General Discussions

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Rewarding Community Participation

Community Manager
Community Manager

As @LeahK mentioned in the Competitiveness in Community thread, I'm going to be starting some conversations here about some big picture community topics.  I really want to hear form as many people as possible to help guide us in how we continue to refine the experience for everyone in the future.

 

This first topic is a direct offshoot of the original thread, and what I want to know is: how can the community team properly incentivize members to contribute in the most holistic way possible? Think about this in terms of inspiring collaboration instead of competition, asking questions in the best way, best practices for members, etc. Do you feel like there are gaps that need to be filled currently? What do you want to be rewarded for doing in the community?

 

I know that we already touched on some of this at a high level in the previous thread (some great thoughts from @kelly_gilbert, @EstherB47@MarqueeCrew, @MinaGO3, and @atcodedog05 to name a few). I'd really like to dive a little deeper into that aspect of the conversation here. Can't wait to hear what you all have to say!

Will Machin
Community Engagement Programs Manager
Alteryx
Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner

@WillM ,

 

 Do I get extra credit for liking this post first?  Extra extra credit for being the first to reply?

 

 Cheers,

 

 mark

Alteryx ACE & Top Community Contributor

Chaos reigns within. Repent, reflect and reboot. Order shall return.
Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner

Hi @WillM I think the current method or using ranks for community members and leader boards for solution author is too simplistic at present. For instance someone can increase their rank by posting a lot, on the community discussions and not necessarily solving community members posts or increasing knowledge amount the community. Then secondly increasing where they stand on the solution leader board by posting a similar post, in the hope the community member who asked the question also marks their post as solution. This in particular I feel adds nothing to the community and it's not too difficult, to solve a problem when someone else has already posted a solution. I think there should be a flag for posting similar solutions on the community as this would stop a lot of the competitive behavior I've seen recently. 

 

In terms of gaps a number of the solutions I have solved have been datetime transformations I know @MarqueeCrew has a blog about Datetime transformations on the community. However I do think more needs to be done about this plus also creating dynamic file paths for multiple outputs comes up a lot as well.

17 - Castor

Hi @WillM and All,

 

Really great questions, and I would really love to give my thoughts about one of them.

 

@MarqueeCrew gave a great theory which I really liked and agree with it a lot and is True. That about 1-2% are contributors and rest 98% are consumers. And challenge is how to increase participation. This is a common issue faced in multiple developer community/usergroups. Gamification is required because that is one of the concept that has proven to successful in increasing participation.

 

The question which I would like to give my thoughts about is how can we inspire collaboration instead of competition

Collaboration is something I always loved. Doing something fun and also making friends along the way and also encouraging/helping people. And inspiring collaboration instead of competition isnt something technical team can do. We need to build a culture of people encouraging, supporting and interacting with each others. And @MarqueeCrew (PS: one of my inspirations) is one of the person whom I have seen doing that alot by encouraging people, supporting, adding more reading materials to the question post and at the same time being fun (PS: he is immune to badges because he has already got them all). I think that is what we as users(contributors) should think about too, if you can give a better answer post it or else if the best answer is already posted thats ok, you can add some additional read-ons or maybe an additional detailed explanation to posted answer and enrich the content. And this would enrich the community also develop collaboration and friendless. I am slowly trying to do this myself😅

 

And @WillM few requests which might us to help others.

1. Have searchable friendly names for tool guide blogs.

2. Review/Refresh Tool Mastery some of them are very old and more feature might have been added. If possible make sure most of the functionality is covered in Tool Mastery.

 

As closing notes I would like to say lets try to lead by example and make community a better place🙂

11 - Bolide

Thanks again, @WillM for posing the questions and inviting conversation!

One example of a past community goal was Santalytics 2018, when the donation amount was based on community participation. Users who love competition could get the satisfaction of being the first to solve, while the rest of us could enjoy the learning opportunity as well as the ability to contribute to a broader goal.

