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Minitab's LinkedIn Group: A Great Place to Talk Stats

LinkedInIf you've got questions about quality improvement and statistics, I've got a resource for you: the Minitab Network on LinkedIn. I'm privileged to serve as the moderator of this group, which lets people who use Minitab products communicate and network with like-minded people from around the world.

LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals, and the Minitab Network on LinkedIn has become an excellent way for Minitab users to share ideas and learn from each other. Since we launched the group in August 2008, it's become a very active community of people who share an interest in data and statistics.

It's an honor to help facilitate these discussions, although to be honest not very much facilitation is needed: the group's 6,000+ participants are very cordial and helpful. Every day people post questions and respond to each other with professional courtesy and unwavering support. It’s been great to see it grow. 

The success of this group isn't accidental. We strive to keep the signal-to-noise ratio on the Minitab Network very high. As a rule, we don't permit ads and promotions in the discussion area (not even our own!), and we keep discussions focused on data analysis and/or quality improvement. We also encourage goodwill and civility, so the group isn't plagued by the bickering and flame wars that mar so many Internet discussion groups. 

The Minitab Network has become a de facto “user group” for Minitab products. Early in the personal computing era, ‘user groups’ sprang up around different products, including Minitab. Group members would meet regularly and help each other get the most benefit from their shared interests.

Frequently, though, these user groups were very small and centered around a particular university or a company, which placed geographic and other constraints on the number and range of people who could participate. The LinkedIn group brings together Minitab users from around the world to share their insights and expertise, and it’s really exciting to see how enthusiastically people have seized onto it.

Recent topics of conversation on have included:

  •     Creating macros in Minitab
  •     3 Sigma vs. 6 Sigma
  •     Sample selection for Measurement System Analysis
  •     Interpreting the results of a 1-sample t-test
  •     Identifying what kind of regression analysis to use
  •     Customizing Minitab graphs

Many Minitab employees are members of the group, but we don't try to direct conversations or limit what people can say. Whether a participant shares kudos, questions, or complaints, we want to listen and learn along with the other members. 

The LinkedIn group also gives people who use our software a chance to interact directly with representatives of Minitab and to provide valuable feedback and comments. For example, one of our documentation specialists recently asked group members to share the kinds of questions they have when performing capability analysis; the responses are being used to improve future Help content.

However, the Minitab Network is primarily a discussion group and does not replace existing methods for contacting us for product support. If you have a question about your license, or if you’re having trouble using a Minitab product and you want someone from Minitab to respond first, you should contact us directly by visiting http://www.minitab.com/contact-us 

In addition to joining the Minitab Network on LinkedIn, enthusiasts of statistics, quality improvement and social media can follow us on Twitter and befriend us on Facebook.

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