1 2 3 Previous Next 39 Replies Latest reply on Feb 1, 2017 5:09 PM by Shawn Wallwork Branched to a new discussion.

    Philosophical Question...

    Shawn Wallwork

      What is it about our Tableau forums that make them so, well VIBRANT!

       

      Most forums would love to recreate the success of our Tableau forums; but they usually can't. So what, or I suppose 'why' do we devote so much time and energy to helping each other, when so many other forums don't? Why are most questions on our forums answered within a few hours (if not minutes), while other forum questions languish for days? What is so engaging about our forums? What elicits such loyalty and commitment?

       

      Why are our forums the most engaging and compelling of any forum on the internet?!

       

      --Shawn

       

      EDIT: Yes please do see Joe's 'correct' answer in context below.

        • 1. Re: Philosophical Question...
          Sujay Paranjpe

          Hi Shawn,

           

          Knowledge increases by sharing. I personally visit the forums to gain the knowledge and help as many friends as possible. Its a proud feeling when your answer helps somebody.

           

          Best,

          Sujay

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Philosophical Question...
            Joe Oppelt

            It's because of me. 

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Philosophical Question...
              Joe Oppelt

              Although I said that in humor, there is an element of truth to it.  Each of us can say, "It's because of me."

               

              We take pride in this product.  We take pride in what we can do with it.  We take pride in being able to help someone else unlock another corner of the product's capabilities.

               

              We hurt when we see someone gripe about Tableau.  We hurt when someone says, "Tableau can't do that."

               

              We feel joy each time we learn something new about Tableau.  (And for me, that occurs on a regular basis -- because of this forum, because others feel the same way about it as I do and therefore help me learn something new on a regular basis.)

              3 of 3 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Philosophical Question...
                Walt Reed

                Speaking as a relative newcomer to the forums, I've been really impressed with the participation of all levels of users, especially amongst the "experts."

                 

                I remember there was a solution I offered a couple weeks ago, and while it was technically correct, Jonathan Drummey (Tableau Zen Master) provided me with a very detailed and thoughtful response on how to optimize the solution I offered. This was really motivating for me, seeing that if an expert on this product has taken the time to respond to my post, surely I can take the time to respond to someone else's.

                 

                There have been a couple other Zen Master's that I've emailed or responded to their blog postings, and they replied very quickly with incredibly helpful thoughts.

                 

                So--to answer your question--I think the culture starts with Tableau (the company)--the fact that they offer SO MUCH training and resources for FREE is amazing and is something I haven't encountered with any other company--because they want to see their users succeed (and use their product well). Resultantly, users operate under a "pay it forward" mentality, where someone helps me, then I'm motivated to help someone else, and the cycle continues.

                 

                Walt

                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Philosophical Question...
                  Łukasz Majewski

                  I remember my first experience with forums and my astonishment when my question was responded to within minutes. It was very reassuring.

                  Also the fact that employees and developers are contributing here makes users feel connected and being listened to.

                  And the regular support channel is superb - they always call me shortly after submitting a case and keep me updated. 

                   

                  It is a great place to be!

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Philosophical Question...
                    Jonathan Drummey

                    Aw, thanks, Walt! And the "pay it forward" mentality is exactly what I hope for in the forums.

                     

                    Jonathan

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Philosophical Question...
                      Simon Runc

                      hi Shawn,

                       

                      ...great discussion

                       

                      I'll add my 2 cents worth (in no particular order and all come with a big IMHO!!)

                       

                      Founding Fathers (as I see them!)...in the same way that "bad company culture" is hard to shift...get a "good culture" built into the foundations and it also persists. Well before my time, but my impression is that many of the early community heroes (massively Shawn, but also Jonathan D, Joe M, Richard L, Matt L….and many other I’m too young, Tableau wise, to know) came with such a great (helpful, kind, selfless, supportive, understanding…etc.) attitude that these qualities persist (and are infectious).

                       

                      Moderation…One nice side-effect of the moderation system is that, basically, any new poster has their post read by an Ambassador (or Community Manager). This means that if a post comes in with the “wrong” attitude (aggressive, rude, self-promoting…etc.) we are able to reach out to them and let them know “this isn’t that kind of place” and (in my experience) 9 times out of 10, they are happy to change tone and join the party! (they just didn’t know tech-forums could be like this!). On top of this when you do post a question, you’re met with a wall of kindness and is hard to do anything other than reciprocate!

