Discussion forums are either objects on their own within a folder or are attached to BSCW objects as annotations. A discussion forum consists of notes – basically short pieces of text “pinned to a bulletin board” for all members of a workspace to read and react on. One specific type of reaction is to write another note that refers (‘replies’) to an earlier one, as
o answer to a question;
o counter-argument to an argument;
o additional piece of information to a topic.
The author of a note that replies to another note extends and refines a network of notes – inside a discussion forum or even across the boundaries of discussion forums. This network of notes linked by replies remains intact when a note is transferred to a different discussion forum, to your clipboard or even to your trash.
A discussion forum may contain notes, which do not refer to one another, and may also contain several “threads” of notes replying to notes replying to notes, etc.
The discussion forum page shows an entry for each note of the discussion forum. The entries of notes that belong to a particular thread may be grouped together:
• Select View Sort by Thread in the top menu.
Notes may contribute different types of content to a discussion forum, possibly reflecting the author’s attitude. BSCW lets you characterize your contribution by certain types, which are displayed as icons along with the note. FIT Fraunhofer’s public BSCW server offers the following types:
Pro = approval
Con = disapproval
Angry = strong disapproval
Important! = significant contribution
Idea = sudden inspiration