Our newest moderator spotlight in the series is dedicated to long time SAP Security expert Frank Koehntopp. Read my interview to learn his hidden talent and a bit of his rich community history.
Please share with the Community a little about yourself: I joined SAP in 2005 as a Security Consultant in Germany. My IT history started in 1991 as a QA guy for banking software, which somehow brought me into the realm of IT security. Subsequent jobs as a consultant for internet banking and a product manager for security solutions also added to the security expertise. Doing the Netweaver Security certification in 2004 motivated me to work for SAP, after 6 years on the road with customers teaching and implementing SAP security around Europe I now work in SAP’s product security validation.
I’m a passionate photographer*, and I really enjoyed getting around many locations as a consultant, but it also put a lot of stress on my family life. My new role allows me to be home for dinner with my family most of the time which is a huge plus.
*A side note from Gali: What Frank modestly didn’t share is that his image won a 'Best of the Week' award on Pixoto.com! The lovely picture can be seen here.
What topic do you moderate on SCN? I moderate the Security and GRC forums together with my fellow moderators, both really got immensely popular ever since we started. I’m happy I could assist in the birth of those by being a moderator.
When did you join SCN? I started using online communities back in the 80s with modem based stuff like FIDOnet and Usenet via UUCP. I sometimes claim that at least half of my IT knowledge originates in online communities, which is at least partly true. I value online communities, so I joined SDN immediately when I found out about it.
Please share when and how you joined the moderator community? When I joined SDN there was no place to discuss security related topics. That was kind of a touchy issue, so people were concerned that such discussions would need an extra level of oversight. As a security person in the community I was asked if I would be willing to support the creation of a security forum by acting as a moderator, and I was happy to do that. Since then the security forum has enjoyed a huge amount of popularity and has led to lots of interesting discussions, and not at least improvements for customer systems.
What does your moderator role entail and what is the frequency of your involvement? I used to watch the forums daily through RSS feeds, I still need to grow into the new SCN way of doing things. Moderation mostly is about teaching newbies how the community works, and making sure the activities are directed towards the technology and process topics, and not towards “make points fast” *
*A side note from Gali: This is so very true and now the entire community can help moderators guide through their comments and rating!
Have you ever attended an in person community event such as SAP TechEd or Inside Track? One of the best experiences was TechEd 2009 when a bunch of SDN people and extended Twitterati met in Frankfurt to ride the train to Vienna together – we called it the SAP TechEd Cluetrain. It was huge fun, and we even had the pleasure of having international friends like Marilyn Pratt join the ride.
I can only recommend people come to TechEd, in my opinion it’s THE #1 place to meet other community members. I would go so far that the community aspect was more valuable to me long-term than the actual sessions.
What do you enjoy the most and least about moderating and in your field? I enjoy the different kind of people you encounter there, and how sometimes anonymous ranters turn into actual human friends. I love how the dynamics of online communities often work in your favour and yield unexpected results. What I don’t like is people thinking of SCN as a support activity where they’re entitled to an answer. A community needs people who give as well as take.
Are you in touch with other moderators and if so how? Perhaps an short specific example? Some of the other moderators of the security forum are local SAP colleagues, so I knew them already. But I have also gotten to know a few of the others like Julius, Alex and Matt. It’s a pity there are not more SCN moderator related activities (<hint> <hint>*).
*A side note from Gali: Ok hint taken
What is your favorite topic in SCN (besides yours) and why? Anything mobile and open, like SAPUI5 and Netweaver Gateway. It’s a pity the day only has 24 hours.
If you could offer one bit of advice to new members or new moderators what would it be and why? That’s difficult, there’s still so much of SCN that even I don’t know about. Probably it would be to get on Twitter and find other SCN people, because this is where I feel a lot of personal communication is happening
How has the SCN community helped you? In so many ways…. I have met countless people that have inspired me to look at stuff that I didn’t know yet. You receive all kinds of product or technology related information all day long, but if technology gets a face through a personal blog or video on SCN that’s a totally different experience. I have gotten to know many people that I’m proud to call friends now, which has enriched my professional and personal life.
How are you finding the new SCN? I really really love it. It will take a while until it feels comfortable, but that’s the case for many new services. I love how it puts people in focus, which the old SCN did not manage to do so well. I hope it will encourage people to leave their anonymity more and join the conversation. SCN is so much more than a support forum.
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Frank a little better. Please join me in congratulating him on recently joining the ranks of the SAP Mentor Wolf pack!
Be sure to check out previous interviews in the moderator spotlight showcase.