Dear SAP Community,
Let me begin by stating that I’ve always been a fan of online communities like this one where asking for and getting help, sharing information and also having some fun every once in a while is possible and encouraged. As many of you know, I haven’t been an active and contributing member for very long and therefore haven’t had to live through some of the apparently “painful” updates applied to this space. I have however greatly benefited from a lot of free advice provided to my own and others’ questions and I’m very grateful for that.
Of late, I’ve noticed not just some but quite a lot of frustration and disenchantment creeping in caused by what’s sometimes perceived and called out as deliberate negligence by SAP regarding the SAP Community. It crops up in many questions/responses (e.g. from Jelena Perfiljeva here or Vadim Kalinin here), in blog posts (e.g. Michelle Crapo here) and comments to them, even – and most conspicuous – in the coffee corner (e.g. Matthew Billingham here or Raphael Pacheco here). I’m really sad to see this and am wondering how to halt this apparent downward spiral before too many long-time and valued contributors jump ship.
Personally, I think, that what is currently going on here, isn’t anything new – it has happened over and over again in many other communities. To illustrate this, let me repost a link which I already shared as a comment a while ago, but it fits into my open letter as well I think – even though times and means of communicating online have obviously changed a lot since “The Life Cycle of A List” was initially posted to an email list in 1995. Having been involved with many different online communities over the last couple of years, at least some of the bullet items still hold true as far as I can tell. They may not be all completely applicable to SAP Community, but all in all I’d say it’s an “oldie but goldie”:
Why am I even bothering to write this letter? Being an eternal optimist, I still think that we can turn this ship around but it’ll obviously take some effort and goodwill from everybody involved. For starters, I’d like to suggest creating a kind of open forum where everybody gets a chance to really lay out what’s causing frustrations and disengagement. I don’t mean just another “rant-thread” on Q&A or in the Coffee Corner. Instead, I’d like to see us talking with each other, community members from across the globe with SAP employees who are involved with and/or in charge of SAP Community.
The technology to do this is already in place and I don’t see a reason why the SAP Community Calls couldn’t offer a regular platform for some open and face to face – even if virtual – discussions between all participants. Any thoughts about this Craig Cmehil & Jason Cao?
Here is hoping for some good and constructive discussions prompted by my letter!
Cheers from Germany