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Author's profile photo Robert Russell

(Unofficial) Analysis Of SAP Community Content After The Privacy Setting Changes


After the recent deadlines around data protection/privacy this site published ways to update your profile settings to allow you to continue participating.

There is a blog about this profile privacy setting with a link to YouTube video about  Changing Your SAP Community Privacy Settings.

If you do not update your profile setting you will be known as a “Former Member” on your contributions.

I am a “Former Member” well I do(did) have an account which I was unable to alter the privacy settings since I lost access to the SAP-ID (I changed company). So for example one of my other blogs that covered this sites data (well actually when it was known as SCN) is now marked as Former Member. I will have to try out the information in Audrey’s blog link below to see if I can rescue that account.

An official page for the profile privacy setting is here

From my reading of this information to keep participating in the community (asking questions/writing blogs etc) then you need to have made your profile public. I have altered these settings on my main account I use for SAP Community which means I get to publish this blog :).

There have been a few posts I have read around this subject from a possible bug to a general syncing issue around this setting, so certain things may still be changing or will be updated at a later date. A selection of these links below.

Prior to the data protection deadline and profile changes I had published my blog

(Unofficial) Analysis Of The Question Forums in which I analysed the publicly available data from this site in various ways.

My last update to that blog was to take a look at new members to this site and there activities in the question/answer forums. The new members I thought would  be a good search to repeat after the privacy changes. A way to review how many of the new members are still to be found on the site. My thinking was that repeating a new member search would be a good indication to see how connected they are to the site (to gauge if they had seen the privacy setting updates/blogs/requirements)

By new member I mean a new account created after 10th Oct 2016 – the start of the new platform. As mentioned in my previous blogs a “new member” is not necessarily a brand new user, it could be a user with yet another SAP-ID registering or all those “team” accounts where more than one person as access etc.etc…

I use the SAP Cloud Platform to collect the data and combination of SQL Queries and old school Lumira 1.31 to analyse the data. I blogged my approach for this here and thanks to the SAP Cloud Platform.

Onto the actual analysis of this site. I have split the analysis into three sections

  1. People search – which is focused on new accounts between October 2016-March 2018
  2. Blog search – All blogs published between October 2016-March 2018
  3. Question search – All questions but a change of date range between Oct 2016 to 30th Apr 2017 to match my other blog

**Searching Answers – my second update to my original blog covered a way to analyse the actual answers to the questions. This relied on the AnswerHub API which was active at that time. As this API is now disabled I can’t cover the “former member” issues with answers. As per the links at the start of my blog “former member” settings is/was an issue with the Answers.

People Search

My original data range was 10th Oct 2016 to 2nd March 2018 for the People Profile search and the chart looks like this.

The chart shows new accounts by created date

Search BEFORE The Privacy Update

The above chart does indicate an ongoing decline in new accounts since the change to the new platform. The high peak on the chart is the 27th November and rather odd number of training accounts created on this day. **an example screen shot below is from my original analysis I have not reviewed these accounts since the privacy setting changes.

The overall total was just over 90k new accounts

Searching AFTER Privacy Update

I used exactly the same code and range of data to see the impact of the Former Member setting and the results a big drop in the number of new users. Only approx 14k users can be found.




Blog Search

Out of a total blog count of 13336 in my data set and chosen date range there are 3563 blogs marked as Former Member

Question/Answer Forum Search

For the Answer Forum updated search, I am going to change my date range to align with my previous blog

The date range for that blogs analysis was 10th Oct 2016 to 30th Apr 2017 and the total questions and Authors was as follows.

Search BEFORE The Privacy Update

The chart shows over 41k total questions by just over 23k unique user.ids.

Searching AFTER Privacy Update

My updated search (using my original code and date range) is as follows


To point out that maybe the total number of questions should be the same in both the above screenshots? However as covered in my original blog I did cover my process of “Validation Of Data And Missing/Deleted Questions” and the fact that over time questions do get deleted. However there is a big drop in the total number of authors. And no surprise (at this stage) that “Former Member” has the most questions…


I have done some random checks on my data and all these checks so far have passed and indicated I have valid data. I was surprised by the result, in that there is a big drop in unique user ids.


