Asking & Answering in the Discussions
Welcome! Before publishing, please familiarize yourself with the rules of engagement and Community Guidelines. If you do not respect these rules, SAP may delete your user ID and all the points you gained will be removed as well. Your previous contributions on SCN will appear under the name "Guest" or "[Name] (disabled)".
Also before publishing please read this important blog post by an active discussions moderator Rob Burbank: Asking Good Questions in the Forums to get Good Answers
Step 1: Search for an Answer
Rule number one: Try to find the answer first. There are tons of resources out there, show that you have tried to find the answer. A question that shows that the person is willing to try and help themselves is more likely to be answered than one which simply demands information. Tell us what you have done to try and solve the problem yourself - often we can learn from that too!
Obviously you should check SAP's online help, and if you have not looked for SAP Notes you should make the readers aware of this. Many SCNers are very helpful and will even search for SAP Notes for you if you don't have that possibility yourself, but many will assume that you have already searched for SAP Notes.
Search the discussions, the documents, the blog posts and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in the Wiki for your topic.
Step 2: Ask Your Question
Once you have verified that no resources are available for solving your problem, ask your question. Do the following:
- Use a Good Subject Line
The subject header is your golden opportunity to attract qualified experts' attention in around 50 characters or less. Use keywords in your subject line to be as clear as possible what your question is about. Don't waste it on babble like "Workflow question". We all have busy jobs, often we just skim through the list headings and read those that interest us. Also, DO NOT reply to an unrelated post to ask a different question. This confuses those reading the thread and may lose people that would be interested in your question. Always start a new topic with a new mail.
Vague subject line: Urgent problem with workflow
Clear subject line: Error after transport: "Inconsistent workflow definition"
Do not use words in capital letters and any of the words: urgent, quickly, burning, etc in your message. Especially not in the title!
The same goes for such things as ??? or !!! in appends. In the English language one ? or ! is sufficient to terminate a sentence.
- Only One Question Per Post
Create a separate post for each question that you have. Don't ask multiple questions in one posting, this is confusing for people and your questions might not get answered, since the subject line does not reflect all your problems. If a new and unrelated question comes up during a discussion, start a new one.
- Provide Enough Information
For starters, please tell us which version and type of system you're working on - e.g. SAP R/3 4.6C or SRM 4.0 (EBP 5.0). If your question is regarding an error, include that in the message. If it is a request for info, please be specific. Questions such as "How do I administer workflow" are vague, tell us exactly what you want to know - "I'm the administrator, how do I forward work items to another agent?". If it's a big query, its better to break it down into separate questions.
- Do Not Ask to Send You an Email
The question you ask and the solution to it is often also interesting for other users of the community. If you ask somebody to send you the answer per email, you deprive others of also learning to know the answer. Therefore any requests for sending material or answers to an email address will be modified by the discussion moderators.
In addition, do not use an email address as a user name. These will be removed as well. Email addresses can be added to a Business Card or wiki profile. Their usage in the discussions is inappropriate unless we are referring to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Re-Read Your Query Before Submitting
Put yourself in a reader's position - does the question make sense? Can I understand the problem? Is this enough information to be able to answer the problem?
This is a very valuable technique, because many questions end up answering themselves when you read them carefully. It also leads to better questions. Many readers like good questions, especially if they are thought-provoking and thus help all of us understand things better. This is one of the main reasons many experienced consultants read the list regularly.
- Why is Nobody Answering Your Question?
There may be a variety of reasons:
1) Never assume that you are entitled to an answer. Remember: this is a community discussions; people have jobs just like you and respond voluntarily. Perhaps nobody knows the answer.
2) Did you give the other users enough time? Don't be impatient. If the question is urgent, go to the official service channels.
3) Is your subject misleading? Have you published in the right space? Your problem description understandable?
- Do Not Cross-Post
Post your question in the most appropriate space; not multiple spaces. This is bad netiquette and will might aggravate potential repliers. Doo not post the same document or blog in multiple spaces. This is bad practice from many perspectives. It is bad for SEO. Multiple versions of the same content will be ranked lower in Google search results than if there were a single version. search engine optimization (SEO), and do
- Do Not Repeatedly Try to "Bump" Your Question to the Top of the Stack
If you comment on your own question as a tactic to push it to the top of the recent activity list, you will be warned and could lose your membership.
Step 3: Provide Feedback and an Update
Finally, it's nice to follow up with a brief update if you found the solution. People may try to help not because they know the answer, but because they are interested in solving the same problem; or people may just encounter the same issue in the future and be searching the archives. It's a good way to give back to the community, irrespective of whether you are a beginner or an expert.
Step 4: Thank Others by Giving Points
SCN has a Reputation Program. Which in short text means that for each question you have 10 points, which can be given to the person that answers your question. 5 points should also be given for helpful answers. Please note that you do not need to explain that "points will be awarded". We should all know how the discussions works.
Step 5: Answer Other's Questions
The community lives by people like you, trying to help others. When you see an unanswered question where you think you can answer, do so and help the poster. Remember to be polite and if you do not completely understand a question and need more details, request more information from the poster.
- Do Not Ask for Points
Discussions should be firstly about information exchange; points are an incentive and a way of saying thanks.
Asking for points is like asking someone to say "thank you": The only time we do this in real life is when teaching a child good manners. Saying it to an adult is insulting, so why do it in the discussions? If someone keeps asking questions without awarding points, simply stop answering them or use the abuse button to report it.
- Do Not Answer Your Own Question
You won't get any points for it. If you use this strategy to bump your question to the top of the stack, you will be warned and might lose your membership.
- Provide materials as attachment to a post.
As helpful material is, do not forget that other users might also be interested in your documents. Do not send them as email to the asking poster, but include them in your answer or in the appropriate wiki section. Its also possible to provide a publicly available link. This way you not only serve others but also yourself, by avoiding dozens of posts also asking for your material.
- Do Not Reproduce Copyrighted Material
Do not offer copyrighted material, where you do not own the copyright. Soft copies of books, certification material, etc. often is copyrighted and even if you got it through other sources, do not send it around. The authors of this material have a right to have their material protected.
Why worry? At the end of the day, all of us are human, and a small recognition goes a long way. This way, you win in getting a good answer. The person answering gets that warm feeling of having helped and with enough points gets a small reward.
SCN is a community that lives for and from its users. Which means when asking a question, you also assume the responsibility to assign the points. Its recommended that you assign5 or 10 points once to the answer/person that helped you the most. See also FAQ.
SCN is a place where developers meet other developers and Business Process Experts meet others. One takes the time to see the problems other developers, consultants, experienced end users and business process experts are facing, the time to read possible solutions (to learn), and maybe one day the time to answer some questions.
- Self Advertising
You are your best representative. By being knowledgeable, polite, and community spirited others will want to know your thoughts. Perhaps they will be interested in your company, solution etc. Please be sure to share that pertinent information in your business card. It should not be displayed in your discussion signature.
- Use Proper Language
The language that you use in the discussions should not hurt the co-SCNer. Please don't use curse, slang, inappropriate or otherwise offensive language. Every professional has the responsibility to maintain good relationship/environment around. This is a community but a professional one please keep that in mind as you converse with others here. Any abuses should be reported to the moderators if no acceptable resolution can be found.
Please also avoid 'txt spk'. Many people are not native English speakers and using abbreviated slang makes it more difficult to understand. Apart from that, it is also unprofessional. Write as if you are communicating with your boss (or an English colleague of theirs!)
Text in this message was borrowed from
- Brian McKellar and the BSP discussion, SAP Business Workflow FAQ by Mike Pokraka
and from the community as a whole.