Deep Thoughts – Daily work and the SAP Community
So just how do you work the community into your “daily” work? I was asked how I used the community on a blog post I wrote. As always, my comment became very long. So I decided to make it into a blog! Cool right? How a comment can drive a blog?
So my “daily” work:
Sign onto my computer – HA! Bet you do this too.
Check my work e-mail.
Verify my work and due dates. Sometimes I’m sent an e-mail with work that is due last week or ASAP. Sometimes I am deep into a project. Some projects go into many, many off-work hours. At that point. STOP! No community for me.
Wait, I might have a question. I might have bookmarked a blog that will help. In that case I visit quickly and leave. Consuming the rich knowledge that is here.
I don’t have pressing work issues
Yes, of course there is always something at work. But I take my hour of training time if needed and explore the community. Or sign on an hour early, and check things out.
There aren’t a lot of blogs if you check them daily. So I just look through them all. If a title interests me, I check it out. If it is something I may use or use in the future – I bookmark it.
There is a lot of everything out there. Interesting blogs not just about SAP, but about your career in general.
Next a great community member, Joachim Rees , told me, “If you like a blog comment”. Someone has taken the time to write that blog, and would love to see comments. So I try to leave a quick comment. Sometimes, I can’t think of anything to say so I just click on the “Like Button” at the top of the page. Sometimes I disagree, then I still comment. Sometimes… Well you get the picture.
Blog comments – What’s in it for me?
Those people that wrote the interesting blog will have some encouragement to continue to blog.
Positive comments about the subject might mean that they blog more about it. And I learn more. By the way a positive comment doesn’t mean I agree with the blog.
I disagree with the blog. So I comment about what I disagree on. That doesn’t mean I comment, “You are wrong”. It means I comment – I disagree because… Hopefully that will generate some interesting discussion. in the comments. Sometimes the comments make me change my mind. Sometimes, I still disagree, but I learn a lot more.
I don’t think what is written is correct. Perhaps it is a development solution and it uses an old technique. I comment about it it. Basically I suggest that XYZ should be ABC. I don’t say you are so stupid, or don’t you know better. Why? Because I can guarantee at some point I have written XYZ. Also think about how brave that person was to write the blog. Add to that there are about 1000 different ways a person can do the same thing in SAP. Perhaps my way is not correct. Or perhaps my way can’t be done on different versions of SAP.
So at the end of all these words… Blog comments help me learn more about the subject.
Next Question and Answers
Those are harder. I do have my strengths and I try to visit those. I look through the days questions or as much of it as I can. I can usually tell what I can answer and what I can’t. Remember if you had a question and someone answered, you save time. So now you have some to answer questions. Pay it forward.
Some questions are written with the details that I can help. Some have been asked many times. Those I answer and try to give them a way to search. Then I try to answer. Some I have questions on the question and I may comment.
If you have a question and someone answered mark it accepted and close it. There are many blogs and pages about how to do this. I like this one.
At this point I’m not going to put a lot about writing questions here. I have written about them indirectly and so have so many other people. Question writing is an art.
My personal opinion has not been changed from the above blog – the only bad question is the question that hasn’t been asked. And yes, please do some research prior to asking. Okay. Moving on.
What else? Well at that point I usually move on to my work for the day. <Sigh> of course I’d much rather play here.
But wait there is more. When I have the chance.
There are more of them than I need. But they are excellent resources. They are quick to do and easy to finish. If you don’t have the system then you can create one.
And to really get some great training I go to open SAP. Free SAP training courses. I try to get to the ones that will help my job.
All the cool kids hang out here. Just kidding. This is an area of just plain fun discussion. It brings the community together. It also helps you get to know different community members that “play” here. It’s not a daily stop for me either. But I do have fun with some of the discussions when I can.
Questions and Blogs Revisited
As time permits, I write blogs. I’m trying to follow DJ Adams lead. In other words, I’m trying to blog more. I’m also trying to release my blogs on Wednesday. Deep thoughts? Perhaps. Sometimes things just are on my mind. Sometimes, I have written a comment and want to write more. Sometimes… Well again you get the picture.