                      The software…As Joe has already articulated. Tableau is so much fun to use and in keeping everything simple (the basic idea of pills, pill type, mark-type, aggregation, level of detail…has barely changed – although I started using 8, I have seen back as far as T6 in videos!). This means rather than adding, a button for this, a button for that, a drop-down here, a pre-defined network chart there…they have relied on the creativity of its users to take these fundamental particles and create 100s of chart types/visualizations (even new ones like Jump Plots, and 3D stuff like Noah and Bora do). This is what makes Tableau such a fun and creative tool to use, and fosters a culture of sharing. We all know, that we all need each other (I’m more than happy to share any tricks I’ve come up with, as I know in doing that someone else will share theirs…and now they can do an “Action Triggered Sheet Swap” and I can add Sankey’s to my viz arsenal)

                       

                      The people…people come to Tableau from so many fields and disciplines, which are generally multi-discipline in nature. In my job I work with our Machine Learning genius, for example…I in no way understand statistics to the depth she does, or how she does most of what she does…she’s spent her career learning that, but she use my analytics knowledge to help inform her models. In the same way she probably has little idea how I do some of the advanced stuff I do in Tableau, but she uses Tableau to help understand her models (…as Tableau is so accessible, all [I say all, all 18 of us!] our Machine Learning, JS Coders, DBAs, Sales Team…use Tableau to help in their roles), and comes to me (or our other Tableau geeks) to help if she can’t do something. When you rely on more disciplines, than a single person can become an expert in (apart from a handful of crazy smart people) to do your job/follow-your-passion…you, again, realise you need one another…and we all become greater than the “sum of our parts”

                      …No affiliation (or commission), but this idea is much better articulated in a book called “Closing the Mind Gap” (by Ted Cadsby), which I’d recommend if anyone fancies a bit of Xmas reading [TL;DR…The world is increasingly complicated (and inter-related), our brains evolved when it wasn’t, you can’t learn enough (about enough different things) to understand it…you’ve got 2 choices; pretend that it isn’t (and be, basically, wrong), or come together (very much like our great forum/community) and enjoy the combined brains of many]

                       

                      and...it's just a nice place to hang out

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Philosophical Question...
                        Matthew Risley

                        Shawn,

                         

                        Once again you beat me to it. I was going to post something similar.

                         

                        The forums may be a double-edged sword of success and failure for Tableau. Here is my two cents...

                         

                        Even though we are in TABLEAU VERSION 10 . The Tableau Desktop product still feels very "hacky". Meaning- in order to get the desired outcome, it usually takes some thought and effort and round-about-ways to get what you need. This is very frustrating as well as rewarding. We all know the feeling of finally getting a viz, or some strange calculation, or data join condition to work. It is exciting and fun! Sometimes I feel as if I'm a wizard with some of the work-arounds I come up with. ...and if I'm a wizard some of ya'll are straight Harry Potter and the gang...

                         

                        But it's that feeling of "I've accomplished something" that we love. And to be honest, most of our co-workers have no idea why some things take so long or why some things are not possible with Tableau. They only see the beautiful (or lack there of) end result. So when that is missing in an organization/company, I can find that "fix" here as we all pat each other on the back because we know how brilliant someone's solution was. There are those who drag some green and blue pills to make a bar chart/ only use "Show Me", and there are those of us who make data come alive for an organization. When people create actions off of data that you worked on- it's exhilarating!

                         

                        Tableau is a great product and it makes lives easy for some of us, and drives businesses to improve. Without a doubt Tableau has value. But for the second part of the double-edged sword. To those of you who have been on the forums for a longer time now you know what I'm talking about when I bring this up (I've only been active in forums for a few months but Tableaing for over a year) but the same questions are asked day in and day out. Yes, there is sometimes a lack of searching- but sometimes the questions that people ask for should be implemented immediately. *Tableau I hope you see this*... but C'mon. We are in version 10. Where are the dynamic/multi select parameters????? It's questions similar to the multi select parameters that make Tableau sometimes underwhelming. I think there is a bond on the forums that comes out of necessity due to needing to "solve" things that shouldn't need to be solved- they should be implemented.

