How to Get Your Question Answered Quickly

by Super User on ‎05-25-2016 12:55 PM

Introduction

This article contains numerous suggestions and recommendations that will help you get your particular question about Power BI answered quickly and correctly versus seemingly ignored.

 

Post in the Correct Forum

This may seem elementary, but choose your forum wisely. Some top answerers regularly peruse the "All Topics" view of the forums, but not everyone. Some of the top answerers are more specialized. For example, I do not answer much in the Developer forum because I do not do a ton of Power BI Development. But other answerers pretty much only do Power BI Development and that is the only forum they follow. Also, posting a question in the Service forum when you are having an issue in Desktop will create confusion on the part of the answerer.

 

Don't Cross Post

Cross posting is considered rude and wasteful and it has been so since the dawn of forums. Don't do it. Again, some answerers use the "All Topics" view of the forums and then we see 5 posts with the same title and question. Which one do we answer? Bottom line, some community members will not answer a cross posted topic on principle alone.

 

Be Nice

The vast majority of the community are volunteers with day jobs. Being rude or complaining about Power BI or Microsoft or this or that will not make answerers endeavor to help you. And when the answerer misunderstands your question and gives you the wrong answer, be nice and polite and inform them that they misunderstood and re-explain what you were going for. Being terse and such will, again, not encourage answerers to endeavor to help you. I have not seen it on this site, but I have known some members in other similar community members that kept lists of other members that they would just rather not deal with.

 

Post Sample Data

I cannot stress this one enough. That's why it is in red. If you have a question about something that just isn't working right, post as much information as you can, starting with your data. Scrub it if you have to, but post it. It makes things SO much easier to understand and replicate the problem ourselves locally. Even better, we can give you back an answer using your very own column names instead of "SomeTable" and "SomeColumn". Makes it so that you can just copy and paste the answer into your own model and not have to monkey with it.

 

When Posting Data, Put it in a Nice Format

The easier that you make it for answerers to copy your sample data directly from your post and paste it into an "Enter Data" query, the more likely and faster that you going to get responses. Think about it, if you paste your data in an unfriendly format or as a picture, the answerer is going to have to key in all of the data by hand to recreate your model. Thus, the odds of you getting an answer in a timely manner drastically decreases.

 

The most tried and true method that I have found is to copy and paste data from Excel into the post. You will get an error posting the first time about invalid HTML and such, but just hit the post button again and your data will be in a nice table within the post that can be simply copied and pasted into an "Enter Data" query. The next best thing is to format your data as a comma separated file (CSV). Again, very simple to copy and paste into Notepad and save as a CSV file that can then be easily referenced in a CSV query. Oh, and one last thing, include your headers!

 

Include Your Relationships

Here is where posting a picture is the perfect solution. Take a screen shot of the relationship pane and upload the image to your post. Failing that, use proper notation to explain your relationships, such as:

 

SomeTable          SomeOtherTable

SomeColumn 1:* SomeOther Column

 

SomeTable          SomeOtherTable

SomeColumn 1:1 SomeOtherColumn

 

The first denotes a one-to-many relationship, the other a one-to-one relationship. Use * for the many, use 1 for the 1.

 

Include Your Formulas

It is very helpful to explain what you are trying to do as this provides context to the problem, however, don't forget to post the formulas that you are having problems with. And, for bonus points, put them in a code block. That's the page icon with the "</>" in the middle of it next to the smiley icon when creating a post. This helps draw the answerer's eye to the formula and makes it easy to know exactly what to copy and paste into their own test model.

 

Include Your Expected Result

If you are looking to create a particular visual or a table that calculates data a particular way, by all means, include an example of the visual or the expected results of a calculation in your post. This will help the answerer understand exactly the result that you are trying to achieve instead of going down the wrong path.

 

 

Don't Bother Posting Correlation ID Errors

correlation.png

 

This may seem a little harsh, but posting a picture like the one above and asking what is wrong is essentially a waste of everyone's time. Why? Because none of us speak Correlation ID or GUID either. There's simply no information upon which we can act to give you an answer. If you post one of these, the answer that will come back will likely be something along the lines of:

 

"I suggest that you use the smiley icon in the Service/Desktop to notify the Power BI team and include a screen shot. If you are in the Desktop, you can turn on tracing and send it to support by going to support.powerbi.com and clicking on the "Contact Support" link."

 

The exception to this advice is if you are asking a question about something that worked yesterday and now does not (for example) and the way to preface that image is something like:

 

"Hey, yesterday when I uploaded and overwrote my dataset in the Service by publishing from Desktop, everything was fine, but now every time I try to publish my PBIX file, I get this error <insert screen shot> is anyone else seeing this kind of error (see below)"

 

Or the classic:

"Hey I'm trying to do <this> and keep getting the error below, has anyone gottent this to work?"