Yes, I also ask questions too. Not surprisingly, I usually get some great ideas or answers. Sometimes I don’t get a complete answer but it points me in the right direction. Sometimes I write my question incorrectly, and it needs to be fixed.
Back at you!
So do you use the community differently? Do you use anything that I don’t? Comment away.
Great post, Michelle, I really enjoyed it. I'm commenting for many of the reasons you've mentioned in the post, too - how about that for meta! 🙂
Keep up the great work, and I'm looking forward to reading some more deep thoughts. Until next Wednesday!
Consider me encourage. Thank you for the kind words.
I have my community overview as my work browser homepage, so it comes up at least once per day. The "Followed Content" widget filters the blogs and questions on my topics of interest. Takes me just a few seconds to scan and maybe a few minutes to read or answer.
Nice tip. I'll have to try doing that.
Your day in the life discussion jogged my memory banks about the CC post I authored many moons ago: Home..Home on the [Community] Range... It was an attempt to understand how/where people first enter the community, and then where they wander or roam after that. Although you didn't respond with comments or disagreement, it does fall into a categorical gray area since it's in the CC and more of a blog that is in the q&a site. I am intrigued if the TechEd UX/UI released changes have altered anyone's approaches or made their community site experiences easier and therefore better.
In today's case, it was actually a 'New blog post' email notification that informed me of your blog and it's catchy 'Deep Thoughts' title 🙂 Perhaps a lesser used feature/setting and depending upon how many tags you follow or how busy the collective blog roll would be within your range of followed tags, this may be a feature too overwhelming to enable for some members. Since switching it on, I've been able to deflect or ignore many emails flying through during the peak TechEd blogging season, but it does give me a quick scan on author name, title, and first 'x' characters of the blog, so if there is one that I want to read I can go there directly, or keep the email in my Inbox for later, etc. Call it a poor man's RSS feed I suppose.
I like it!!! When I’m busy I could catch some things that I might miss otherwise. Moving to CC now.
Only an amazing person could think of the title - Not me in case you are wondering "Has she lost her mind".
If I hit a problem or just need a break at work, I either stand up, get some coffee, or dip into SCN answers. A typical session might be 30s to scan the first page, take a minute or two on an interesting question, maybe fire off an answer, get back to what I’m doing.
That’s what I used to do, but with each platform iteration it gets harder, so I’ve pretty much given up now.
No giving up. That’s not allowed. So okay it is allowed. Maybe you could say – like I did – just taking a break from the community. After my break, I wrote a rant. Then I tried to walk the walk and add value here. Not to mean you haven't. You've been adding value for a long time.
It is fairly easy for me to navigate to the question and answer for my followed tags. I bookmarked it. If you are talking about the questions, it seems like it is a bit harder to answer them. Not going into that here.
I agree about moving away from the problem and then back at it. Then honestly it’s not here that I go to. It is google. But usually google takes me to the archive. So it is the “community” giving me an answer.
Hey Mike, long time no speak! For me the experience is quite different - dipping into the system to continue drafting a blog post, comment on other posts, or to see if there are any questions that I might be able to answer on the tags I follow, etc - that's a lot easier these days, especially compared to Jive.
I'm wondering, how exactly is it a lot easier? What advantages do you find that did not exist pre-2016? Would love to get more details on this.
Answering questions has not been in any way simpler for me. Not because Jive was a better platform but because:
(1) complexity has been introduced in 2016 by separating comments and answers which is clearly not working out on this website ;
(2) this complexity is poorly supported by the notification process and recent changes (no Reply button on comments and "unanswered" filter) have made it even worse;
(3) repeated FAQs / impossible to answer questions with no details that are no longer moderated.
I don't answer questions anymore, so problem solved for me. Personally, I've always drafted the blogs in Word but now I don't care about that either tbh.