 

Question: How can the community team incentivize members to contribute in the most holistic way possible?

  • A participation guide or some simple document that outlines community expectations, why we're here, what behaviors are desired, and different ways to participate (for users of all experience levels). Specifically address how to participate in solutions (both for askers and solvers).
  • A mechanism to surface good/most useful solutions (a scoring or upvoting system, with the ability to sort the best solutions on top).
  • A weekly or monthly round-up calling out good examples: a good discussion, a good solution, someone who has encouraged someone else, a new user who has started participating, someone who presented at their first user group or written their first blog post, etc. Promote behavior we want to see more of.
  • Instead of individual-focused leaderboards, reporting that shows what we accomplish as a community. For example, % of posts marked with a solution after x hours, average solution score/likes, the number of different contributors per post, # of long-waiting questions that have been solved, # of new solvers/participants this week, etc.
  • Similarly, reporting that helps focus participation on what is most productive/helpful (which questions have been waiting a long time without a solution?)
  • Ultimately, the reward that drives a lot of the hyper-competitive and self-promoting behavior in software communities is the desire to be named a superuser (in this case, an ACE). How can we encourage more collaborative behavior for ACE-aspirants? I'm sure it truly is part of the criteria, but I think what people see is that they need to get their numbers up (thus the abrasive focus on generating posts/likes/solutions).
  • I know this is something that is probably a big no-no in the community world, but possibly put caps on extreme levels of participation (i.e. no more than x posts per day or hour?) It is demotivating both as a participant and a reader to see the same people responding to nearly every conversation. I'd love to see users be more thoughtful in choosing where they participate and where they might best add value to a conversation.
    [Side story, I say this as someone who has, herself, been cut off for spamming in the Alteryx Community! Whenever I see someone in the Weekly Challenges mention that it's their first one, I try send a welcoming PM to encourage them to keep it up. One year, there was a huge post-Inspire bump in Weekly Challenge participation, and I got cut off for sending too many PMs. Oops! 😄]


Question: What do you want to be rewarded for doing in the community?

This is where it would be helpful to get clarity on what the community values. My personal motivations for participating:

  • Helping others learn/grow
  • Learning/growing my own skills,
  • Helping others feel welcome and valued (regardless of experience/skill)
  • "Meeting" other people who are passionate about analytics
  • Being part of a community where I can both give and receive (not a one-sided relationship)

Now, are those things that align with the community's goals? How can I pursue what I value personally in a way that aligns with the community's goals? This is where a community guide/goals would be helpful.

Alteryx Community Team
Alteryx Community Team

Thanks again @kelly_gilbert for taking the time to provide such well though-out and helpful answers to the question(s) @WillM posed. amazing stuff!  We are definitely looking forward to  improving a few of the things you've specifically called-out. I also just want to say that I am especially grateful for the bulleted list of what motivates you to participate, as this is the info we need to understand how we can improve recognition efforts to go beyond more traditional quantitative based tactics. 

 

I do have a follow-up question for ya -- regarding your recommendation to create a participation guide:

  • participation guide or some simple document that outlines community expectations, why we're here, what behaviors are desired, and different ways to participate (for users of all experience levels). Specifically address how to participate in solutions (both for askers and solvers).

Today, we have our Community Guidelines, which at a high-level are intended to set expectations for participation. We also have several Community Resources that have been published throughout the years to help guide members to understand how best to engage. While your recommendation is clear and in-sync with my own personal views on community -- I guess I'm just wondering if in addition to looking at expanding how we educate users on participation opportunities and best practices, if we should consider refreshing our Community Guidelines. What do you think is missing from the existing version? Lack of clarity on vision/values? not enough details? links to more specific guidance on things like solutions?

