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Competitiveness in Community

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Alteryx Certified Partner

Having slept on this, and catching up on all the responses, I just wanted to add a couple of additional thoughts/clarifications.

 

I think it's useful to discuss the pros and cons of different types of answers (showing vs teaching) but I don't want anyone to come away thinking that was my main point or that I have particularly strong views on either side. It's more that when the "here's a workflow" solutions seem like an attempt to reply first for the sake of being first, that they give me that sense of it feeling like a race.

 

But I do completely accept that competition can be a positive thing, and the competition that does occur undoubtedly leads to some very good outcomes for users, in that every question gets an answer and every user with a question gets helped.

 

This is all very subjective and like I said, it feels a bit strange to have plonked myself into the middle of a debate, but I am getting a lot from reading all the replies whether or not they agree with me.

 

Being more practical, I really like the idea of there being a way to promote/surface the more detailed solutions that are most relevant for people who arrive at the forum from a search rather than having posted a question themselves. Perhaps there could be a way of certain solutons being endorsed as Top Answers and these then feeding into a crowd-sourced knowledge base? 

 

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Community Manager
Community Manager

I'm so thrilled that this thread has taken off so far, and I think there are a lot of really great points from everyone.  I want to first thank everyone for sharing their thoughts on the subject.  As some of you have mentioned, it can be a little stressful throwing your thoughts out in a public forum like this, but I think it can go a long way to bring these conversations to the forefront and working towards improvements together.

 

I think that there is indeed room for refinements in any system, and the ranking/gamification of accepted solutions is no exception.  I also like to believe that most people are trying to help with specific questions, but agree that sometimes more context could be helpful as well.

 

I'll be keeping a close eye on this thread in the coming days, and responding where I can.  I think this provides a great opportunity for us to "level up" our systems and potentially offer a bit more nuance (figuring out how to do this can be the tough part, so if you have specific ideas, let me know). Keep the responses coming, as I want to hear as many thoughts as possible.  Chances are this won't be the end of the discussion, but it's a great first step!

Will Machin
Community Engagement Programs Manager
Alteryx
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17 - Castor

Hi @jamielaird 

 

I like your idea of Top/Best/Easiest/Optimized solution. If you posted it as a idea i would definitely vote for it.

The reason it could be a great/awesome learning curve 😎 like how the best solution is solved it will give ideas on more smart approaches.

 

It kind of relates to one of my old ideas. Picking/showing Best/optimized solution for the weekly challenges like easiest way to hack it with less tools possible. Apparently that doesnt exist 😅 if it does please let me know. I have a plan on creating a blog for it.

 

Sorry for getting side lined, coming back to the Top/Best/Easiest/Optimized solution. Then again for this task how can this be moderated who is exactly going look at the solution as say/mark/like this is the best solution.

 

Or would you suggest every solution author should search for possible answer and share the links. What would be suggested.

For best solutions to be selected whats way forward. PS: the user selects the first post which solved as solution.

And if you say lets make blogs PS: a lot of helpful blogs exits in alteryx community itself and lot of solution authors do suggest it. One of my favorite and commonly shared one http://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Knowledge-Base/The-Ultimate-Input-Data-Flowchart/ta-p/20480

 

So where are we exactly falling. If you say every solution should be detailed, thats not possible (time constraint)

 

How to make Best solutions surface i have no idea except someone is ok with moderating.

 

I currently am one of the active solution authors.

 

@jamielaird and others please do give suggestions and feedbacks if there a feasible way which is possible that we can improve i will definitely go for it.

 

Cheers and Happy Analyzing 😀

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Alteryx Partner

@WillM I think even just have this discussion out in the open, may influence the way some of us in the community are providing solutions even without Alteryx having changed any of their incentives or guidelines. Even so, especially for the long run I still think it would be nice for the Alteryx community team to have a think if they are able to improve the incentives/programs/messaging or anything to help promote/manage this (so I am glad that @WillM has mentioned this in his latest post). In addition to what ideas our community comes up with on the thread, I think having a look at how a few other platforms have tried to manage this would not be a bad idea.

Thanks again @WillM for providing a platform for this conversation and for listening to everyone's points. I also am looking forward to reading any other ideas/thoughts people from the community have about the forums.

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Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner

Hi All I thought add my feedback I agree with @T_Willins point that it does seem recently there is the occurrence of posting a similar solution sometime after a valid response is given. I don’t think this benefits the community overall.

