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On Subject Lines, Flat/Threaded Discussions & Groups

Using Ning's discussions feature for these topics means they are going to be generally linear, however they can more easily support divergent subjects by displaying replies in a threaded format instead of the current flat format. That can be changed in the dashboard under Settings > Features > Forum. I think a threaded format will also turn-off the automatic quotation which, in a very verbal community like this one, significantly adds to the length of the discussions. This could be an easy incremental next step. In a threaded format, with each reply relating directly to the comment right above it, Bill, you may find that you just don't miss not having subject lines.

Or we could model and encourage a culture of putting subject lines in replies, like Bryan and I did on our replies.

A more aggressive option is to setup a separate Group for each subject. Within the group could be held any number of related discussions. That provides a lot more opportunity for creating new discussions and for the kind of "new subject line" idea like Bill mentions. But it could also atomize or put us in more silos; it could create a barrier to entry for folks because content would be buried another click-deep and there would be a lot more stuff to choose from. Yet if you did this, you could organize into fewer areas. You could have several very-related subjects in the same group, with several moderators. For example, Jeff Aresty's Community Engagement and Larry Schooler's Public Participation may be in one group, Bill's ODR module and John Stephen's teaching discussion could be in another. 

Bryan Hanson said:

RE: THE LACK OF SUBJECT LINES IN REPLIES

The comment box does lack quite a bit of features to create rich posts. It is definitely something that could be improved in the Ning platform. I will look into it, and also potential alternatives for next year to ensure the discussions are easy to follow as they start to flow down various paths.

Bill Warters said:

Hello Noam and others.  I was noticing something about the structure of our platform and wondered if you were seeing it as well. It seems like the use of a forum system that has all posts as replies doesn't give us the option to create meaningful subject lines or present a new topic for discussion that is easily seen by someone new to the conversation. You kind of get down in the weeds a bit after a page or more of comments and I wonder if that might reduce the ease of engagement with the quite talented pool of moderators and visitors. Any thoughts?

My first live-participation in Cyberweek. Really great - nicely done - thank you Creighton/Werner/ADRHub and Bryan and Jeff and everyone else!

Malti - no, thank you! What a special discussion you initiated!

On the topic you asked about - google the work of Orna Rabinovich-Einy as a starting point. There are others working on it as well.

Noam

@ Jeff, those are all excellent suggestions and I will play around with the settings to see what may help build on the interactions for next year. It is great to have someone with some Ning experience share their insights. I am also glad you enjoyed the experience of Cyberweek. Your contributions throughout the week are greatly appreciated.

@Giuseppe - another CyberWeek first! Kudos go to Alberto and Michelle of course. Great work in being the first to dip your toes into the Italian waters!

Giuseppe Leone said:

Cyberweek in Italian

Noam:

Thanks to you, Alberto Elisavetsky (in Argentina) and Michele Romanelli (in Italy) today Valeria Gherardini (University of Padova) and I presented the first webinar on ODR in Italian.

Thank you all. Grazie a tutti.

Giuseppe Leone

More than a pleasure! See you next year Krista.
 
Krista Grace Jessacher said:

This has been a great CyberWeek....... a fantastic event.  Congratulations on a success!  Thank you Noam for your excellent Tweets.

Bryan, I like the way Ning creates lots of different sections for different events and discussions -- but it does feel a little disjointed vs. a traditional discussion forum, where everything unread can be stacked up at the top and kept track of.  It would be worth looking at some of the settings Jeff mentions.  Just something to think about for future cyberweeks.  Maybe Ning has the option to integrate into a more traditional discussion forum platform, such as vbulletin (I have a license) -- it would be nice to have single sign on, and both options, if doable.

rah

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