the following new features the highest priority. While I don’t have details for all development timelines (the forthcoming roadmap should have more specifics), I wanted you to know what is getting the most focus:
- Improved tagging experience: The new community depends upon tagging to serve up content, and getting these tags has been a chore for you. As a short-term solution, we published an Excel spreadsheet and community members have shared their own approaches for working with tags. Looking toward the long term, we are working on a tag browser for finding content across the entire platform, and also adding functionality to make it easier to choose the appropriate tags when creating content (such as suggesting tags based on content context and user history).
- E-mail notifications: This is one of the features requested most. We will roll this functionality out — and improve it– incrementally. In the first phase, members will have the option of receiving (or not opting in for) general e-mail notifications. We’ll deliver this by December. As next steps, we will make sure that the e-mail notifications give specific details about what has happened, and you’ll be able to personalize what you receive.
- Easier activity stream: More like an activity river, amirite? The activity stream works — at delivering everything. If you’re following content, people, and/or tags, your activity stream is probably overflowing. Sifting through all those updates is painful, and it’s not even clear which items have been read. That’s why we are working on a grouping approach that condenses activities. (For example, in the current setup, if you’re following a post, and that post gets 10 likes, you get 10 items — one for each like. With grouping, you’d get only one single item in the activity stream for the 10 likes.) We’re also looking to overhaul the overall activity experience, with more information provided for each activity and functionality that shows which items you’ve already clicked on.
- Intuitive Q&A experience: What’s an answer? What’s a comment? Members have made it clear that the answer to answers is questionable. We revised the Q&A resource page to give a bit more explanation, and we’re planning on a Tip in a Minute training video on the topic — but the important thing is that we’re working on delivering a more intuitive Q&A experience for users. We are gathering input — and we even shared some proposals at SAP TechEd Barcelona to get real-time feedback from our members.
- Clearer navigation: Speaking of an intuitive experience (or a lack of one)… Don’t you just hate it when you’re having trouble finding content, and then you think you found it, and you head into the archive (if you’re lucky, because this content isn’t tagged), aaaannnddd…you hit a dead end? Of course you do — as well you should. Our experts in user experience are putting their heads together to come up with improvements for content discovery.
- More powerful search: Community discussion about more useful search is as hot as…uh…the “hottest” questions filtered in search. Right now, you have a variety ways to filter search results — content types, answered and unanswered questions, relevance, popularity. You know…the basic stuff. But that’s not enough, and we’re working on more filtering options — such as the ability to filter results by tags.
As always we want you to continue to provide input that helps guide our efforts. Report bugs with the Using SAP.com tag as outlined in this post. Offer — and vote on — suggestions in our Idea Place.
We can’t do it all, and what we can do can’t be done overnight, but we are listening and working behind the scenes. As Gali Kling Schneider reiterated at SAP TechEd Barcelona: We want to build this community with you.
+1 for the Tag browser.
on Activity stream - why is filtering by tags not mentioned ?
Filtering by tags is in scope of the Activity Grouping Epic. We are starting with grouping smaller repeated activities inundating the stream now (such as likes, votes, comments). This method will be extended to include groups with primary tags and people as well. When that is available, we can then implement those as filters (in addition to the filters we already have). I apologize as the description for Activity Stream features here did not mention that.
I think many would agree that filtering by tags you are subscribed to is the most important missing functionality in activity stream.
Good point Denis! That is exactly what we expect to achieve as an outcome of Epic 1 for the Activity Stream. Epic 2 will focus more on UI issues. We will continue working on both topics side-by-side in an agile fashion with IT and other teams as we would like to take full advantage of our current resources. I hope that you will be patient while we work out the details in our roadmap and roll these features out in regular sprint cycles.
Thanks for this post. Such transparency on what is coming is long overdue and much appreciated.
Regarding email notification, whilst many do want to have such emails, there are some like me who DO NOT want any SCN notification in my email at all.
As such, when this functionality is delivered in December, I hope this can done in a clever way so that it doesn't cause those of us who do not want them to suddenly be flooded by emails.
Some ideas are - either specifically OPTING IN (instead of having to opt out), or redirecting the user to the preference page upon login to update the choices.
it will be opt-in. We won't swamp you with emails on purpose.
Opt-in is great! Thanks for the confirmation.
My phrasing was misleading (“opt out”). As Oliver mentions, you’ll have to opt in — so you shouldn’t receive e-mail notifications by default. I’ve revised that paragraph a bit to make things clearer.
Why do you not just re-introduce the list of forums - like in the old days? ABAP-related questions would be in the "ABAP forum", UI5-related questions in the "UI5 forum", and so on. This whole new system of tags (more or less intuitive) is just causing a lack of clarity and transparency.