Hey Jelena, for me, the WordPress-based blogging mechanism is more stable, the autosave (and explicit save) works, the formatting facilities are more than good enough, and so on. Add this to the fact that I stay logged in throughout drafting a post, and it makes for a very pleasant and almost issue free writing situation. I do remember writing posts in an external tool (I used Google Docs) before posting the entire draft into the Jive-based editor, because there had been challenges (for me) with the features I listed earlier.
For finding questions to answer, I use the "unanswered" filter. I follow a small number of certain tags, so I can check each one in turn. There's not much more to it than that.
Commenting on blog posts? That's easy too. I just hit "Reply" and start typing. For me as a keyboard user, even the "Submit Reply" button is in the "right" place, as I can just hit "Tab -> Enter" to finish and post my comment.
This may all sound a little facile, but it's because I really don't have any challenges with what I need to do. I have in the past (and it's a long past), but not these days. And this is me speaking as a long time user of SDN/SCN/SAP Community first and foremost.
Thanks for a reply! It seems that the most advantages of the new platform were on the blogging side. Again, for me personally this is of little importance as Word is my "blogging platform". 🙂 I really have no input on this, it's fine.
If you're using "unanswered" filter you might be surprised to learn that recently it was changed. If there was at least one answer posted to the question, whether it's correct or even helpful or even an actual answer, the question is now considered "answered". Well, my question, for example, already has 3 answers but none of them actually answered the question. Doesn't matter, says the filter, you got your 1 answer, move on.
Unfortunately, the shortcomings of the current platform are not apparent to those who don't spend a lot of time doing Q&A. And, unfortunately, it seems that whoever is making decisions is more influenced by the "mostly blogger, occasional random question answerer" persona than "answer many questions and follow up on them to make sure OP gets full answer" persona. Depending on what one does on this web site, they get exposed to different functionality. I'm not sure there is sufficient understanding of different usage patterns.
Hi DJ, yes, a very long time.
I’m not even talking about Jive, quite simply I hate vertical lists and they’ve really gone to town on them. I rarely use that word, but I really am fed up with the ‘new design’. On a 15″ MacBook screen I can see all of 2 questions on the landing page. Two.
The vast majority of us are information workers. We want information presented in an efficient manner to be able to consume it easily. Two question titles on a page fails miserably.
This format isn’t, it’s mentally draining. I come here to take a break, not for mental effort. I enjoy Q&A because I learn a lot from it. But the good stuff (and that includes good beginner questions!) is in the minority and that’s why we need an efficient way to skim through to make it workable.
In a PHPBB forum I can see 10-15 questions. I can skim a web page of 20 questions in 5-10 seconds with just a single scroll or page-down, and popular topics are hilighted in a non-obtrusive way..
Reminiscent of the original SDN? Yep! The old-old-old and the old-old SDN had a similarly horizontal arrangement. I liked the early SDN for the easy to read format and layout. I didn’t like Jive, I liked the new thing even less, and the latest incarnation is just visually horrible and hard work.
To me it’s like reading code plastered with commented out code and useless comments, leaving maybe a 30% of real statements.
Stay away for corporate iPad or iPhone, otherwise your day will start like this:
Wake Up > snooze the alarm > check email> snooze alarm> get coffee> snooze alarm 🙂 🙂
Great blog, thanks for sharing!
That wouldn't be a bad way to start the day - some days.
Great post Michelle 🙂
My favorite way of skimming through the blog posts is by using a RSS reader. I got feeds by subject (like SAP Analytics Cloud or post by the Mentors) and it is a lot easier to filter out and not miss anything.
Another vote for RSS. I really have to start using it more.
I often stated (in Comments 🙂 ) , how cool I think RSS is, but I have not yet bloged about it.... maybe some day, I will!
Wow, thanks for the shout-out, Michelle!
And yes, comments are great and often valuable content! (One reason I so often asked to have them linked in profiles - nice to have that now).
Sometimes, when I blog about one specific aspect, I leave out other, relating aspects, and explicitly say so.
An example, where this worked out nicely, is this little piece on namespaces.