Building upon the #100DaysOfCommunityQA launched by @nabheet-madan3, @phil-cooley recently introduced several challenges of his own. I won’t list them all here — you can see for yourself in Phil’s blog post — but one includes upvoting answers.
Those of us employed for SAP Community love seeing these member-driven initiatives. They exemplify one of the very best things that a good community has to offer: members willing to give back by taking action and encouraging others to make the community better.
On our side, we showed our appreciation for these challenges by spotlighting them. I wrote a blog post about Nabheet’s #100DaysOfCommunityQA, and on social media, the Community & Influencers crew, our SAP developer and IT colleagues, and social media teams retweeted, liked, and even took part in the challenges. It’s been fun to recognize and join in — for example, I was pleased to see that Phil started following me on SAP Community as part of the #FollowSAPMemberChallenge (although I have to admit: Hey, Phil, sorry it took me so long to follow you! ) — but, really, is that the only support we can give to prominent members who are inviting others to become more involved in Q&A? For these efforts — getting members to provide solutions and upvote answers — are likes and retweets really the best we can do?
No. Not at all.
And that’s why I’m happy to share what we’re doing to show true support for these challenges, while also addressing one of the pet peeves that drive members nuts: accepting answers to questions.
There’s been no shortage of conversations and posts and existential reckonings around this topic — with proposals and pleading aplenty. But at the end of the day, no matter what we say, regardless of the guidance that we give, some members will seek help, get the information that they need, and never acknowledge the right answers.
That’s going to change…at least to some degree. If people won’t accept obviously correct answers to their questions, then why not leave it up to the SAP Community to accept on their behalf?
I’m not suggesting we’ll make more work for members. Rather, we’re going to ensure that their upvotes count in the most meaningful way possible.
We are currently developing a new feature that will automatically accept answers after 5+ number of net votes. (By net votes, I mean this: If an answer gets 12 upvotes and 2 downvotes, that still works out to 5+ votes…qualifying it as an acceptable answer.)
This process won’t completely cut off members who asked the questions. Once an answer to their question hits 5+ upvotes, they’ll receive a notification informing them an answer has been accepted. With this awareness, they can agree and close out the question (we hope), unaccept the answer and accept another one (again, with the hope of closing the question), unaccept the answer (and take no further action) — anything they can potentially do now when they visit SAP Community and access their questions.
This functionality will provide many benefits. As previously noted, we’ll reduce the number of questions with unaccepted answers. We’ll give our members the power to determine the right answer (as they are the experts who can best identify the correct solution). We’ll make SAP Community a better resource (because anyone who searches will find more clearly answered questions). And we’ll show that we’re fully behind the members who are doing their part to get more answers to questions, and more upvotes for answers.
Now you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t committed to an exact date of delivery for this new feature, but even without a firm release date, that doesn’t mean we can’t start accepting popular, upvoted answers sooner. We’re just going to do it manually. Once every 14 days, we’ll run a report that identifies answers with 5+ votes, and we’ll go through the process of accepting them ourselves. That will be a bit more work for the Community & Influencers team in the short term, but it’s worth the commitment — especially since it supports the members committed to SAP Community.
So with that in mind, make sure you check out those blog posts about the challenges. Participate however you can. And keep on answering and upvoting the best answers. Working together, we can bring another improvement to the community — and isn’t working together toward improvements what a community is all about?