And, how do I collaborate? In the old days, whenever I felt like contributing, i could log in to the forum of choice, say, UI5, and filter on the non-answered quesitons, then pick up the ones I felt like contributing to. Impossible today.
Why are these issues not addressed? Honestly, the new Developer platform has lost a lot of its old "usefulness", and no-one at SAP seems to be willing to acknowledge this.
We used to have clarity and user-friendliness; now, it's one big, incomprehensible, messy jumble.
"useless" is the word you're looking for.
Email notifications - yes!
Why don’t we use sentiment analysis on the question/blog and allow tags by the author as a secondary option for routing? Some tags are not intuitive (e.g. ‘Using SAP.com’) while others may represent ‘official’ designation determined by SAP and not the ‘colloquial’ expression used by the community.
Are some tags ‘aliased’ to each other (e.g. “Using SAP.com” == “SCN”) so subscribing to one tag allows similar tags to be found in the activity feed? (Yes, I know 'SCN' isn't a tag - but it should be).
‘Yes’ to emails about feed changes or changes to subscribed questions! As one of those SAP experts who love to answer questions, I think timely responses to user questions are more important than spending a lot of time trying to find the question in a non-filtered activity feed. (I miss all the questions showing up in my inbox). I'm sure some users are frustrated by the lack of responses to their questions.
My job has other demands and I can’t spend all my time searching for questions to answer, even if I am lucky enough to subscribe to the correct tags in the first place. A push to me would be much simpler and more intuitive.
Thanks for the feedback, Chris.
The ability to opt in for e-mail notifications should be available very soon.
RE: the tagging. I'll need to double-check a few facts before I dive into an answer. I'll respond as soon as I can get more info...
Thanks for your patience, Chris. As promised, I did a bit more digging, and here is some information about tagging...
Since we want to serve up content by tag and type (e.g., question, blog post), sentiment analysis could further complicate the way we surface content. That being said, we are working on filter options that could fine-tune results in a way more preferable to the user.
In response to allowing "tags by the author as a secondary option for routing": We do allow people to enter their own user tags, and people can search and sort by these tags -- although there is no option to follow them. That could change, however.
We are considering how to employ common synonyms/short names and acronyms to improve the "discoverability" (is that a word?) of tags and content. For example: "SAPUI5" for "UI development toolkit for HTML5." Furthermore, we may have the ability to create "associate relationships" between terms – such as mapping software product functions (MM) to the software product (SAP ERP). Synonyms/acronyms are a must, while it's not clear how or when associated relationships would be adopted. In any case we have ideas for improvements that may relate to your comments -- although they may not address your concerns 100%.
We do agree that the tags are not intuitive. That is why we’re working on UI enhancements to improve the experience of finding content (navigation interface) and tags (tag browser).
Again, I don't think this is exactly what you wanted to hear, but it's the current reality with the tag plans. And I hope it addresses some points. Again, thanks for your patience -- and for your feedback.
Am I the only one noticing that there is no ETA for any items other than the email notifications? "We have it on the list" doesn't quite cut it these days IMHO...
Yes, I acknowledged that in the post. I decided it was best to provide the list -- even if the timing wasn't known yet.
The timing itself will be coming in the updated road map. That should be be live soon, but I'll try to get a precise date.
Thanks for this update. Of course, I never saw it until someone else linked to it in another discussion I saw, because… well.
One thing I would really like to see is a feature akin to the old “Communications” stream we used to have, i.e. something that would highlight any posts you are following that have new activity, and that would specifically show you only the new, unread activity. As it is now, I have to go hunt every post I’ve ever commented on or followed (and I certainly don’t remember them all), and then I have to read the whole thing to see if there might be something new. Given the thread structure of comments on posts, the newest activity is not necessarily always towards the end, so this can be a chore. I recognize that we can change the sort order on comments, but I like the thread structure — it just doesn’t make it easy to highlight new activity.
The other thing for me is hierarchical navigation. Many of us do not live and die only by the search engine, especially when the search engine is problematic. We like having a drill-down menu that gets us to major topic areas. We had that in old SCN, and the rest of “go.sap.com” has it in all the marketing areas, so why not in the community area?
Email notifications is not important to me. I get too many emails as it is. Instead, I want to have it be easy to get online and find the new activity of interest to me, which today isn’t the case.
