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Personal Insights

Better Sorting of Blog Content via Categorization

The primary tags for blog posts help authors target the right readers (by indicating the topic they’re writing about) — and help readers find the content they want (by allowing them to search for and follow tagged content that matches their interests) The thing is though a tag has limitations when serving up content. After all, a tag can be fairly broad and apply in many different sorts of blog posts.

Let’s take the ABAP Connectivity tag as an example. A blog post with the ABAP Connectivity tag could be about all sorts of things related to this topic. For example, I might want to write about an upcoming product announcement dedicated to ABAP Connectivity. Or about how ABAP Connectivity sessions at an event. Or some tips and tricks from a coding perspective around ABAP Connectivity coding.

In all of those cases, the ABAP Connectivity tag applies. But for readers and authors alike, the wide range of possibilities muddies the blogging waters. What if you’re interested in the product information relevant to ABAP Connectivity but you are not attending any events so things related to an event are not really the top of your mind? With tagging alone, you might have to trudge through the latter to get to the former. In other words, if you follow the ABAP Connectivity tag or search for it, you’ll find all ABAP Connectivity posts lumped together — regardless of context.

With all of that in mind, we have introduced a new category structure to the blog system — allowing visitors to sort content more finely.

If you go to the blog section now, you’ll see an option to choose tags (nothing new there), as well as a new option to sort by these categories:

  • Technical Articles: Posts in this category help people get the most out of their SAP software by giving technical tips and diving deeply into best practices for developers using the software. Here’s an example.
  • Personal Insights: A blog post under this category will explore a topic of personal interest to the author — allowing him or her to share knowledge about career development, life experiences, and more. Here’s an example. (Come to think of it, this blog post also qualifies for the “Personal Insights” category because…uh…I’m sharing my insights about the role that blog categories play in my life and…um…OK, I admit it: This is a stretch. To be completely honest, this blog post shouldn’t even be a blog post. It contains information that we normally limit to the “What’s New” page — and you will indeed find an item about these categories there. But knowing that people will have questions about the new categories, I decided to do a blog post to give people the ability to leave comments…and to give us a way to respond directly.)
  • Product Information: This category applies to any blog post that covers features and explains functionality for an SAP offering or related product. Here’s an example.
  • Business Trends: These blog posts demonstrate thought leadership by tackling broader trending topics relevant to the world of business software. Yeah, I know: Business Trends is already a tag. So why have a tag and category with the same name? Consider: A blog post with the Business Trends tag might detail the author’s ups and downs in the software industry — in which case it’s a proper fit for the Personal Insights category. On the other hand, a blog post that focuses on economic issues in a specific industry would belong in the Business Trends category, but the post itself would get the applicable industry tag. In these examples, neither blog post would appeal to developers in search of product details and best practices, so between the tag and category, readers would have an easier time pinpointing technical content (by sifting out general business topics). Conversely, business leaders looking for information about what’s influencing the software market (and have little to no interest in code and the like) could use the Business Trends tag and/or category to avoid the technical posts.
  • Event Information: With this category, authors can share their points of view about any type of event (online or in the real world), explaining the benefits of attendance or even recapping things that happen during the event. Here’s a great example from a very gifted writer.

Now if you clicked on the links for the examples above, you might have noticed that these blog posts don’t actually have any categories assigned to them. Also, if you go to the blog section and sort by categories, you won’t see many results. That’s because the new categories are mandatory for blog posts moving forward. We’ll do our best to assign categories to older blog posts over time (and we’ve started with some already), but with so much content already published, we decided to focus on new posts.

You might also have noticed that I used the word “mandatory” in the previous paragraph. As in: “mandatory categories.” That means exactly what you think it means. Just as writers must choose a primary tag before publishing a post, they must also now choose a category.

This new approach may take some time to get used to, and the right category choice may not always be obvious (which, again, is why I wanted to offer more details about the categories here while also inviting people to ask questions). Long term, however, categories will make it easier for members to find the content that interests them (and exclude the content that doesn’t).