                         

                        Don't get me wrong - Maestro and Hyper are awesome, but really?? Can we get some smoother-actionable daily options here? Focus on the daily users of Tableau more happy and try not to focus on coming out with the next shiny thing (although i am super excited for Python integration). It would be interesting to have access to Tableau's forums data and visualize it in Tableau (...might actually start scraping and doing that lol...) to see how many of the same questions are answered. Also to see how long some of the "Ideas" have been in play. Some of the ideas have a lot of upvotes- but go (seemingly) unnoticed.

                         

                        That's my two cents. Kind of a jumble of ideas, though. May need to come back and edit.

                         

                        Bottom line: I love Tableau and even though there were some "negatives" in this post, Tableau has a special place in my heart as my go-to piece of analysis software. The community is great, the data is fun, and it provides jobs. *Toast to Tableau!*

                         

                        TL;DR: I love "working for Tableau" and secretly wish i could. Answering questions is addicting. Tableau users pat each other on the back for their smart work-arounds. But I wish Tableau would implement some of these key, often-asked-for, features.

                        2 of 2 people found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Philosophical Question...
                          Jeff Strauss

                          Simon, thank you for articulating your thoughts so seamlessly that they seem to be parallel many of my thoughts .  Especially the last part, the way I choose to phrase it is "no man is an island"; We are collective, we all come with our own knowledge, strengths, and yes even opportunities.  And this is where the power of the forums lives in my world.  And admittedly, I do get excited when I see the light bulb clicking on as somebody marks an answer as correct.  It's not the points, but it's the satisfaction that somebody now understands more and we are perhaps able to contribute toward simplifying our ever more complex world.

                          2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Philosophical Question...
                            Matthew Risley

                            Going to dig this one back up real quick because this is worth mentioning:

                             

                            I use Python for text analysis and needed to data manipulation but was unsure of how to do it within Python. I went to StackOverflow and researched my question at length. Couldn't find out the reason why something was erroring out, and second why even with the error, my output was correct.

                             

                            So I tried very hard to post a very direct, and researched question (as the Stack forum guidelines suggest), but was immediately left with a down vote with no explanation for the down vote.

                            I then received a comment from someone who would be the equivalent of a Data Monarch here on our forums saying that I had not researched my question and that there were a 'gazillion' other posts with my issue (i assure you that although they were similar - it was not my question). I then figured out my own question by doing a workaround and posted that workaround so others could see. Got another down vote with no explanation.

                             

                            So, Tableau wins fourfold here and I think this is why this community is more Vibrant than something like StackOverflow:

                            1) There's no mysterious down voting that can quickly discourage posters. Let me tell you, I felt like I had wronged the community when I received that down vote. I truly tried to post based on their guidelines (as I have before), but had seemed to make someone displeased. Here at Tableau, even though a forum post may be bad or not guideline friendly, posters might just ignore the post or in most cases, try and help them post a better question. Can't tell you how many times I've posted So Your Question Didn't Get Answered... or guided someone on posting a better question. When people post here, they feel like their question will get answered and without any penalties for doing so.

                             

                            2) Someone with a lot of points on Stack posted to my question within minutes. To me, a lot of points signifies that they are doing something right on the forums and are very knowledgeable. However, when that person left his comment, it left a sour taste in my mouth (can't explain it without being whiny). Here at Tableau, how many times are our Ambassadors and Monarchs giving solid advice, helping the community, maneuvering around difficult questions/difficult posters, and talking about the health of the community? I'm yet to see an active forum member get angered or leave a quick-witted comment on a question. So I think that we need to acknowledge our active members and give them a round of applause for their positive attitude! There's too many to name, but you know you are! This is something that is very unique to our forums.

                             

                            3) On Stack I received a down vote within minutes of answering my own question. My guess is that answering my own question bumped the thread to the top of the post which led to someone not liking my question again. But here's the thing... I answered my own question so I could mark it answered for forum health and so that others could search my problem/solution in the future. However, I cannot mark my question as answered until 48 hours after the post was created. At Tableau, I feel encouraged to answer my own question so that the others who were helping me along or also have the same question can receive the solution! How happy does it make you when a poster has that 'Aha!' moment and they finally understand how to do something in Tableau? It makes me glad when other posters learn that 'hacky' way of doing things, and I even learn from some of their hacks by when they answer their own question!

