Improving the sasCommunity

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~Contributed by Becky Graebe, SAS Communications Manager~

Becky Graebe

Did you know that you could save and export one, some or all of your keyboard macros/abbreviations in one simple operation? sasCommunity.org users do, thanks to today’s Tip of the Day, submitted by Arthur Tabachneck (better known as Art297 on the site).

The Tip of the Day project is about a year old now, according to Art Carpenter who moderated a panel discussion and open session at SAS® Global Forum Tuesday along with sasCommunity.org super users Phil Miller, Joe Kelley, Mike Raithel and Murphy Choy. The Tip of the Day project is one of several enhancements designed to attract SAS® developers to the collaborative site. Other new features include:

  • The newly designed main page, including an RSS roundup of recent blogs, content additions, tips and forums.
  • A treasure trove of global user conference proceedings from “SUGI.ONE” to “SUGI 21,” scanned and indexed.
  • A points program that recognizes each user’s contributions to the site.

With more than 6,000 registered accounts, some might say sasCommunity.org is already a huge success. But the site’s Advisory Board and other conference session attendees expressed interest in and ideas for getting more people actively engaged.

“sasCommunity.org has not become a place to get rapid answers to questions,” said Miller. “That has been one of the hallmarks of SAS-L [an open e-mail distribution group for SAS users].” Miller mentioned new forum software, which will soon be available on support.sas.com, and he would like to see better integration with some of those channels.

Raithel offered a related suggestion. “Maybe we could create a feed from SAS-L on the sasCommunity.org site and index it. That way you let these two entities remain ‘themselves.’”

In a discussion about how to get more activity on the site, sasCommunity.org Guru Don Henderson offered an idea from the floor. “If I discover something on a project and want to remember it, I’ll do a short write-up and post it on the site. Months later, when I run into that same issue, I can refer back to it,” he said. “Use it like a personal notepad. If you discover a new trick, someone else may be able to use it as well. People can then chime in, and a more robust idea evolves.”

There was much discussion about the need for “gardeners,” a role common to wikis to help maintain and prune content on the site. “This is what has produced the relatively good quality of Wikipedia,” Miller said. “It would be a great way to volunteer. Maybe we need some new features to do this.” Currently, the Tip of the Day is the only area of the site that gets careful review.

“It’s easy to get inspired and put an article out there or link to an article,” said Raithel. “But nudging it to make it better and putting contributions where they need to be takes time.”

All of the ideas raised in the session will be considered by the Advisory Board for future enhancements to the site.

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About Author

Alison Bolen

Editor of Blogs and Social Content

+Alison Bolen is an editor at SAS, where she writes and edits content about analytics and emerging topics. Since starting at SAS in 1999, Alison has edited print publications, Web sites, e-newsletters, customer success stories and blogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in technical writing from North Carolina State University.

1 Comment

  1. I've already suggested to some people I met here at SAS Global Forum that they post their tips and ideas from their papers on sascommunity.org

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