In the meantime, we’ll be monitoring feedback, and, if necessary, we can revise, remove, add, etc., categories…just as we did with tags. But I can categorically state that categories as a concept are here to stay — as we take more steps to improve the SAP Community experience.

13 Comments
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  • Hi Craig Cmehil

    a good addition to make the stream much clearer. Thank you for explaining it in detail. At Teched2016 there was a preview from Jamie Cantrell about new features. When I remember correct, there was something like a tree-navigation with tags planned. Is this feature gone forever and this is the replacement or are these features (tree + the others) still on the roadmap?

    • Forever is a strong word, from a roadmap perspective we are still working to get several foundational pieces into place and once we are on more solid footing we will be sharing more regularly planned items but I simply don’t feel comfortable sharing planned items until I am sure they are actually going to hit the site. For example you might have saw how we did share several items with the moderators now so going forward moderators will be getting more information followed by the broader community.

      More of a tangent I guess there but for your specific question and the tree thing I can’t really say at the moment.

  • Thanks for the update, Craig!

    Would it help if we updated our already published blog posts with the category as time allows? It’s a fairly quick thing to do “on the fly” whenever viewing one of our own blog  posts. And even going through the list of published blog posts wouldn’t take too long for many of us (but this obviously depends on the number of blog posts published!).

  • Wow, this is great!. I like this time to read feature in Medium and now it is here which is great!. These small small improvements goes a long way in enhancing the overall experience.

    Nabheet

  • I think I can now say that the SCN has turned the corner, and is now better than it was before the upgrade. Lots of tiny improvements over the last year have all added up.

    We all know that upgrades are painful, but worthwhile in the end.

    Putting SAP in is a case in point. Much as the truth hurts, in a staggeringly high number of cases, the day after go-live the new (SAP) system does not work as well as the legacy system. Nonetheless, making the change was the correct decision – it is just a question of how long until the new SAP system matches and then overtakes the old system. In the end you end up better off than had you stayed put.

    The problem is that often by the point the new system becomes better than the old system, so much time has passed that people have forgotten all the problems and shortcomings in the old system and view it through rose tinted spectacles as some kind of paradise.

    Cheersy Cheers

    Paul

  • I’m sorry to piggy-back on this, but can’t find help on it anywhere.  Before my major upgrade project took my attention in October I was able to search for text and filter it by category (Solution Manager).  Now I search and get all community results with no filters visible or obvious.  I could also go to my category of choice and view all questions and blogs together sorted descending by date.

    I know it’s probably me, but is there something I’m missing?  I was starting to get used to the “new” community.

    Thanks,

    Mike Dumas

    • Hi Michael Dumas sorry for the struggle there, when things switched to the whole tagging concept I understand folks lost a bit of clarity along the way and hopefully the last few rounds of changes have helped there. For “Solution Manager” for example you can follow the tag, https://answers.sap.com/tags/01200615320800000636, and then from your profile “followed activities” https://activities.sap.com/#/activities you can usually keep up in general with what’s what there. Or even the “Content” section of your profile, https://people.sap.com/#content. In some cases there may be a community page created (104 and increasing already in place) https://www.sap.com/community/topics.html

      This is how I follow the “SAP Community” tag and all the things that are coming in that way.  From the tag page I can sort, filter, etc.

      I of course also have my email notifications turned on and such as well, those are under the profile communication section, https://people.sap.com/#communications

      Hopefully that helps if I am completely off the mark on what you are asking let me know.

       

      • Hi Craig,

        Thanks for the quick response.  I found what I used to experience by default in your content link which has the sort and filter features intact.  Does the content display also include blogs?  That would return it to my previous experience.

        I may have spoke too soon.  All I see in the results are posts which I’m part of.  I would like to see all posts which meet my search criteria.

        Thanks again,

        Mike Dumas