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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Engaging in Online Discussions

Organizations use many ways to hold "discussions." A public forum such as an Exchange Public Folder or a newsgroup can be used. Emails can be sent back and forth, thus creating an email thread. A conference call can take place, or a face-to-face meeting can be scheduled. However, usually the discussion does not take place in a vacuum; it is generally related to a project, task, or issue that the organization needs to resolve. Therefore, it would be much more effective to have all the information relevant to the discussion available, including an organized grouping of the discussion items and responses.

With SharePoint, a discussion thread can be created on a team site or in a document library, thus linking the discussion to the other content available on the site. The discussion can be organized by conversation so that you can see a user's entry and the associated responses all together. A feature of SharePoint that is of great benefit in the area of discussions is the ability to create an alert for the discussion. By doing this, the user is notified when the discussion changes—in other words, when a response has been posted. This saves the user from having to continually check back to see whether anyone has responded.

The classic example of a discussion board is the help desk "newsgroup" where someone posts a question or problem, and others respond with requests for more information, answers, or resolution. Some other organizational uses of discussion boards include the following:

  • Getting feedback on a new process or procedure.

  • Soliciting ideas for a company event.

  • Soliciting ideas for resolution to an issue the company faces.

  • Discussing the structure of a document, modifications to it, and additions.

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