Participating As Former Member

During my initial analysis I did tweet the surprising (to me) results I had for the Answer search and Jim Spath replied to my tweet with an interesting question

They asked the question(s) before or after the ‘formerization’? Just curious.

I didn’t think I could answer that at the time but I wanted to review the data I had. I chose to determine the date the 14k users had been modified. (SAP search has “created”,”updated” and “modified” timestamps to filter searches). Dates for the privacy changes have been published in the official blogs/posts but I wanted to see what was in the dataset. The main modified date was 27th May, although the 4 modified profiles on the 20th May is valid data (and the profile links are searchable), however the profiles are actually hidden and result in 404 not found links??

I did sense check further into the 14k users and all those checks indicate  active searchable profiles.


So I was curious to see how many questions and blogs were posted after the 27th May as “Former Member”. In my understanding it should not be possible to participate as a Former Member.

There are no “former member” blogs to be found in my updated data set

For the Answers search I have found two former member questions

I checked both questions and found “former member” was displayed.

As mentioned at the start this could be some outstanding syncing issue or maybe the privacy profile setting was changed after asking the question.


That’s the end of my blog and thanks for reading.



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      Author's profile photo Jim Spath
      Jim Spath

      "... that's the end of my blog..."  yes, except for the comments. 😉


      Since you tagged me on Twitter I thought I'd respond here (may there as well, but staying on topic).

      First question on the above is, what is the question?  Do we have a hypothesis that redacting IDs has led, or will lead to less community engagement?  I'd speculate but will leave it to the crowd.


      Mark Yolton 9former member?)  introduced me to the 90/90/1 rule of online communities.  I was already familiar with the 80/20 rule where 80% of the data comes from 20% of the records (see: Pareto).  90 are lurkers, 9 are known, and 1% are active.  What did the formerizing due to this ratio?  Probably made it more like 97/2/1.  The numbers should tell.


      "New Platform"?  Chorttle.  ASUG peeps will get this: Rick Chern.

      As I recall, SAP wiks are on Confluence, the platform before the old platform.

      Or did you mean the mission reboots?

      I read a blog Friday that was posted by an SAP person, who I know through Peter McNulty.  That person is still at SAP, yet their ID is redacted.  Did they get the memo?  Good thing they had inadvertently violiated the ROE by posting their email and .sig in the post.  Not enough Moderators (there I am happy to be formerized  lot of time for little to show other than a feeling of self-accomplishment).



      Author's profile photo Robert Russell
      Robert Russell
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for taking time to comment and actually I was struggling with the next steps and surprised to see so many "former members".

      Although I guess I am mixing up issues as well in that my own "former member" account on this site was lost to me years ago but still annoys me that I lost control over it. And now only recently there is a possible way to link it to my new account. Over the years I have tried to get access and all I got was past around and in the end it was not possible.

      I guess I shouldn't be surprised others aren't concerned to lose their status on the site. As you say the crowd will win out in the end. I just recall particularly for my very first blog on this site spending a lot of time on it. Then it goes out of my control and then it is made anonymous. And I do care about that, although the material in the blog is not relevant today it is a good memory (maybe I should forget about it and move on :))

      And "new platform" comment I am taking from various sources and I don't recall where I heard the term first but Jerry uses it in the opening to this blog below. So maybe I'll go with "the new 'non Jive' areas of this site" but I don't work in marketing 🙂



      Author's profile photo Michael Appleby
      Michael Appleby

      Hi Robert,

      Always enjoy reading your blogs.  I spent some time rereading some of the older ones with lots of comments.

      My observation here is that the members who want to participate will update their profile when they want to dive back in.  When that happens depends mostly on when they come back to do so.  Lurkers probably wont be bothered.  The largest group of those who were prompt in updating their profiles were Moderators and Mentors (to my rather unscientific observations), followed by those who are active commenters and answerers who don't fall into the first two groups.  The third group has declined in membership.

