It was a couple of years ago that I posted a question about how I thought it might be a good idea to have some sort of:
[indicator in the forum lists that could give you an idea of the status of the person posting the question|Re: Display user's points in forum overview against post].
There were many hopeful replies about something to be looked at, but I still have the same issue, and same wish for it to be addressed.
Marilyn Pratt wrote:
>Yes, now I've got it. It would be helpful to you to have the point tally next to the author topic. Then you could decide whether the person asking the question is someone you would like to engage with. Or perhaps that the person asking the question has already answered some and has some "karma" or credit to his/her name.
To go further from Marilyn's reply - I'd not necessarily want to have the point tally shown, but perhaps a couple of different icons:
1) user has less that 10 forum points and less than 10 posts (newbie poster)
2) user has greater than 10 forum post but has many more posts than points (leech)
3) user has greater than 10 forum posts but has many more points than posts ( super contributor )
4) user has greater than 10 forum posts and has similar number of points ( contributor ).
(nb all numbers and ratios purely indicative - I'm not really sure what the stats out there are or whether 10 points is a good point to mark someone as no longer a newbie.) - Perhaps a flag to show that the user is an "Active" contributor which can be easily seen in the forum lists? Obviously there are some contributors who are "super contributors" but have many many posts - quite possibly because they are involved in posting an responding to threads such as this for which they would not get points. I'd not want to have them out of the equation either, nor would I want their status as leaders of the community to be diminished! It's tricky!
Just some little simple visual indicator to show that the poster is not just a "leech" with 198 posts but 0 forum points, but is attempting to actively put back some of what they are getting out of SCN. This may cause some of the more inane questions to be ignored by those of us with less time to spend on the forums, but hopefully it will mean that those who give back - get more back in return as those that answer posts have their posts reviewed earlier by more people.
I think we need to change the way posts are marked as resolved. Now the text for this option says u201CMark as answeredu201D. Change this to u201CMark as no suitable answer foundu201D or something like that. Change the icon that appears beside it to something that indicates this. But give the moderators the opportunity to remove this and ask for an explanation if it appears that suitable answers were given. This would be more work for the moderators, but the community could help out if a new category were added to the abuse button.
Maybe double points can be assigned for question older than X and marked as unanswered, or maybe a contest of some kind can be introduced for the people who would consider reading through these threads as a new challenge or something like that. I guess all of us here has asked a question which has not been answered or you were not content about the answer.
I would like to know the details about the Idea Place. Looks like that is a face to face things. Or is it a introductory meeting and the Idea Place will be a part of SAP web pages? Would be great to elaborate. Just in case this is a secret before the show on SAPPHIRE, can we expect to read a blog or two about it? Like what was the SAPPHIRE experience and what will come next? Thank you for the initiative, this can move us all forward with a lightspeed. Regards Otto
Here are some rather unsorted and incomplete thoughts that pop into my head when I think about the forums and read some of the comments in this thread:
<b>Direction</b>: SAP owns the forums and to me it's unclear where they see the forum's future. What is their vision and if it clashes with the majority of forum users are they still willing to push it?
<b>Quality metrics/Tools</b>: If possible I'd like to see metrics that SAP uses for measuring forum quality, including the impact of forum changes like the introduction of a posting limit. Furthermore it would be nice to understand what tools SAP/moderators have to keep the forums clean (as I'm assuming that people in this thread are posting because they are concerned about the forum quality).
<b>Approach for improving forum quality</b>: I think this truly asks for a <em>moderator</em> willing to go through suggestions and summarizing them in a prominent spot. Why do we need to waste the time of so many people when one person could make our life simple and foster discussions (I'd expect SAP to step in here)? The approach I've seen so far seems to be outside any good practice that we use in our real life projects...
So until there is a good tool in place with voting capabilities I think the least we can do is properly summarizing suggestions.
<b>Noise level in forums</b>: This is in my opinion the main problem and we'd somehow need to ensure that people would do some research before posting (and beginner's questions are completely acceptable if they did their research and got stuck). As this is probably impossible, ideally I could somehow define myself what noise is (e.g. like training my e-mail spam filter) or which people I trust (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_of_trust">web of trust</a> concept), but I think that's most likely not realistic.
However, maybe we could have a definition of <em>trusted</em> users and the ability to only read postings from <em>trusted</em> users (display filter). As a starting point moderators are defined as trusted and then a certain number of <em>trusted</em> users can certify other users as <em>trusted</em> upon request (needs obviously some queue). Key point for marking users as <em>trusted</em> should be a certain number of postings with clear ability/will to do some research. Obviously our interpretations are subjective, but I think it would be worth a try along with a proper <em>abuse-report-process</em> for allowing to remove <em>trusted</em> status.
This way we'd still have an open forum, but would give at least some control back to filter out noise for those who'd like to skip the silly questions.
<b>Expert status/forum points</b>: I don't think we should attempt to judge expertise by forum points (I discard this as silly until somebody proves me wrong). It's ok to display forum points, but let's not start to grade users via some icon by their points. I think we're basically looking for a measure of accuracy of the information presented based on the trustworthiness of the poster (tough one, see my comments above).
