The beautiful thing about this Community is the conglomeration of different industries, experiences, job roles, and knowledge that is represented here.  We see hundreds of new blog posts and questions (and answers) posted every day that displays the wonderful diversity of our members.

That said, I know that with the roll out of the new platform, it’s been challenging for many folks to find their footing and understand how to utilize these new tools with the most efficiency and effectiveness.  And, as the blog platform owner, I often find myself in the undesirable position of explaining to content owners why their beautifully created and much needed content doesn’t belong in the blogs platform.

Let me impart a few words on the “why” of maintaining a strict standard of content in the blogs platform.  The value of the Community is the ability of this diverse group of experts (and newbies) to connect around the challenge and excitement of working with SAP solutions.  It is the ability of each member to make new connections in their field and to grow the value of their own network as they subsequently also grow the dominence of SAP in the industry.  The value to the business of SAP is exactly this: the more people talking about SAP solutions, the more people sharing their knowledge and becoming knowledgeable about SAP solutions, and the more people implementing SAP solutions (and encouraging THEIR customers to implement SAP solutions), the stronger the company will be.  This is why we do not allow push marketing content in the Community.  This is a firm standard and we, the SAP Community Experience team, are fully committed to it.

In the table below, I want to help guide content to the right places and to help you find other content throughout SAP.com.  Here are some examples of the types of content you can expect to find (and not to find) around the SAP Community and SAP.com at large:

Content Type Where you should share it & Where you can find it
Personal narrative SAP Community Blogs
Question SAP Community Q&A
Collection or list of links SCN Wiki
Release notes & product documentation SCN Wiki (SAP Help Portal for official SAP product information)
Technical information, such as specs or coding guidance SAP Community Blogs (if following the Guidelines), otherwise, SCN Wiki (SAP Help Portal or SAP Notes for official SAP  technical information)
Official SAP product support information SAP Support Portal
SAP solution marketing, including newsletters, and other official SAP PR content SAP.com Solutions or SAP News
Announcements, including upcoming events or event recaps Blogs, if written according to the guidelines of personal narrative
Virtual SAP Events SAP Online Events
Old SCN Discussions SAP Community Archive (read-only)
“Off topic” discussions SAP Community Coffee Corner
Third party consulting services marketing Does not belong on SAP.com*
Non-SAP product marketing Does not belong on SAP.com*

*Please reference the SAP Community Rules of Engagement if you are unsure if your content is appropriate for the Community.

Now that you’ve reviewed this table, you might be thinking “Hey, I have a content type that isn’t represented in this table!”  We are already in the process of exploring other opportunities to empower you to share content that might not have a great option for sharing right now.  If you’d like to contribute to that process, please share your ideas in the comments below.

If you find content, such as blogs, throughout the new Community platform that you believe do not follow the guidelines we’ve established, please help us to maintain the integrity of the Community by clicking the Alert Moderator link in the questionable content.  We will review the content to ensure that it makes it to its proper home.

Thank you for your time and commitment to the success of our new online home.  Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow U.S. colleagues!

Jamie Cantrell
Blog Platform Lead
SAP Community Experience

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19 Comments

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    1. Jamie Cantrell Post author

      Haha so sorry about that…I was trying to fix the gap above the table (to no avail).  So, now I have two things to take to the dev team on Monday: table spacing & activity stream updates!!

      Thanks Juergen, have a great weekend 🙂

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  1. Eng Swee Yeoh

    Hi Jamie

    Thanks for this. What about SAP Partner’s highlighting/announcing their product – is that in the “third party consulting services marketing” bucket? I’ve seen quite a few of these around.

    Regards
    Eng Swee

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      1. Eng Swee Yeoh

        Thanks for the clarification.

        Personally, I find this to be quite a gray area.

        There have been a few posts in the past from SAP Partners which are of the “This is our newly released product which fulfills a particular gap in the SAP ecosystem and these are the details” kind. They are not too heavy on marketing or solicitation, and I found them to be beneficial because I wouldn’t be aware of such product otherwise (unless I go searching for what I don’t know I don’t know).

        Of course, I’ve also come across those that have a more marketing feel.

        The challenge is whether this is a blanket rule for all, because some do have value for the community.

        Hope to hear your thoughts on this.

