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Are you professional?

Do you know EVERYTHING about all areas of SAP?   Do you know enough not to write a “stupid” question about an area you’ve never worked in before?  Then we want you.

Questions:

If you don’t know what a stupid question is…   I’ll write one for you.

“Hi all, I have normally posted in ABAP, but I have a current project that requires me to know the basics of FI/CO – the ACDOCA table or financial posting?”

HA!  There are many problems with this question.   Are there?  I mean it wasn’t asked professionally  – right?   Right!  So therefor – off with my head, I MUST not be a professional.  So I must expect bad answers, a quick response that I need to give more information…   Insert something negative here:

So we do need more information.  Think about the responses for a second:

  • A. It’s not an excuse that you normally post in ABAP, you should know to give more information.
  • A. Give more information.
  • A What exactly do you need to know about the ACDOCA table.  Basically all of FI/CO will flow there.  So I need more information to give you a better answer.
  • A. Do you even know  what you are asking for? All the FI/CO basics?
  • Skip it and go to the next question to answer.  If this question frustrates you, It’s a pretty good reason to skip it.   Hopefully someone else will pick it up.

Oh boy!  Based on the response, I’m never asking a question again.  My professional image is hurt just because of the responses.  My personal image of myself is hurt.

 

 

Aha!!!   There are blogs on questions what is right and appropriate.  There are guidelines..  There are….   Well I’m kind of in a hurry for that answer.  I can’t read everything out there.  I also HAVE searched, but maybe not with the right words.  So who will help me now?  The person who asks me the correct question so I can sort out what I really need will help.

Blogs:

So my blogs…   I wrote a blog that has been written many times before.  So skip my blog just don’t read it.  Why would I write a blog like that?  I think I have a better perceptive?  Not so.  I could have missed the others – which in fact I did when writing one of my blogs. After seeing that in the comments, I fixed my blog.   I could just think I may have a different experience to share.

Skip my blog and don’t read it.  I guess as I stated above I mean if the title or even the first paragraph frustrates you then skip it! – there is as always exceptions to every rule:

  • Inaccurate information – comment and I’ll fix the blog

Again – off with my head.  That can’t be professional.  Oh yes, I’m olderish.  So a lot of the time I double space between my sentences.  Horrible, awful, that means my blog should be removed.  Should it?

Non-technical

This blog is not technical.  Heck it really isn’t a business solution.  Does that mean it should be removed?  Your thoughts in the comments please.

Professional

You want me only if I’m a professional?  But I am a student, I am an intern, I am just starting my career.   Does that mean I can’t ask?  I don’t have a new and different way of looking at things?  Sorry no, you are not a professional.   Sarcasm here.  Yes, of course we want you.  You are the people we were.  You will become better at some things than we are.  There is so much going on right now.

SDN – SAP Developer’s Network Destroyed not very long ago

  • SDN – the platform was…  Well OK the platform was not the greatest.
  • SDN – The community was smaller.
  • SDN – No question was a bad one.   Such notables as Thomas Jung, Blag, Craig Cmehil ., Marilyn Pratt… and many more answered question, wrote blogs, gave encouragement.
  • SDN – No blog was stomped on.  If we didn’t like it – we debated it.

What.  Stop the bus right there.  They were encouraging? Does that happen anymore?  I don’t see a lot of it.  I do see some of it peaking through the cracks.  I think at one time we had WWMD shirts.  What would Marilyn do?  Did she discourage people?  I didn’t see it.

Vision for community

For me the first part of Marilyn’s blog hit me, this was from 2015:

  • A positive user experience for all visitors, including content consumers, contributors
    and moderators.
  • Quality content – not just an easy way to publish, not just gamification, not an ad farm.
  • Easy engagement amongst visitors.
  • Simple governance and community management.
  • Differences of opinions / perspectives are welcomed.
  • Clear vision to the project and up-to-date communication.
  • Best of breed technology, coupled with custom development to support these principles  and provide key functions that members expect.

No we didn’t get the big “fix” of the technology.  But look at the other things on the  list.  A big one for me is the removal of ads and easy engagement.  A HUGE one is that we encourage engagement, not discourage it.  Don’t like this or any other content skip it.