 

I’ve also seen in some rare occurrences solution authors have provided solutions/workflows, to the practical questions from the Advanced Certification that people have posted on the community. I know these posts are removed but I hope that anyone who posted a solution, is also advised against this as well.

 

I also noticed that community members are being asked to justify or evaluate, other posts if they have not marked a solution author post as a marked solution. I think there is a balance here as sometimes it is appropriate to ask community members to mark as post as the solution, such as when they clearly say thank you and express gratitude for resolving their issue. However I don’t feel they should have to justify their choice as it’s up to their discretion.

 

Another point I would make is sometimes I see solution authors debate or critique over solutions that have been posted.  I can see the point that competition and discourse breeds better solutions. However I have had feedback that some users do find this off putting, when they first start answering posts on the community. Ultimately anyone who posts a reply is doing so out of their own time and I feel this should be celebrated and encouraged.

I think @TuvyL summed up my feelings regarding this conversation “ exhibit the behaviour you wish to see”.

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14 - Magnetar
14 - Magnetar

Thanks @WillM and @jamielaird for bringing this forward. My TL/DR.

I do think that a certain level of competition is always healthy, and perhaps gets the problems solved faster. And if people want to run for solutions or likes, and that's what motivates them to be engaged on Community, then they should go for it. Respond as much as you can. Be as helpful as you can. That's positive

 

What I find isn't helpful though are:

  • Sloppy or incomplete solutions: Just getting a workflow thrown up as fast as you can doesn't mean you've solved the problem. Read carefully, solve thoughtfully.
  • Solutions that are effectively "download my workflow" with no explanations. I recommend Community all of the time as an enablement resource. Giving someone a process without explaining how you came about to it, or what the tools do, doesn't effectively enable them.
    • If I'm giving someone a fish, isn't it also better to explain my method of fishing, so that the user can catch their own in the future?
    • If someone is looking for answers to their questions and happens upon a solution I've provided, I want them to read the post to understand
  • Recreating solutions that others have already created. I can't say how many times I've seen this - people who download solutions / workflows, and repost as their own. Link to the solution that's already there. Someone can still mark it as solved, even when you point to another person's solution. Let's try to keep clutter out of Community
  • Asking people to mark your post as solved and/or give likes if you've helped them. That's up to the user. You don't need to go begging for solves/likes to get the new badges. It doesn't look good, and our goal is "together we solve", not "I promote myself and want more badges". To me, at least, a closing line like that makes me think you're not there to help me but to promote yourself.

 

My best and most rewarding solves are often not marked as solutions, and that's OK. What makes those the best is collaborating with others (looking at you, @MarqueeCrew , @JosephSerpis 
@carlosteixeira2005 , among many others) to best answer the question, together. Together we solve. That's the magic in the discussions. Incidentally, I started combing through the discussions once I had exhausted all of the Weekly Challenges, and was craving more practice and problem solving in Alteryx that my 9-5 wasn't providing. The bait was there and I took it, and I just loved being able to come up with answers. I still do. And it's nice to get the new badges, but I'm not gunning for them. And yes, I'm a HIGHLY competitive person. Perhaps it's because my day to day is in enablement, so this is another avenue for me to extend my reach.

Cheers!

Esther

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17 - Castor

Hi All,

 

This was a great discussion.

 

Just a thought on how we can solve the problem of making Best solutions surface. A design which can be added to the current system

 

Whats if the reply post have an additional option like this 

atcodedog05_1-1605952365408.png

The pro users online who are generally surfing can take a look at the post and if they feel the question is a good question and one of the answer is great answer with detailed explanation. Then the pro users can mark it as "Recommended Solution" 

 

And if a post gets 10+(some limit) Recommended Solution votes. The the reply gets highlighted like below.

So that people will get to know this is the recommended solution where they have clearly explained and helped out.

atcodedog05_2-1605952763719.png

And post in discussion board green tick can change to orange.

atcodedog05_3-1605952899900.png

And google will show Recommended instead of Solved

atcodedog05_4-1605953096095.png

 

This way we can make the Best solutions surface.

 

I dont know, its just a thought😅 

 

I do want to make best solutions surface. That would be a great learning opportunity 🙂 

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Alteryx Certified Partner

Thank you @WillM for bringing this up, there are some great answers and opinions already in this thread.