Filtering the activity stream by tags, and grouping the “social” stuff like “likes” and even comments, is a good start. I look forward to that. At the moment, I completely ignore the activity stream. As a result, I miss almost everything that happens. To be honest, I seem to spend most of my SCN time in the moderation queue these days, and/or the notifications page (which mostly gets filled with moderation items). So, I pretty much only see posts if there are problems with them! I guess that could give one a bit of a slanted view of the world.
Same here. I only have time for 1-2 pages of notifications and activity stream. Now after a week of vacation I have no clue what transpired on SCN while I was away. I'm only finding random stuff if it's on top of the list or somehow jumps at me.
Post Turkey Day, I'm struggling with the same thing - and it reminds me of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where the beginning of new content and the sea of updates since the last scroll fest leaves me wanting for a bookmark or filter to eliminate the noise of less relevant content I'm following. But I will be more likely drawn to actual 'comments' vs. liking or voting, and no doubt content creation or activity from followed community members is more relevant when trying to get caught up.
Thanks for the comment, Matt.
RE: the stream...improvements are in the works for activity stream/notifications. I cover fairly broadly in the post and elsewhere in comments, and I don't want to continue to try to respond with generic answers. I think once we have the new road map, we can discuss whether any of your specific stream concerns are being addressed.
RE: the navigation...are you suggesting that when you pull down to "Browse the Community" (as an example), you'd be able to see the actual topics (industries, solutions, etc.)? If so, there is a similar suggestion in Idea Place (https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=3F1503D6-1AE6-409A-A17A-8360D3F46A40&idea_id=74E3510F-2407-4C52-872A-9E2E557AAD93). May I suggest that you vote for this idea or perhaps even comment on it (as I believe your idea meshes well with this one). In the meantime, I'll follow up with the navigation team...
Steffi's idea, or at least Jamie's interpretation of it, seemed to be more about the "About the..." FAQ pages, whereas I'm suggesting this hierarchical drop-down apply right from the top "Community" menu item. Steffi's screenshot did show a similar thing, and my example is that it could follow a similar structure as that under the "Solutions" menu (which is marketing content, but has a logical structure). I attached a screenshot in a comment to Steffi's idea (which I cannot do here), and upvoted it.
Some pessimistic comments:
Improved tagging experience: what about synonyms search?
E-mail notifications: I also need notification if somebody commented somebody's else answer for the question I participated.
Easier activity stream: I need filtering, not grouping!
Intuitive Q&A experience: Is it possible to replace answer/comment with reply? Users will ignore training...
More powerful search: Not "more powerful", just working somehow!
Copy from: https://answers.sap.com/articles/67687/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-now.html
Thanks for expressing your concerns, Vadim.
To address them point by point:
Improved tagging experience: Synonyms/acronyms search is a must. I mentioned it in a comment earlier to Chris Baker (scroll up a little), but I was writing that before I saw this.
E-mail notifications: Per my post, this functionality will come in iterations. The first phase will be basic notifications -- and it won't meet your specific needs. We will roll out notification types as the next phases, including the one you're asking for here. I can't provide more specifics, as I would need the road map to get an idea of when those next phases will be coming. I'm still trying to find out when that map will be available...
Easier activity stream: Both filtering and grouping are planned. I didn't give all the details because I didn't want to make the blog post too long -- and I knew the road map would give more information. Still, it was an oversight not to at least mention filtering. If you scroll up to the first couple comments, you'll see a response from my colleague Sajid Amir about tag filtering for activity stream.
Intuitive Q&A experience: There is ongoing discussion about this topic (a notable example at https://answers.sap.com/questions/64028/what-is-the-reason-behind-having-comments-and-answ.html). The training is more for the current reality -- but that reality could change. I published a Tip in a Minute video to explain the difference between comments and answers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1Ih87anND8&t=2s), but in the video, I acknowledge that we are looking into the general "reply" option. Again. though, the guidance is to help people now, not to suggest that changes won't be coming.
More powerful search: Recent release notes (November 6, specifically) give information about feature changes to search (https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/WHP/SAP+Community+Release+Notes). I'm not sure if that is a fair response to your comment, but this may be another situation where the road map may provide better details for you.
I hope this at least partially covers your concerns. As always, please let me know if you need anything else. I may not always have the answers -- or all the details -- but I'll always try my best to get the best possible response.
Just curios to know if we have any of these already implemented the post is from NOV 16th so almost a month now ?
Is there a better way to provide an update .. Current status , Next updated when ,Expected finish date etc..
Some how this information seems like things are not going to be better anytime soon though I was assuming these things are pretty basic things to provide with a new platform and were high priority for the end users as well as for SAP !
We recently published a list of what has been implemented and what will be implemented next month:
We will continue to publish this information as it becomes available.