The Right Answers for SAP Community
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?
Super idea and that too flexible one. I like it.
That's a great idea, Craig. It's pretty frustrating to answer questions and never know if the person was able to solve their problem. I don't care so much for the upvotes (although the new https://blogs.sap.com/2019/05/27/introducing-a-serious-mission-with-a-fun-twist-hitchhiker/ Hitchhiker mission will change that!) but I am always curious to know how someone solved the problem.
I've been upping my own upvote game too - it's not that hard to do!
It was awesome to see it being purposed so to speak and happy we can accommodate it, at least manually to start with!
It won't work for everything but estimates right now are running into the 1000s
Thanks for the shout out Craig Cmehil and really like this! The ability for the person asking the Question to override I think is a really good one and definitely agree with the automated acceptance of answers. If the person can close the question entirely that would be even better!
We are also working on an automatic "closing" feature as well but that one is seemingly more complex due to the the fact some questions are automatically out of date as soon as the next cloud based release is done but others because the cloud based question may not be release specific. Which then also applies to on prem based on SP or patch level releases so the logic is getting really complex to automate so we are pausing on that to make sure we rethink it the right way.
I think that there's an important difference in accepting an answer and closing a thread which makes the former a lot more suitable for automation than the latter: accepting an answer has the included benefit of "giving credit where credit is due" as whoever provided the selected answer receives karma points for their efforts. Closing a thread doesn't have that type of benefit but has the drawback that it prevents further discussion on the topic/question. I have many Q&A threads with "answer accepted" which I still leave open as they are somewhat open ended and don't have a right/wrong type of answer. And I don't see any harm in keeping them open indefinetely. Better to keep such a thread "open for business" than having somebody else create a very similar thread and thereby just creating redundancy.
Closing a question prevents further comments or answers? I wasn't aware of that. I thought it just made it much more obvious in overview lists that the question was dealt with and not still awaiting answers. More obvious than accepting an answer does, anyway.
With this in mind, I may need to rethink my own habit of closing questions as soon as I think they're answered.
Yes, sounds like it needs some serious thought around the process and what happens as product offerings change. Good that time is being taken - complexity needs additional thought time to make sure all avenues are thought of. Thanks for providing the additional context.