        Regards
        Eng Swee

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        1. Jamie Cantrell Post author

          Of course, our primary concern is value to the Community, which is why we also rely heavily on the Community’s input as to whether or not a piece of content is appropriate for this audience or not.  That said, we would tend to lean more conservatively towards removing content that appears to be marketing.  The exception, I would say, is really in how it’s written.  For example, if the post tells a story about how they were able to use a particular product to solve a problem for a client (or even better, if the customer themselves writes a piece talking about how a particular solution helped solve a problem for them) in conjunction with their SAP implementation, I could see that being useful, interesting, and valuable for the Community.

          Our position is simply this: if you are active in the Community, show that you are knowledgeable and sharing your expertise with other users, the audience here (the same as if you were to dump a marketing blog into the Community) will learn about you and seek you out, as they can see the value you bring.  If all you do is post sales stuff, then of course, your content will be removed and this Community will largely ignore you — which is a huge loss if you’re trying to grow, for example, a consulting business.

          Each item flagged for moderation is reviewed by a real live person.  If the author or the Community at-large thinks that an article was flagged incorrectly, they can certainly reach out and ask for an additional reviewer to double-check the piece against the RoE.  Here’s an excerpt from the Community Support page

          Please send SAP Community moderation related inquiries to moderators inbox (scnmoderators@sap.com)

          Hope that answers your questions, Eng Swee (in a long, roundabout way!).

          Best,

          Jamie

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  2. Johan Hakkesteegt

    Hi Jamie,

    I saw you mention elsewhere that blogs are not meant for sharing answers to FAQ, and from this blog I understand that also solutions to rare but interesting problems do not belong in blogs.

    This raises a few questions:

    • As a none-SAP employee, where do I publish answers to FAQ, and solutions to rare but interesting problems?
    • If we are not allowed to use blogs as a medium for technical content, I personally see little use for blogs at all. I have Facebook and LinkedIn to read people’s personal narratives. Why are blogs so prominent in the community? I would say lets move blogs to the background, and move the WIKI to the foreground, next to Q&A where there is actually the most use for it.

    Regards,
    Johan

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    1. Jamie Cantrell Post author

      Hi Johan,

      The how-to’s question is a little bit of a grey area, to be honest.  It’s like that old saying “I know it when I see it.”  Blogs can certainly be a useful place to share how-to information (I’ve used it this way myself), but it needs to be presented in a meaningful way, with context as to why this information is both unique and valuable to the Community.

      As I mentioned in my response to Eng Swee, my primary concern is ensuring that content is valuable to the Community and that our members can find the information they need and want in the places where they expect it.  To specifically answer your question, I think that if you can share how you came across this “rare but interesting problem” and then share how you resolved it, that absolutely belongs in blogs.  However, if you are publishing simply a numbered list of steps with a title, that belongs in a wiki page.  Can you see the difference?

      When I say “personal narrative,” I don’t mean you need to share what you had for breakfast or what you did last weekend.  Personal narrative in this case means that you need to give context to what you are sharing — tell me why, as a Community user, I should care about your topic.  Tell me more about what problems this solved for you or share your expertise on a subject area.  You can even talk about best practices and how they’ve solved or prevented problems in your experience.  The point is, don’t just publish a list of steps that I would expect to find in a technical manual, as this isn’t intended to be a reference guide.

      To be frank, we have heard quite a lot about a missing sense of Community in the new site. Blogs is a place to build relationships, show off your expertise, build a reputation, and connect with other members — which is why (to answer your second question) the platform is one of the pillars of the Community.  Finding the balance between this and purely “technical documentation” can be challenging, but a problem that I see getting a little easier as we continue to bring content channels into the 1DX environment.

      Thanks, genuinely, for your comments, Johan.  They really made me sit and think about “what is the value of blogs,” which as the platform owner, is an important question for me to think about now and then.

      Best,

      Jamie

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      1. Johan Hakkesteegt

        Hi Jamie,

        Thanks, I see the difference and understand your point. However (there is always one of those, isn’t there), I would like to point out a significant challenge.
        The engineer type people who answer questions, and figure out solutions to interesting (and also boring) problems, are in general really good at numbered list instructions, and inversely bad at personal narrative.