Now what do you consider “quality” content?  Open for discussion.

If you are doing research (Searching for an answer via google) and you find a question you think is too basic. Read it an move on.  No one said it would be easy.  It usually isn’t.

Comments Please

This is my blog.  My opinion.  So feel free to comment.  I would ask that it not become a debate on question and answers.  Why? Because there have already been so many.  This blog is less about Q&A and more about the simple encouragement that “I” feel at times is lacking.  Feel free to call me wrong and debate the encouragement piece.

OH one last thought – blog could be considered a repeat.  (Coffee corner and I think I wrote something similar at some point.)

// Updated with some help from Jelena

 

FYI – some great links from SDN – yes SDN 2007 – the more we learn the less we know.  Bad questions:

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/509114

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/498281

FYI – some repeated questions SDN (ALV):

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/953260

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/206686

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/289330

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/1106462

 

Technical Issue with SDN

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/543487

 

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34 Comments

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  1. DJ Adams

    That was a lovely rant / brain dump / personal opinion – I enjoyed it all, thanks for writing it, and for your opinion (which, like everyone else’s, is welcome).

    Cheers

    DJ

    (Striving always to be an amateur, not a professional, btw)

    (5) 
    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Oh I loved that blog!  It is bookmarked for me and I already re-read pieces of it.   May I always be an amateur too.

      Thank you for the great read!

      Michelle

      (2) 
    2. Matt Fraser

      Loved the paragraph about amateurs vs professionals; I’ve read other pieces before about how the connotations of being an amateur have changed over time. I’m a big proponent of always keeping what in Zen practice is called “beginner’s mind.” In fact, my most-liked blog post here ever was on this topic (from about two years ago). I won’t link it, because I don’t want to hijack Michelle’s post, but you can find it easily enough by looking at my profile.

      And Michelle Crapo , yes! I have felt much the same here lately. I still remember the days of WWMD, and I think it’s good to remind ourselves that we once had this role model, and there’s no reason we could not still.

      Cheers,
      Matt

      (5) 
  2. Nabheet Madan

    Wow Michelle Crapo you nailed it .A rant but bitter truth. Some where in this race of moving to better platforms and better quality content we ended up loosing people(new comers or experienced alike)  from whom we could have learnt a lot.

    Normally transitions like these increases participation but we ended up loosing it. Look at the kind of response we get here as compared to other platform for example LinkedIn. I am not saying everything is lost what i am saying is their is lot to be achieved now.

    Thanks

    Nabheet

    (2) 
  3. Gustavo Vazquez

    Hi Michelle,

    1) Q: Are we encourage to participate con SAP community ?

    .    A:  My answer is no, but I could be poisoned from being a participant in the old SDN.

    2) Q: Blogs ?

    .    A: Yes, of course. Good ones.

    3) Q: Only Technical blogs ?

    .    A: Of course not, There are many types of blogs and we can all learn from them. I like this one as an example

    https://blogs.sap.com/2017/12/29/1-2-1-commandments-for-your-sap-career/

    4) Q: Professional ?

    .    A: Definitevly YES. Try to improve your self and others. No matter if you are a Student or a Guru. we can always learn and be professional, not matter the label. Be polite, give an answer (even if it’s not the one you are expecting), bring all information you have, expect feedback (even from blogs), get interested, be recognized (a … thank you for your help … is enough).

    regarding your question: What is quality content ?.

    I guess it’s something the moderator should control because S/He:

    • is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in the area
    • has been arround for some time and knows if its been done before or not
    • has a different Point of View from her/his experience

    but it must fulfill some of these points

    • enrich yourself with new knowledge
    • make you want to comment or like it
    • make you bookmark it
    • be easy to read
    • be fun
    • solve a problem

    it’s not easy but also impossible. My quality content is:

    • answers and questions
    • blogs based on a problem or personal experience related to SAP
    • innovation
    • community

    Some examples:

    • A blog for a solution and how you get to it, ie: not copy paste ABAP code but the problem and logic you used to solve it
    • A question (easy or difficult) with an answer
    • Posting to a previous (Q&A) so next time the person searchs before asking
    • New product functions and how to use them.
    • Sharing experience of a consultants life
    • config/programming/etc guides

    Encourage others to be on sap Community …. i’m not a soul of the party, but gamming is a good start. I’m not a writer and you will not always get the best idea, but 1 good idea out of 10 will do the trick. 🙂

    My 2 cents

    kind Regards

     

     

     

    (5) 
    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      These were copied from Marilyn’s blog.  From 2015!!!   Sometimes I think we all need a reminder.  And I thin professional means many different things to many different people.  If you have some time click on DJ’s Link.