 

(while Kelly's reply inspired this follow-up question, all are welcomed and encouraged to chime in 😊)


Leah Knowles
Manager, Global Community Engagement
Alteryx

Alteryx Partner

Most questions does not make it clear how the requester would like to receive an answer. Perhaps it is not important to them, perhaps they don’t want to pile on more demands, or it is just not considering. Likewise, answers to these questions can be very different between contributors. With the fear of removing nuances, I see three categories of answers (considering the Designer sub-forum):

 

  • Straight to the end result, either with an attached workflow that solves the issue as stated, or the formula/tool that will provide the correct result. Some have a brief explanation, while others just contain a “try this” comment
  • Giving out hints on how to arrange a workflow, which tools might be useful, and providing links to Tool Mastery or similar generic (but excellent!) guides
  • Asking further questions to understand the context of the issue, perhaps challenging business processes that lies beyond Alteryx to best solve the issue at hand

 

Depending on the requesters need, neither of these categories are necessarily wrong, but there is a risk of misalignment. One person might want to have a better understanding of what Alteryx is capable of, but is presented with just a formula to solve the specific issue. Another might just having trouble with a specific Regex pattern (who doesn´t occasionally 😊), but is given a link to the RegEx Tool mastery post instead. Both of these cases, can result in the requester getting too much, or too little, help.

 

This was my slightly long-winded attempt to suggest that these question could be categorized by the poster as to which type of reply they would like to receive. This could help contributors to provide an answer, that is best aligned with the need of the poster. And if some kind of scoring system is needed, these categories could have assign different weights to the answers, due to the perceived value for the community, rather than the specific question.

 

Furthermore, when searching the forum for help, any posts in the second and third category could rank higher in search results, as they are potentially more helpful to wider range of questions.

 

And please consider implementing a “Frist” badge for being the first commenter on this post 😉

17 - Castor

Hi @WillM and @LeahK 

 

After reading @Per response (thank you by the way) which was very insightful. 

 

By my experience I would like to categorize posted questions into 3 types

 

1. Concept question : These might typically be as simple as how to do vlookup or use formula in alteryx. These are users who havent explored learning resources of Community and directly jump to post a question.

(PS : they may not be blamed maybe they did want to learn but they just didnt come across learning resources)

2. Simple Problem question : These question might be something like they know to use the tool, they have tired something but they dont know how to fit it to there problem. This would be lack of practical exercise. And PS this would be type of question which lot of people would jump to answer.

3. Problem Solving question : These are bit intermediate question. These might be one those question where solution author cannot answer it without touching the canvas him/herself first. This would require some thinking.

 

If you manage to reduce Type -1 and Type -2 question. Which will also imply that Type -3 question will be scenario where user has already tired something.

 

Based on my experience with the current scenario I am bit lost right now. Its like Solver didnt give an explanation nor did the question poster ask for one. What should this mean? That opens up a lot of questions about why exactly didnt the question poster didnt ask for explanation. Is it because he understood the flow (because solution workflow cannot always be used a plug and play) or his workflow is actually plug and play (strange that was never mostly the scenario at my work). I know there is a gap but really lost where the gap is.

 

And coming to the claim where rewards are what driving the competition on discussion board. Just a personal share we have an internal community I presume most of the companies have it (because of more freedom on sharing data since its within the company) where questions are posted and people help each other. And there is no reward system but people still help each other whenever they have free time. So coming back to claim, is it rewards that is actually creating competition. Rewards might be a slight catalyst for competition. But I dont think there is actually an issue or both are related. There are always people looking for help and there is always people ready to help.

 

And speaking about rewards, yes we need it. Our efforts needs to be quantified some way. And when I am speaking about rewards I don't want something extra I just want something to certify I have done this much work.

I do not want to make suggestion on that 😅

 

But to be kept in mind after you got the badges the actual reward would be

1. People who are greatful to you for helping

2. Friends/connections you made on the way

3. Knowledge you gained

3. Acceptance from people

 

And do the best for the community

 

Even if you are advanced certified but you cant solve a simple business problem there is no point in being certified. Similar with badges

 

These were my thoughts 🙂

Thank you