Every now and then we revisit and revise the rules of engagement. We rewrite rules to make them clearer. We combine rules that we decide are better off together. And we add rules — either because we are seeing behavior that we must discourage or because some broader change has occurred that demands new rules. (For example, we need to give serious consideration to the upcoming changes to profile privacy.)
With all of this in mind, I present to you the latest rules of engagement.
For the most part, you’ll find the rules remain the same. We may have reordered them, but some rules never change. (For one thing, we still expect members to search before posting — even though this is a rule that everyone always follows, right?) However, if you’re interested in learning more about what we’ve rephrased significantly, combined, clarified, or inserted, here’s a summary of some of the most notable updates:
- Log in and be yourself: This rule was once split into two entries, but we’ve combined them to encourage people to become active community members — especially in the face of new defaults for profile privacy. Speaking of which…
- Protect your own and other’s privacy: If you read this blog post (or saw the news repeated in other posts, tweets, emails, and just about every place imaginable), you’ll understand why this new privacy rule is required. (Note that some of this rule previously appeared under Provide support feedback through the correct channel. This support rule still exists in the new list, but it now focuses entirely on advice about SAP Support. All the privacy warnings from that support rule now appear in this one.)
- Choose the relevant language: Most tags default to English — although some tags are available in other languages. This has created a situation where members who speak these languages sometimes choose the wrong tags purposely for their questions or blog posts — which allows them to publish in their native tongue. Since we require proper tags to serve up content correctly, we need people to pick the right ones. At the same time, we want to make content easier to understand for non-native speakers. Therefore, this rule also continues to condemn the use of slang phrases that might not translate well into another language. Ya feel me, fam?
- Share expertise transparently: The old list had this rule, but we expanded it with the rules forbidding plagiarism and linking to content behind firewalls — as all of these rules are related to sharing personal knowledge in an honest manner.
- Search before you post: In the past, this always popular rule had emphasized questions and answers. This time, we’ve included blogs in the rule, informing people that they should search blogs before writing and publishing anything — to avoid redundancy and to ensure that their content is unique.
- Don’t hijack or cross-post content: Hijacking questions has always been frowned upon, but we expanded this rule to cover cross-posting (i.e., publishing the same question or blog post multiple times with different primary tags) as well. (Cross-posting had appeared in the plagiarism rule previously, but it makes more sense to put here.) We also added the old resurrection rule to this one, as it’s another form of hijacking.
- Be patient when awaiting a response: Whenever I see a question with “urgent!” in the subject line, or when I discover that a poster has sent a moderation alert asking for a fast answer, I cringe a little…as I know how much this infuriates other members. This new rule is probably overdue and one that I think active members will welcome.
And there you have it …an overview of the new rules of engagement for the SAP Community. Not that the SAP Community team prepared them alone. Our moderators provided valuable input as well, and we couldn’t — and can’t — oversee the site without them. The rules guide members, but the insights and hard work of moderators are what truly set the standards for the SAP Community.
Of course, you can make life much easier for moderators by following the rules. So please give the list a read and share the link with all members — from new registrants to long-time contributors. Just copy, paste, and send this url: https://www.sap.com/community/about/rules-of-engagement.html.
Oh, and as you review the rules, please remember the most important one of all when it comes to interacting with other members: “Be professional and courteous.”
Or as a wise man once said: “Be excellent to each other.”
I hope that translates. I don’t want to break rule #4.