The Data is In: New Policy & Advisory Board for Tableau Public

on February 21, 2011

It’s been a big year for Tableau Public. Since its launch in February 2010, enterprising journalists and bloggers have posted more than 23,000 workbooks to the Tableau Public servers, attracting more than 13 million views and exposing new insights on everything from obesity rates to alien abductions.

Tableau Public also experienced its first big controversy. During a recent WikiLeaks posting of diplomatic cables, we learned we needed a data policy that better defined what data is allowable on the Tableau Public servers, and how Tableau should respond to complaints about data shared via our free service.

So we are excited to announce two things today: We have changed our Tableau Public data policy to provide a clearer guide to us and our users, and we are creating an advisory board of experts to help us navigate future situations that push the boundaries of our policy.

The two main changes to our data policy are:

  1. We are establishing a more formal complaint process, by which people can challenge data posted to Tableau Public. By outlining specific circumstances in which we will consider taking down data, the new policy puts complaints through a higher level of scrutiny than before.
  2. We're more closely aligning our policy with the accepted guidelines for free speech on the internet. You can access our full data policy for more detail at www.tableausoftware.com/public/data-policy.

The advisory board will consist of Cheryl Phillips, chairman of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the data enterprise editor at the Seattle Times; Hanson Hosein, president of HRH Media Group, director of the Master of Communication in Digital Media at the University of Washington in Seattle and the host of Media Space TV; and Kraig Baker, chair of the Technology, e-Business & Digital Media Practice at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP. We have drawn from various quarters of expertise to ensure a broad range of opinions and insights.

Adapting our policy is a natural step as we continue to learn about the art and science of posting data to the web.

Tableau Public was launched in recognition of a wider need for strong analytics tools in a data-driven world. By creating Tableau Public, we entered uncharted territory for a business analytics software provider—- but we did so with the optimism that others would see even more applications for our technology than we imagined. Our users have not disappointed us, and their growing ranks have validated the need for easy-to-use tools that help people make sense of the world’s growing stores of public data. We look forward to continuing the discussion about open data on the web, and we welcome your comments below.