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John Appleby

7 tips for posting content on SCN

Posted by John Appleby in About SCN on Jan 30, 2014 2:22:23 AM

This isn't SAP sponsored content, it is just my opinion. This blog follows on from the SCN Rules of Engagement and points out seven "Don'ts" of SCN Content... according to me, anyhow!

 

I hope you enjoy... and don't take it too seriously.

 

1) Don't... Write "Great Blog/Document/Post" comments

 

I really appreciate it when people read my content, and even more if they enjoy it. I like it when people Like or Rate my content - it gives great feedback on what content is enjoyed the most. The bookmarks feature is useful because I can see which content is used as reference material for people to come back to. Thank you if you give feed back.

 

It's also great when people comment on content - either to agree, disagree, give some feedback, or ask a question. In my opinion, the best blogs are those that have the best content in the comments.

 

But... if you post "Great Blog", then it doesn't add any value to anyone and they appear in the timeline everyone watching the blog. Take this blog for example. There are 48 comments and I counted 20 that basically say "good blog". I'm not a points gamer but I'd sure take the 20*(5+2)=140 points for 5 stars and a like for each person

 

So if you like a blog... "like it". If you have feedback or a question, then comment.

 

2) Don't... Have high expectations of people in Forums

 

I sometimes hang out in the SAP HANA forums. Like most people on SCN (apart from a handful of SAP employees), I'm not paid to do it, and it's a very part time thing. But, I (like a huge number of people here) love to try and help out... where I can. There are two things that really frustrate me.


First, when someone doesn't provide enough information for an answer, so there is back and forward. Take a few minutes when you post a question to consider what the information required is. Provide as much as you can, including code samples, simple sample data. Chances are that I scour the forums when I have 15 minutes to spare - if I reply needing more information then unfortunately I may not come back. Sorry

 

Second, when there is some expectation of me doing all the work, I get double frustrated. I suspect sometimes that especially new members think that there are people paid to be in the forums. Please be nice to people who are helping out and don't demand effort especially if you fall into the first category.

 

3) Don't... Pimp your content

 

Every product at SAP is no doubt fighting for development resource, time and attention. I'd like to specifically take my hat off to the Lumira Data Geek Team, Nic Smith, Mimi Spier and team, for what they did with the Data Geek Challenge. This, combined with the Big Data Bus and Lumira Personal Edition meant that the new Lumira Space in SCN got a huge amount of attention. This was a great way to get attention on SCN and a good way to pimp Lumira.

 

Another awesome example of how to do it is the SAP HANA Academy content. Love it.

 

However there are just as many people who post stuff on SCN to pimp their content. To my mind, SCN content (no... any content) should be informational first.

 

4) Don't... Copy and Paste


There is a rule in the SCN Rules of Engagement about not copying and pasting from SAP documentation. The other thing that people do is to write a piece of content for one purpose, and to upload it to SCN.


If you mean to write a blog... then if you want people to consume it, then you should post it as a blog, nicely formatted (or have a go at least, I'm hardly a master designer ). Same with a document. Some things are nice as PDFs, to safe for safekeeping. But in most cases, it's just frustrating when people write "This is how I did XXX" and upload a Word document they wrote for some other purpose.


In short - if you want to educate and help people with your content, then take the time to format it properly. It will get 10x the views and 10x the appreciation.

 

5) Don't... Spread         Out          Your          Content

 

Sometimes I write a multi-article blog. I actually generally actively avoid it, because if I say Part 1 of 2, I will probably never get around to writing Part 2. That's because I'm part-millennial and lose interest. Sometimes however an article is long enough that I break it into two pieces with distinct topics. That's ok, in my book.

 

However what some people do is to split one document/blog into 2/3/4/5 pieces and post them separately, for the purposes of getting more points or views, I suppose. Please don't do this, it's really frustrating especially when they are attachments! Instead, see the previous point and take the time to format your content in a way that people would like to read.

 

6) Don't... Hijack someone else's content


This is a pet peeve of mine. Please don't link to your blog from someone else's blog with "I know you read this, so you really need to read mine". I'm not sure why but I find this frustrating! Instead, link to someone else's content from yours. It's just the right thing to do.

 

It always feels to me like someone is trying to push their agenda ahead of yours. If you have to - maybe you can include the context of why your opinion is different, and include a link. But just to put the link and one line is strangely wrong.

 

7) Don't do... Le Blabla

 

The French have a great phrase for this - say it out loud and you will get it. As Mark Twain said: 'I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.', and this is true for content creation. Take the time to make it concise. It will get easier with time. There is nothing worse than verbose content on a site like this, unless you have an excellent writing style (and most of us don't ).

 

Final Words

 

I don't think that people are generally inherently bad, or want to frustrate other people. I suspect most people on SCN do so because they want to, or because some corporate goal asks them to. And getting content right is tough - I've been writing for years and I still mess up from time to time. In a big way

 

If you're starting out in SCN, I hope these 7 tips help you write content which is more informative to others. This is my biggest tip to you. Informative content gets views, likes, bookmarks, 5 Stars and therefore POINTS. Most people on SCN like it when they are awarded points; there are a few hardcore points haters but the rest of us feel good when someone says they like the content.

 

If you focus on helping other people with easy to read, well structured, concise content, then you will be rewarded. If you focus on yourself, points gaming or rushing content out, then you will lose out in the long term.

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