Skip to Content
Event Information

Community Challenge: Answer-Thon 2021

Recently, I read the book “Wolf 21” (full title: “The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone’s Legendary Druid Pack”), and, while it has little specific to do with enterprise software application management, it touched on the concept of solo versus teamwork. In a quote from a public television documentary “Inside Animal Minds”, Brian Hare of Duke University stated, “what is going to be favored are things that lead to better cooperation so that you can work together to solve problems that otherwise you can’t solve on your own.”

Does this extend to questions on SAP? I think so. Instead of reading a manual, or onscreen help, you go to the community with a problem. Or, sometimes, a solution. Cooperation in helping the pups (Wolf 21’s offspring/”freshers” in here, sometimes) learn the logic of the code, the possible input parameters, or the myriad of bugs/challenges can help the senior person as well as the junior. Asking a question and expecting answers is the general premise, but if everyone just asked and never answered, this would be a ghost town.

In late 2020, I and other SAP Champions worked on the first iteration of our SAP Community “Answerthon”,where we looked at unanswered, but popular (by some search metrics), questions and provided answers or took other appropriate actions. Now, we are bringing a new spin to this quest with a challenge open to all community members, regardless of prior contribution level. We looked for interesting questions in various topic spaces and tagged them for future reference. The basic requirement is the questions are not yet answered. How is this different than the long-standing expectation that you give and not just take anyway? For one thing, we hope we have curated questions that are worthy of attention to many, not just one. For another thing, instead of the small reward of having your answer accepted (“check, check”), the SAP Community team will be awarding new specially crafted Answerthon badges.

For the impatient, I’ll list the contest rules first, then vocalize on the topic of providing answers.

What: SAP Community Summer(N)/Winter(S) Answer-Thon Contest (in other words, “BADGES”!)

Where: Here, on answers.sap.com, with topics in:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud
  • SAP Business Technology Platform
  • SAP HANA
  • User Experience (UX)

Why: See below.

Who: All SAP Community members, with some profile level.

When: Summer (Northern hemisphere) / Winter (Southern); from now until 20-August-2021, 23:59 UTC.

How (Rules):

We will award the winner of the challenge, who has received the highest number of accepted answers among the contest topics.

There will be two badges: one for participating; activities like commenting, liking, upvoting, answering and accepting count as participation. And: one special badge for the winner.

If you need more details, we prepared an opening code challenge. It was sent to me in Javascript syntax, which I refactored into Python, well, based on a very limited poll.

<CODE>
#!/usr/pkg/bin/python3.8
# -*- mode:python -*-
matrix1 = 'tysacigfrteue a ctgo ukhnig'
matrix2 = 'r erhn o h srtgca odlc utn!'
stack = []
i = 0
while i < len(matrix1):
stack.append(matrix1[i])
stack.append(matrix2[i])
i += 1
print("hint:" , ("[{0}]".format('' . join(map(str, stack)))))
</CODE>

 

The first Answer-Thon process looked something like this workflow image:

I had intended to elaborate this drawing but shelved it once we started answering questions and didn’t come back to it until now. I brought the scanned pencil sketch into a drawing package and then added the usual boxes but not arrows.

The current Answer-Thon is open to all community members, and I came up with a different work flow to show general answering steps. Yes, there are value judgments here that are different to quantify, like how many page hits a question has had (how long have they been posted skews looking at 2 similar questions), or how correct are the tags to the question subject.

In general, the site guide pages for Questions & Answers are geared toward asking questions not answering them, as much. I have sketched work flows and tried to elucidate my method for locating interesting questions then classifying the understandability, the depth of background information communicated with the fewest number of words,

  • If a question has no “answers” but has one or more comments, look to see if clarifying details were requested
  • Look at the posters reputation; sometimes you may find a comment from SAP suggesting filling in their profile. Not spending time on that reveal is, revealing.
  • Are the tags correct and specific rather than general or misapplied? You can “Ask A Moderator” to alter tags to fit better. Here are tags jumbled together, in my view. Better to pick 2 or 3 specific rather than 7 almost identical.

 

Other “Ask A Moderator” suggestions are, unfortunately in my view, masked under the category “Other”, well after negative feedback like “cross posting” [duplicate questions by one person], “private information” [which could be just a number or other personally identifiable data], and “spam” [that catch-call for replies that make no sense to the topic, or at all].

What else would you “tell a Mod”? One might have read the post title and thought it a bit vague, or disconnected to the unfurled question. For example, I’ve looked at several that included the term “tooltip,” which narrows the frame of reference to a specific user experience (I call such beasts “hover help”). The gist of the questions, I believe, is a “how to?” How do I put different data in the pop-up, or a different language, or some other action should they click there? Searching led me to a blog post from my friend and former SAP Mentor colleague Graham Robinson, which upon reading led me to another old buddy, Abesh Bhattacharjee, who Robbo blamed/dedicated the post to. In reading the comments (many, but go ahead and read them as the ensuing conversations include much food for thought) I figured out that specific method related to an obsolete API, yet the general coding and requirement-setting are still useful.

How would I suggest revising this question (an old one from 2013)?

Viz Chart – Disable Tooltip

How about forming a question (like, say, on the Jeopardy TV game show):

How can one alter Viz Charts Tooltips (UI5)?

I don’t know about most Moderators, but suggesting basic clarifications should be welcome. You get 60 or 70 characters displayed on the community search pages on one line, though it wraps to multiple lines once you get past 72 (punch card columns, anyone?).

Here’s a well-phrased one-line question:

How can I pass tables entries from UI to Odata as a filter/parameters

I guess the question mark is redundant in a forum with the subdomain name “answers”. 🙂

 

Previously (2015):

The title of an archived question I found, similar to the above about VIZ charts, is “Need dimensions value on in VIZ bar Chart dataselect event.” Just a message number (14139493) in the URL, showing the newer site URL encoding at least captures keywords, and is another reason to enter succinct question topics originally. My only minor tweak of this would be to rearrange “on in” once I understood where the values should go. I’ve italicized dataselect as my spell check says it isn’t a word (hence might be a tag candidate).

 

AnswerThons of the Future:

If we can get time reserved and a few SAP Champions lined up, we’d like to have online sessions to go through methods we use to search and resolve issues. Each new software release brings new features and the community infrastructure evolves to make better access.

Images:

 

“to find and answer questions” is your quest.

Challenge timeline

 

Challenge badges

References:

https://developers.sap.com/tutorials/community-qa.html

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/11/06/first-sap-champion-answer-thon-results-and-plans/

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/11/30/second-sap-champion-answer-thon-day-1/

Kudos:

Prior posts (in case you haven’t seen any):

 

 

6 Comments
You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.