Nov 18 / Benjamin Schumann

An overview of the AnyLogic community: How to get the most from it

Welcome. Welcome to the world of AnyLogic. An exciting journey awaits you, full of successes, amazing achievements and warm pats on the back from your co-workers…
HOWEVER: Before you reap the rewards, you are here to learn. Learn simulation, learn AnyLogic, learn modelling. For that, you will have questions that the AnyLogic community can surely help with :)
NOTE: There are two basic ways to get help: The official way and via the community. If you have an active AnyLogic support license, you can use that to ask any questions and get email help of VERY high quality (there are real wizards sitting on the other ends!). In this post, we focus on the alternative.

Who is this mythical “AnyLogic community”?

In this post, I give you a brief overview of the AnyLogic community, so you know your way around and can get the best out of all of us. “We” are several thousand people using AnyLogic every day. “We” range from:
  • hard-code consultants that do nothing else but AnyLogic models for clients each day (myself included)
  • Industrial users building models for their companies, in any industry you can possibly think off
  • Academics using the tool for some research paper or other
  • Academics teaching students
  • students doing University projects

As with any informal online community, most “members” are quiet readers or passive followers. However, there is a good number of geeks who are very active and love to help new and existing community members with problems. Myself included :)

Why this overview?
In short: the AnyLogic community is diverse. There a several places where we “live”. Each has a distinct purpose and each should be used for different purposes. That way, you will get what you need, fast. So let’s dig in.

What is out there
There are three major places available to you: StackOverflow, the LinkedIn forum and a Discord server.

Do you have a technical question or a bug you cannot solve? Join us on StackOverflow and ask a question tagged with #anylogic. Be specific, technical and precise. 
Typically, good questions get an answer within 24 hours easily. However, it really depends on the quality of your question. StackOverflow is not a forum (where you chat back and forth). It is a tech-support platform with relatively strict rules.
Use those rules to your advantage and you can learn faster than you ever thought. And you help build a future-proof knowledge base for the community :)
Make sure to study my blog post on how to master StackOverflow for AnyLogic before diving in. It has many more tips for you to shine :)
Obviously, try to google your problem first. Chances are someone already had your problem. And Google is great at finding old StackOverflow posts for you.

AnyLogic created a “semi-official” forum on LinkedIn a long time ago. While they currently endorse StackOverflow, it is still an active place with over 6000 users!
Ask more “philosophical” questions here. Best use it for discussions about modelling approaches, “how can I model X” type-questions or general discussions about the tool. Since this is a forum, you can easily reply and have back’n’forth discussions.
However, avoid asking technical questions here. LinkedIn forums cannot be searched. So you will never find the answer in the future. And more: future users with similar problems will not be able to find this via Google.

There is a Discord server for AnyLogic users. You can sign up here. Discord is a social chat where you can simply socialize with others. So it is great for informal chit-chat, saying “hi”, meeting others, etc.
However, ideally do not use it for technical questions. The reason is the same as for LinkedIn: any “knowledge” stored on Discord is not available to the public, so a Google search will never find it. Also, it just is not designed for this.
Unfortunately, this place is currently (Fall 2021) relatively lonely. Come say “hi” and make it more lively. The community is not, in fact, a mythical blob of Internet beings. It is … you.

Got more?
Did I miss a place or characterized them wrong? Let me know, happy to adjust this post and make it the “go-to” place for new users.
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