      Thank you for the thoughtful inputs!

      Michelle

       

      (3) 
  4. Jason Cao

    Nice post Michelle! Thank you for sharing this and for reminding community members of the different background, motivations and approaches that each of us may have for achieving our goals and tasks in this community. For new community members starting to engage with veterans and experts in the community, we know it is in their best interest to provide as much relevant information clearly so our experts can help them. As you said, other people can choose for themselves whether they read, ignore or respond to the questions. However, I hope everyone in our community would adopt a ‘host-mentality’ and take it on as their own responsibility to respect and even nurture the contributions of these new members – yes, even a basic question or post on an already-known topic is a contribution.

    I’ve learned from a parenting facebook group that inclusion doesn’t mean making others conform to norms in order to participate – rather, it is giving everyone access to the “same opportunities to learn, play, and live.”

    (4) 
  5. Colleen Hebbert

    it’s time to differentiate between a professional worker and a professional worker: one version is employment status and the other is their attitude

     

    We all know which version we want in this comment. Even better to have the attributes of both

     

    I’m a beginner, a generalist, and an expert – it just depends on which Tag I hope into. I understand the change in rules may be frustrating for some when RTFM posts occurs but it’s nice to know that after I’ve spent hours trying to find an answer to something that is puzzling me and I know it’s probably basic to someone else that I can come to community without fear of it being rejected. I’m yet to do that yet but maybe some of us experts need to show our n00b beginner skill sets and ask for the help when we need it.

     

    I love you writing these blogs as it helps keep the embers burning in hope that fire is lit. The reality is community will rebuild. A new beginning but it will be great when these types of blogs are no longer required and the level of enthusiasm is present in the questions, answers, blogs and comments

     

    (6) 
  6. Bärbel Winkler

    Thanks for this ample serving of “food for thought” Michelle Crapo !

    As others have already stated, you don’t need to be “a professional” in order to “be professional”. The first is labelling a person the second is focused on the behaviour which – as far as I know – is something which can be more easily influenced by giving positive examples or providing constructive feedback.

    Something I learned through job-related seminars and real-life examples like moderating discussion forums in climate-change related MOOCs is that it’s also often more promising to provide feedback from the “I” instead of “you” perspective. Even if it’s just a wording thing it does make a difference if things get explained in a “this is how I do it” vs. “you should do it like this”. The latter may well raise heckles on the recipient’s part (who, after all likes to be told what to do?) and bring up defense mechanisms whereas the former is just a suggestion to consider and mull over.

    Cheers

    Baerbel

    (4) 
  7. Matthew Billingham

    Oh yes, I’m olderish.  So a lot of the time I double space between my sentences.  Horrible, awful, that means my blog should be removed.  Should it?

    Yes. Absolutely. I managed to break the habit of thirty years – being oldie is not an excuse! 😉

    Anyway, joking aside.

    At heart, we are a technical community, not a social network. I’m convinced that there is a minimal standard of behaviour, enforced by moderation, that is necessary to have a thriving technical community.

    Here is a great blog written by someone without decades of experience.

    (6) 
    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      No, not a social network.  We don’t want to hear about vacations or what people have eaten yesterday.

      I would think we would really like to hear about interesting things around SAP.  (Blogs) I would love the comments to debate or agree with the blog.  In those comments I usually learn something new.

      However, a comment – starting “you are not right” would make me skip it.  Perhaps I’m not right. But, say it in a different way.  I’ll read “Here are some things I disagree with” and a follow up of why.  And then we can have a discussion.