 

Since I'm a relatively new user in the community (and even newer in the discussion pages), I'm unaware of what the community or the provided solutions looked like in the past when things were less competitive. Personally, I don't consider that the quality of provided solutions necessarily degrades as competitiveness increases. 

 

As mentioned by others, a solution can never be bad and to make use of the same Fish metaphor that @atcodedog05 used, if someone's hungry (or needs a solution urgently) he/she may not be interested to learn how to fish. Also, not all users necessarily want to learn how to fish and thus, a "here's a workflow" solution may be good enough for them as additional details may seem overwhelming. Users however that wan to learn how to fish (or those that want to learn more about a solution) can and should always be encouraged to ask more questions if something was unclear in the provided solution.

 

Similarly, in my eyes the person providing the solution has the "obligation" to demystify an answer, even is he/she has already received the solve/like. After all, I'm sure that many people in this thread learned what they know today, not by receiving perfectly documented solutions but by asking and researching about things that were unclear to them in the first place. What is of most concern to me is not the quality of responses in the community but where that competitiveness may lead the community into. And I will try to explain my thinking process in as few words as possible.

 

I consider (and correct me if I am wrong) that the number of active users answering questions in the community has increased compared to the past. Not sure if the competitiveness was always the same as it is today, but nowadays all solution providers (some more than others) are in a rush to provide the correct solution first. In my opinion, that rush predominantly discourages new people from starting providing solutions to the community, since there always going to be someone faster than them, so why should they bother posting the solution in the first place as they probably won't make it on time and their solution might seem a bit redundant. So, what is left for them to do? Well, they can either give up and never contribute to the community again because it's full of people better/faster than them, or they can learn how to swim and adopt the same competitive practices as others.

 

Whatever path they decide to follow, we will probably end up with a community which is :

 

a) Really quiet with many unanswered questions, because chances are that solution providers of today contributing many many answers daily will sooner or later stop answering with the same frequency, as they will eventually reach their personal goals, set other goals which conflict with providing solution or just get saturated from providing numerous solutions per day. These extra unanswered questions will eventually be answered by some existing members of the community, or probably a couple of new faces that saw the opportunity and will then go one to dominate the leaderboards until the time of saturation comes again and the process will go on in a vicious circle;


b) you might get a community that's extremely competitive to get the solve/like, even more competitive that it is today. But if that happens, what's that going to look like to the outside world?

 

The discussions page is a space where things get solved and most of Alteryx's best users (ACEs and non-ACEs) operate there. On the other hand, the people asking the questions have different Alteryx skill levels but as Alteryx grows, more entry-level people will post questions. So to them (an outside-unbiased observer), watching Alteryx's highly skilled users competing for an accepted solution, pleading for a like or openly criticising other people solutions as incorrect so they can get the "solve" instead may give a poor impression. I personally consider that this community is (and must remain) Alteryx's window to the world and everyone operating within it should contribute to its wellbeing. Unfortunately, trying to do everything as fast as possible (and we can use the Alteryx Weekly Challenges as an example too) can set the wrong standards and may create fake expectations for people. Dominating a community space is not necessarily a bad thing, but that automatically undermines the meaning of a community so it's always good to maintain a balance to whatever we are up to.

 

I don't believe that a "Best/Optimised" solution system will reduce the competitiveness in the community rather than increase it. I believe however that the sense of competitiveness in the community can be reduced by trying to avoid behaviors mentioned in previous posts by @T_Willins , @JosephSerpis   and @EstherB47 (such as avoiding to post a similar solution after a valid response has already been posted, competing with other solution providers for the like/solve, questioning the decision of the person making the post to accept/not accept a solution and posting sloppy/incomplete solutions or pleading for a like because it just does not look good for us all). We must try to create the community we want to be a part  and leading by example is probably a more effective way than any system to disincentivize quantity of solutions.

 

PS

On second thoughts, apologies for massively failing to keep this short.

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17 - Castor

@AngelosPachis has beautifully summarized it

 

I totally agree sloppy solutions and exactly duplicate solutions should be no-excuse.

 

2 things i would like to say

 

1. Fastest solution necessarily isnt always the best solution.

2. Feel free to give feedback because it a great way to learn i have personally received alot of feedback which has helped me alot. But please provide feedback through private messages and try to avoid openly criticizing on the question post.

 

And I would still love to have a way to make "Best/Optimized" solution surface it would be a great resource for learning and improving ourselves. Looking forward to it.

 

Cheers and Happy Analyzing 😀