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The Vator Box show on comments reminded me of our own internal thinking about online discussions in a project-collaboration system. One of the most important components of a PPM application is the ability to collaborate on a particular task or project. That includes back and forth discussions that are available to the entire team rather than buried in some email stream somewhere, never to be surfaced again. This means documented discussions and not water cooler vapor.
These discussions contain extremely important information about the projects. They contain ideas, solutions, agreements, questions, answers, and many other nuggets of data. We have been engaged in a debate about the proper structure of discussions and comments in a Project Collaboration context. Some interesting questions come up:
1. Do we allow nested comments? In other words can a person reply to a reply? This has a big impact on the nature of the discussion and the comment?
2. Do we allow people to edit the original entry? This begins to act more and more like a Wiki and less like a discussion around a unique topic thread.
3. Who gets to see what? How do we control security and if we are trying to create an open discussion, does that openness inadvertently inhibit participation?
Very quickly we can see that the structure and rules around a discussion forum in a project context can have a pretty big impact on the very nature of the discussion. Perhaps the biggest factor in our situation is that project discussions are NOT globally public and they are intended to facilitate the development and capture of knowledge.
Would you like to comment?
Note: For more of Demian's thoughts, visit his blog.
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