      Yes we are technical.  So should this blog have been written?  I’m not sure about that one.  There isn’t a main tag of “Rant”.  Too bad, because I would have used it and then this blog would easily be “skipable”,

      We are a technical network.  Does that mean we don’t answer basic questions any more?  How about thinking about a response before typing it.  Yes, I am guilty of some of those not so nice responses.  As we are a technical, isn’t part of our job to help mentor the younger members.  The one’s that the blog isn’t quite so good.  Tell them and tell them why.   The question is wrong.  See above.  If you don’t want to answer because it is too basic or doesn’t have enough information, skip it.  Maybe someone else can answer.

      BTW – that was an excellent blog.

      (1) 
      1. Matthew Billingham

        I had prawn risotto. Yum.

        I think there’s space for all kinds of blogs. They don’t have to be technical. Well written (or at least, some thought and effort gone into it) would be nice, with some connection to work or SAP, even if tenuous. What I don’t like is “Here’s a program I wrote” followed by a program listing – that’s 20 year old ABAP and not even pretty printed.

        When moderators were allowed to moderate blogs, I’d generally try to get the blog to a certain quality level. Some people were more cooperative than others, and we got some pretty good (in my opinion) content. Now I see blogs with deficiencies I try to engage the author and suggests improvements. Since there’s nothing in it for them, except professional pride, I find that often (not always) such suggestions are ignored. It’s a bit disheartening, so I’m less likely to do it now.

        I use sap.com to find information. It’s my “go to” for information. If my search comes up with a whole load of unanswered questions, that utility is gone. If they’re answered with a link, we end up with this…

        https://blogs.sap.com/2013/11/08/posting-links-and-the-jungle-you-end-up-in/

        (2) 
  8. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Personally, I’ve not had “positive user experience” on SCN for quite some time already. Now it seems that, like a cable company, SCN is only interested in the new users. When you sign up, you get all the attention and all the discounts. After a year the price gets jacked up and no one cares if you leave because where are you going to go, anyway? AT&T? Bwahaha. But I’ve already devoted my own blogs to that subject.

    One point I’m confused about is: how is “if you don’t like something – just skip it” considered “being welcome to newbies”? If my question was not clear I’d want to know about this. If my blog was not interesting, irrelevant or provided inaccurate information I’d want to know too.

    Rather mixed messages are being sent to the community members, I feel…

    (6) 
    1. Agentry SRC

      Which is the better way to handle newbies?

      1. Ignore their question because of any number of reasons, but mostly because they did not put any visible effort into a quality and unique post.
      2. Let them know how to act like a professional by guiding them to search first, document what they have tried already, detail their environment, and providing enough information for a subject matter expert to both be able and, most importantly, WILLING to help them to a solution.

      I know what we preferred to do previously.  But despite several comments that the previous approach was driving down participation, does anyone really believe option 1 improves the experience?

      (3) 
      1. Michelle Crapo Post author

        Back to Barbel’s comment.

        2. Don’t let them know how to act like a professional.   Bad wording.

        Something like have you tried searching XYZ.   What did you look at and find so I can help you better?  IF needed ask them about their environment, etc…

        All I’m saying is if you are frustrated before you start writing that answer most likely it will come out wrong.

        (3) 
      2. Jelena Perfiljeva

        I have a similar question.

        From what I’ve seen, SDN was actually a much less “nice” place. There was pretty strict moderation and one could see many sarcastic comments and such. But somehow this did not kill the participation. On the contrary. So why now the perception seems to be that if only everyone is “nice” (or just doesn’t post anything at all) then this would be SCN salvation? What evidence supports this conclusion?

        (1) 
    2. Michelle Crapo

      Yes, if the question is not clear, I would ask for clarification.  I guess I would do something similiar Barbel’s comment.  It would be how I phrased my questions for clarification.

      What I mean about skipping the question – If I read the subject and I know it’s something I can’t answer, I would skip it.  If I didn’t like that the question had already been asked, then skip it if I didn’t want to answer it.

      If I created a blog that provided inaccurate information… I would hope someone would add comments.  For me, as a blog writer,  I read the comments.  I would at that point learn something and fix my blog.  When I basically wrote the same blog someone else did, I got that in the comments.  I looked at his blog and determined it was better than mine.  So my blog was a lot shorter.  Things that the other blog didn’t mention and then I linked to the other blog.  I learned something!  YES!  That is one of the reasons I write blogs.