      Those who only stop in to post a blog once in a while, will only notice they have been formerized when to go to post something.  Interesting aspect of those bloggers, is that if their blog is rejected while they are formerized, they will not receive any notification of that action.  So ...

      Cheers, Mike

      Author's profile photo Robert Russell
      Robert Russell
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Mike,

      Good to hear you enjoy my blogs.

      I take your points about people updating their profiles when they are ready.  It's a good that they have to update it to contribute to the site. Although a shame about the rejection status notifications.



      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      I'm guessing that "formerized" members don't receive any notifications. This would explain why we are having a discussion in the blog comments here but the blog author is MIA. They probably have no clue now that someone replied.

      Author's profile photo Jerry Janda
      Jerry Janda

      Hey, I don't work in Marketing least as of this year. 🙂



      RE: the term "platform" -- I can't take the credit (or the blame, for that matter) for its usage, but I can explain how it came to be the preferred term. Jive was a single solution/application. SAP Community is a collection of 'em (WordPress, etc.). Platform seemed to be the best way to describe that. (We also couldn't go with "site," since SAP Community isn't a separate site, the way that Jive was.)

      And in response to some parts of the blog post: You provided links to posts about some of the issues early on...those should have been resolved more than a week ago. If any of those remain a problem, please do let me know. (As you may have noticed, you don't even need to @mention me. If my name comes up, I'll find it eventually...a creepy admission in a post-GDPR world. 🙂 )

      Finally, about the 404 problem...Oliver covered that in another post ( )

      Beyond that, I agree with the general sentiments here, such as Mike's "members who want to participate will update their profile when they want to dive back in." Since members can turn their privacy settings on and off as often as they wish, they may not have felt the urgency to update, knowing that they could when they were ready to participate again. I believe we're starting to see this, in fact.


      Author's profile photo Robert Russell
      Robert Russell
      Blog Post Author

      Sorry Jerry that link I posted was the first one I could find with the term platform from someone I deem to represent the SAP Community team in SAP. And I was already aware about the move out of marketing.

      As I mention in my previous comment, I can't recall how I heard the term first. (but I think SAP are great at (re)naming products 😛 ) . And I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for representing the SAP side of the SAP Community so well.




      Author's profile photo Jerry Janda
      Jerry Janda

      My pleasure, Robert. And thanks for the compliment!

      And if you find the renaming confusing, you're in good company. 🙂



      Author's profile photo Frederic Cincet
      Frederic Cincet

      Humph, Jerry Janda, I hope you did not read the comments on the article (some angry customers there)...

      Though, I liked the pasta part about the pronounciation of Hana (it ends the comments on a lighter tone):

      "Brits and Germans say it like the girls name. Americans say it with longer vowels like hahna/harner, a bit like how they say pasta. "

      Author's profile photo Jerry Janda
      Jerry Janda

      Nah, I have my hands full enough with angry customers from the community. ?

      Also, I’m fairly certain that the Boston accent might be exempt from the rule about American pronunciation of HANA. Maybe it was a Bostonian who gave that comment a downvote.:)



      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Count me in as another member of your blogs fan club. 🙂 Facts FTW!

      I'm guessing SCN shed some "dead wood" by formerization, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If someone wants to remain an active contributor they will find the button. There are even ways for those with inactive accounts. "Where there is will..."

      The archived questions look very odd now though, as you can see only "Former member" but then in the text the names are mentioned (e.g. "Thank you, Uwe" or "Harish, what did you mean by...?"). I suspect someone who doesn't know about "formerization" might find this mindblowing. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Robert Russell
      Robert Russell
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for the comment Jelena and it's good to know there is a fan club 🙂
      I am not sure how successful people would be in rescuing inactive accounts. My experience has not been great so far.
      I am yet again trying to rescue an old inactive account and followed the blog and sent an email. All I got back was the link where I have to use a password. So hopefully those who want to be reactivated will be, eventually 🙂 .

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      If you're having any trouble with older account make sure to complain on Twitter. I find it's where all the action happens these days. 🙂 Good luck!