                             

                            4) this is a side reason, but still very applicable. The points system. The points system is clear, concise, easy to follow, and no removing of points. When you receive points, you feel like you earned them by helping someone. You know the exact tier of the system with a clear indicator with a single digit and a title. At Stack you have tons of titles, badges, etc. With down voting, I feel like I can lose those points for messing up (which I did lose points for posting). You can even gain points for being a **** if others up vote your not-so-nice comment. I enjoy the Tableau points system a lot. It breeds a feel-good attitude with the points being a side benefit of what we are really here to do- helping other users of Tableau.

                             

                            All in all, Tableau has something unique they created here. For all of the reasons posted above and even more that are unsaid, we have something special here! Kudos to the people behind making this a great community. Thank you all and enjoy the new year! I'm excited for this community in 2017!

                             

                            3 of 3 people found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Philosophical Question...
                              Sagar Sanjay Joshi

                              I personally love the points system. It encourages the involvement. Its set up as if I am playing a video game! Fuel The Offence!!

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Philosophical Question...
                                Toby Erkson

                                Simon Runc wrote:

                                 

                                ...

                                Founding Fathers (as I see them!)...in the same way that "bad company culture" is hard to shift...get a "good culture" built into the foundations and it also persists. Well before my time, but my impression is that many of the early community heroes (massively Shawn, but also Jonathan D, Joe M, Richard L, Matt L….and many other I’m too young, Tableau wise, to know) came with such a great (helpful, kind, selfless, supportive, understanding…etc.) attitude that these qualities persist (and are infectious).

                                 

                                Moderation…One nice side-effect of the moderation system is that, basically, any new poster has their post read by an Ambassador (or Community Manager). This means that if a post comes in with the “wrong” attitude (aggressive, rude, self-promoting…etc.) we are able to reach out to them and let them know “this isn’t that kind of place” and (in my experience) 9 times out of 10, they are happy to change tone and join the party! (they just didn’t know tech-forums could be like this!). On top of this when you do post a question, you’re met with a wall of kindness and is hard to do anything other than reciprocate!...

                                Based upon my varied experience in many other forums over the decades the above are really why Tableau has a unique and friendlier atmosphere compared to ANY other tech forum.  It starts as an attitude in the beginning that is maintained.  Having trusted moderators to help approve content, move it as necessary (yes Shawn, I'm the one who moved this to the Community Canvas oops, someone just did it while I was writing this!), handle spam & other abuse, plus help in the answering of questions all contributes to a speedy and efficient community

                                 

                                I really like the Stack format for a pure question/answer standpoint.  Its point system is a too complicated and a bit of a turn off and it doesn't really permit conversations...like what we're doing right now!  There are pluses and minuses to every type of forum but the Tableau Community has been doing a good job at upgrading and implementing bits here...believe me, the format of these forums were so bad at one time that some of us branched out and created our own!   So definitely props to them for keeping me, Shawn, and the other whiners happy (yes Shawn, I think we are the Whiny Twins who don't need to touch rings to active our super-powers!)

                                Image result for wonder twins

                                3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: Philosophical Question...
                                  Jonathan Drummey

                                  Hi Matthew,

                                   

                                  I just saw this post and I really appreciate your comments about Stack Overflow. As much as I want Tableau's forums to have more of SO's features in terms of getting to "canonical" answers to common question all four of your points show where there are "features" of Stack Overflow that I wouldn't want in the Tableau community. Thanks!

                                   

                                  Jonathan

                                  • 14. Re: Philosophical Question...
                                    Patrick A Van Der Hyde

                                    I just wanted to jump in and say 'Thank you' to each of you leaving comments.  We hear a lot about suggested improvements to the forums here at Tableau and we note these suggestions and work to make them happen when possible.  Hearing back about why this community is so successful is especially gratifying and provides us with feedback that we can show to our management showing why we love our jobs so much. 

                                     

                                    Thank you to each of you for making this the best **** support community out there!! 

                                     

                                    Patrick

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