 

Again, nobody can speak Correlation ID or GUID, but we CAN attempt to replicate the particular issue you are having and help confirm or deny whether or not it is a general issue or just you. Smiley Happy

 

The people that CAN speak Correlation ID are the fine folks at Power BI Support. You can go to https://support.powerbi.com and use the "Contact Support" link in the lower right of the page to open a ticket and send them the error information.

 

Issues

If you have found a true bug or issue, you can make a post to the forum to let others know (and that would be very nice of you to do so) but if you want to get it fixed, you should post it in the Ideas area of the community. Specifically, you should post it here:

 

https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/360879-issues

 

Ideas

If you have a new idea for functionality or how something should work, you can certainly start a thread on the community to solicit feedback on your idea, but you should also post the idea in the ideas section of the website and solicit others to vote on your idea. The Power BI development team uses the Ideas area of the community to build their development pipeline and a significant amount of weight is placed on Ideas that have lots of votes versus those that do not. The ideas area of the community is here:

 

https://ideas.powerbi.com

 

Be Concise

Brevity is a wonderful thing in forum postings. The best questions are those that provide a brief overview of what the poster is trying to achieve and then post their data, relationships, formulas and expected output. If you post in this way, if there is an answer to be had, you will get an answer.

 

Example

Below is an example of an exemplary post that is sure to be answered...

 

I’m having trouble “thinking in DAX” WRT describing proportions.

 

I have two tables.

  1. A table that defines a taxonomy of categories (Dictionary)[Category] and unique issues (Dictionary)[All Issues].
  2. A table of questionnaire responses. Each response can be parsed across multiple issues.
  • Among many other columns, the table includes one named (Verbatims)[Unpivoted Issues].
  • It also includes a unique respondent ID (Verbatims)[UUID].

Dictionary

Category

Issue

GENERAL

General - OTHER Issues

GENERAL

General – Vague issues

Startup

Startup - Other Issues

Ports

USB Port - Physical damage

Internet/Connectivity

Wi-Fi - Vague Issue

 

Verbatims

UUID

Unpivoted_Issues

5a6b5a614e593f722a24736c39

General - OTHER Issues

3e2b46627b51763b556b5b2d2e

General – Vague issues

654e434370456f4c2d6455496c

General - OTHER Issues

654e434370456f4c2d6455496c

USB Port - Physical damage

654e434370456f4c2d6455496c

Startup - Other Issues

2d3e5e557c4e4373592754275f

Wi-Fi - Vague Issue

6a7b3255424430656a6e7a5329

USB Port - Physical damage

6a7b3255424430656a6e7a5329

General - OTHER Issues

4b394832746520534c2165794f

USB Port - Physical damage

 

I need to produce visualizations that show the proportions of issues within categories by unique respondents.

 

I didn’t have trouble coming up with a visualization for % of issues by unique respondents or count of issues within their categories but I can’t seem to get my arms around this one.

 

What I am expecting are results like:

CategoryCount of Issues% of issues by Distinct UUID
GENERAL467%
Ports350%
Startup117%
Internet/Connectivity117%

 

Where: Distinctcount(Verbatims)[UUID] = 6

 

 

 

Conclusion

I can't promise you that you will get your question answered to your satisfaction and yes, putting a question into the format of the example above takes a little bit of work. However, putting in a little extra effort into the framing of the question will go a long way to getting your question answered or issue resolved as quickly as possible and that's really what the community is all about.

 

Comments
by Super User
on ‎05-25-2016 01:03 PM

Tracking counter

 

by KarelHrubes Visitor
on ‎05-25-2016 10:12 PM

It was well-written, I'll try to act accordingly... :-) :-)

by Power BI Admin
on ‎05-26-2016 05:35 PM

This phrase is gold. I whish I could live up to the challenge Smiley Happy

 

"putting in a little extra effort into the framing of the question will go a long way to getting your question answered or issue resolved as quickly as possible"

by kincaids Regular Visitor
on ‎11-21-2016 05:04 AM

This is super helpful!  Thanks!

by Mansi1 Visitor
on ‎01-12-2018 08:02 AM

Hi,

 

Can anyone tell me how to post my problem in the community?

 

I am new to this forum and I have couple of questions regarding powe bi.

 

Thanks in Advance.

 

Mansi.

by jendo26 Occasional Visitor
on ‎04-07-2018 06:27 AM

So the nost popular game it free online text twist is the great version play list.

by frivera Visitor
on ‎07-03-2018 06:59 AM

I'm glad I have stumbled upon this post on the first day I registered. I am still struggling to understand Power Bi and particularly trying to understand what to provide since everything is just overwhelming.  After reading this it seems that not only does it appear through forums that no one has had my issue but also that I don't understand DAX. 

 

My current issue in showing how many hours and minutes were spent on a project type.  For example, 100hrs and 15min were spent on Marketing Materials. I honestly don't even know where to start.