        That means that a moderator may decide that a blog was a numbered list, when the author in their  own experience just delivered a novel of Shakespearean proportions.
        Where a communicative type of person might challenge the moderator’s decision, our intrepid engineer will be more likely to decide to no longer publish their knowledge, because they just got wacked on the fingers with the proverbial ruler.

        Regards,
        Johan

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        1. Jürgen L

          The moderators usually leave editorial comments to get in dialog with the user, the options are different and allow more than we had in Jive.  Of course we can’t shake him if he does not give any reply, but more than guiding is not really possible.

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        2. Jamie Cantrell Post author

          Thanks for your perspective, Johan.  I think there is definitely an opportunity here to push even farther with what we expect from the Wiki platform in terms of knowledge sharing. We are currently in conversations around the needs that must be filled by whatever the long-term replacement for the Wiki will be, so it’s important to have this commentary to drive that conversation.  Thanks again!

          Jamie

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      2. Michael Appleby

         

        There is one place (Blogs) in SCN for technical, how to, guides at present.  This was done deliberately during the Jive Document migration and with that precedent, I continue to follow that path.  Personal narrative is helpful but secondary to the purpose of a how to guide.  Simply pointing to Wiki as the correct positioning is not going to make it happen.  Also why direct people to a short term and less than desirable content site with less traffic and certainly not much in the way of navigational assistance or primary tag selectivity.  Way too many drawbacks for using the wiki for the purpose.

        With rare exceptions, our members do not come for personal narrative, rather for technical expertise.
        Regards, Mike (Moderator)
        SAP Technology RIG

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        1. Jamie Cantrell Post author

          Thanks for your thoughts, Mike.  You may some very good points and I’ll share them with the team and think about the best solution here.

          Best,

          Jamie

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  3. Bernd Dittrich

    Do really somebody thinks having 10 different channels is a good idea? I will stop sharing, following this rules a posting I shared on LinkedIn has been removed, because it is more of an announcement than a blog. According to your rules Announcements should be “Blogs, if written according to the guidelines of personal narrative“. In there, the first rule is “Keep it short”. Basically I just share a link in the post.

    Summary: I just stop sharing stuff in SCN, I´m lost in unnecessary rules. Thanks for keeping it simple.

     

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    1. Jamie Cantrell Post author

      Hi Bernd,

      We’re looking into a better solution for Announcements, as we understand that there is a deeper need that is not being met there.  The intention of the 1DX (“One Digital Experience”) initiative here at SAP is to ensure that you have the same experience, regardless of which channel you are using to look for information.  In short, your concerns are valid and heard.

      That said, there are two points I want to make with this blog post:

      1. 1DX is a long-term initiative that we are in the midst of — it’s not complete yet, and we (users & employees alike) are still trying to navigate the large, dispersed landscape of SAP digital properties;
      2. the Community is not a catch-all dumping ground for all content types and, for the protection of the integrity of our Community content, we’ve established content guidelines that act as an initial perimeter guard against unwanted content (e.g. sales, product marketing, etc.).

      If there’s ever any question about what qualifies for Community Blogs, please feel free to reach out to our wonderful group of moderators for guidance.

      Best Regards,

      Jamie

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  4. Denis Konovalov

    Why would we use Wiki, which is a dying platform about to be migrated with real possibility of content loss ?
    SCN always was The place to share technical information that enhanced and improved product knowledge beyond official guides.
    If we want personal narrative – we go to Facebook. We come here to share and learn technical stuff about SAP products we use and support.

     

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    1. Jamie Cantrell Post author

      Thanks for your feedback, Denis.  Personal narrative simply means that the post should be written in a first-person voice with context.  It doesn’t mean sharing pictures of your lunch or cats.   But it also doesn’t mean dumping sample code or a list of links and calling it a blog post.  I hope this clarifies the issue for you.

       

      Best,
      Jamie

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    2. Denis Konovalov

       

      @Jamie, weird that I can’t comment on your comment directly …

      Obviously, the technical blogs should have standards and not be simple code dumps. We had that standard in SCN. Was it always followed – no. No one is perfect.
      But your table sais “Technical information, such as specs or coding guidance” do not belong in blogs, but coding guidance can absolutely be a blog. Technical information can be a blog.

      I think that table needs fixing.

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