<b>Leeches</b>: Not sure why this keeps coming up. I'm reading the forums for expanding my knowledge and understanding of SAP applications. If somebody keeps asking <em>good/interesting questions</em> without answering questions from others, that's completely ok. So instead of introducing silly question-versus-answer-posting comparisons I'd like to say that the emphasis should be on ensuring that <em>people post good/interesting questions and do their research before posting</em>.
<b>Dumbed down search</b>: A proper search should give me the option to search for threads with different status, i.e. answered, unanswered, closed, etc.; there is absolutely no need for some forced suppression of thread categories. So please refrain from designing applications that assume to know what the user wants and needlessly limit the user to that expectation. User-definable default settings for searches are a very good option though...
<b>@Kuhan</b>: Thanks for giving the reference to the <em>idea place</em>. I guess there's no much to say from our side without some further details, so let's wait and see...
Cheers, harald (and I apologize for spamming the forum with overlong messages)
Noise level in forums: This is in my opinion the main problem and we'd somehow need to ensure that people would do some research before posting
When raising an OSS message to SAP, the user is compelled to solution search before entering a message. It would be useful if this can be applied while raising a thread. It might help with noise reduction.
> the user is compelled to solution search before entering a message. It would be useful if this can be applied while raising a thread
My assumption is that there's quite a few people out there who really don't want to search. I.e. they don't want to spend any time and simply get a quick answer. For such people forcing a search would probably be pointless, because you just need to enter some bogus search phrase and then click on create message (as in your OSS example).
However, your example brings me back to my question for metrics to measure quality improvements.It would be very interesting to see what impact the forced search approach in OSS had, maybe somebody from SAP can comment (and show that my thoughts are too negative). For me the use pattern is pointless, as I never start any investigation by utilizing the link report a product error and instead use the traditional search for SAP notes. Apart from the fact that the normal SAP note search is more flexible (can change displayed columns, like adding category, can freely choose applications and support package level, etc.) I'd say it's plain wrong from a functional perspective to start an OSS search with an entry point report a product error (that's what I know after I did my search, but probably I get carried away with silly details).
In general though I think it's very important to keep "good" users in mind when making forum changes. And here I'm not sure how many would enjoy being forced to search before posting, especially since they'd anyhow done a search already and the search capability would be limited. I.e. in order to get the best results I want to determine which search engine I use, which domains should be checked, etc.
Milroy picked this thread up on Thursday last week. We now have Monday morning.
That leaves Friday and some overtime on the weekend for crisis meetings and the emergency taskforce to have made some progresss to report back on...
But I do agree with you, if you want something done or at least rejected then you need to follow-up after a while.
Regarding with the sticky thread for suggestions, we tried something similar in the moderator forum but it became a crows nest of mixed topics so reverted back to one thread per topic and trying to stick to the subject matter (I am also one of the guilty one's here.. :-).
Perhaps a central thread to track them and their status would be usefull, if someone is willing to administrate it as a "registry" of ideas.
Hi Otto, yes more will come after SAPPHIRE. The site will allow a SAP product/solution/service/community manager to host a topic area that they wish to solicit feedback on - e.g. CRM Marketing or Crystal Reports. The site will grow organically, so to start we will have a few teams on board and add to it overtime. My next blog will be post SAPPHIRE but I may squeeze a mentor meeting in before hand if I can get them.
Per your comment on light speed, I do want to clarify that the site is a way to solicit ideas, comment and vote in a central place. The teams that manage a context area still need to have the ability to execute on them. If a team has too many ideas and is catching up in developing them, they may not find a benefit for the site.... yet.
Thank you for some more details!! I am looking forward to hear more and maybe try that myself one day. I hope your SAPPHIRE show will be a big success and other people will like the idea od Idea pl. as well.
But looks like (from your "job description" and the example about the CRs) it starts for BO, is that right? Is there any schedule or a list of teams which will participate? I am especially interested in any SAP topics and think I am not the only one here. Of course any use for SDN would be cool, but I can understand this is about the money and people:)) And you can find both in SAP. By the way, is it your idea or how it is connected with the mentor meetings?
Oh my, looks like I must stop it now or ask another zillion questions:)) Thank you, Otto
p.s.: I am afraid that is the little journalist in me:)) Sorry
Edited by: Otto Gold on Apr 27, 2010 8:53 AM
Hi Otto, well 'SAP BusinessObjects' is a past life. I now head up the SCN Solution Management Office and the Idea Place initiative on SCN. We will have a mix of SAP teams to start and do intend to grow. Great to see your enthusiasm. I will announce more later and aim to answer your questions.
I don't know what tools moderators have for identifying true cross-postings, but for sure there's no automation. It would be nice to implement some simple solution to prevent truly identical cross-postings.
Here an example of a lost soul searching for the right forum...
<li>: The specified item was not found.</li>
Anyhow, in addition it would be nice to hear some comments from SAP about suggestions made in this thread. But I guess we just have to be patient, because the pace is dictated by somebody else...