      If it was irrelevant or not interesting.  By all means comment on it.  But again I’d say look at Barbel’s comment.  However, if it is not interesting to you, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be interesting to me.  I’m not sure about irrelevant…  Who decides that?

      The message I’m trying to send in this blog is simple really, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.   So does that mean if I don’t like your blog or disagree with it – I don’t comment?  Heck no!  Comment constructively.  Like this one you just left.  Open for discussion and an  opposing idea than what I have.   I really like these.  I think differently that way.

      OK – the harder part.  “positive user experience”.  I’ll throw the ball back into your court.  How would you define positive user experience?

      Thank you for the great comment, as always you make me take a step away and think,

      Michelle

      (2) 
      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        “Positive user experience” for me (just like for most SCN users, I suspect) would be a combination of purely platform UI and having a sense of accomplishment after spending some time on SCN.

        I won’t go on about the platform issues because that can easily spiral into a 2-page rant (one can find all the bug reports and such in “SAP Community” tag).

        In Q&A I rarely find myself being helpful. And it’s not just the natural drying up in the “traditional” forums (I can’t answer any HANA or Cloud or other “cutting edge” questions). Majority of questions simply can’t be answered. If you ask OP for more details, no matter how nicely, either they never come back or keep repeating the same information or “spoon feeding” (exhibit A). Or, in some cases, OP does reply but they just don’t do it “the right way” (as platform expects them) and then I never know about it.

        In blogs, when I used to check the whole blog roll, it seemed full of “click bait” (= an interesting title but only a bunch of platitudes or complete nonsense hiding behind it). Recently I stopped reading other blogs than ABAP and it’s been a less frustrating experience. But this hardly seems like an accomplishment in the “inclusion” department.

        The casual chit chat in Coffee Corner is down to a trickle and I don’t have much interaction with other community members who used to be active. It’s mostly private messages, emails, LI and Twitter now. I have not met any new people or made friends on SCN since 2016 (with the exception of Bärbel Winkler). I vividly remember when I started noticing Colleen, Steffi or Veselina (funny how I don’t even need to mention their last names, right?). There have not been such moments in a while now.

        The home page is very boring. It has top 5 blogs, sometimes I see a blog pop-up in “top liked” (like this one 🙂 ) and read it. That’s the only useful part. The activity stream is supposed to highlight the content that others liked or responded to. But I don’t open it anymore because I already know it’s bloated and unmanageable, so no point to keep disappointing myself.

        (1) 
        1. Agentry SRC

          There seems to be a bit of encouragement of the “Bring me a rock” approach to Q&A.  (see exhibit A above (ROTFL)).  For those unfamiliar with this, it crops up in project management all to often.

          Project Manager: “Bring me a rock”

          Developer: “Here is a rock”

          PM: “No that rock will not work, it is the wrong color”

          D: “Okay, here is a differently colored rock”

          PM: “That rock will not work either, it is the wrong shape”

          D: “But is the color right?”

          PM: “No, it is the wrong color and the wrong shape”

          D: “Was the first rock the right shape?”

          PM: “Nope.”

          and so on…

          Note that at this point, the developer puts his resume on any number of job sites.

          [And the SME gives up on the question/questioner as well]

          (1) 
    1. Agentry SRC

      And when all else fails, read the instructions (or as sometimes is noted as RTFM).  Plenty of guidance available whether in the Getting Started or in any number of pages in the SAP Community tag area.  It is not that we want professionals, amateurs, or newbies.  What we want is for participants to demonstrate courtesy, respect and, above all, adult behavior.

       

      (3) 
    1. Michelle Crapo

      Totally nice to say.   I’m moving now.  I hope you noticed – I did change the blog a bit too.   Great comments.  Glad you didn’t skip over this one.

      Michelle

      (0) 
      1. Gregory Misiorek

        my own content is the sweat equity that is gracefully hosted by SAP – what i follow is other people’s content and their sweat equity unless they are getting paid to do it.

        (0) 

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