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Threaded messaging / conversation




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    Ami Dewar

    Thanks! Appreciate all the thought and ideas that went into this. We are definitely exploring replies and threading. Most likely we'll lead with simple quick replies (not threaded) and then evelove to threading or "topics", sub spaces. A lot more thinking to go there which is why we want to ease into it and learn from use. But this is definitely something we recognize as important and you bring up some great points!

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    Arnd Layer (Edited )

    From using Slack, what I don't like there is that replies do not appear in the chat.

    I think all replies to a message should appear in the timeline (at the time they were posted). So replies should be treated like every other message.

    All messages that belong to a discussion (initial message and all responses) should have an indicator. Selecting this indicator should then show only the messages in the discussion - probably switchable between threaded and timeline view.

    This way the current UX wouldn't change significantly and you can still track a discussion. Existing discussions would not go unnoticed as long as new responses are posted.

    To me, topics are something different to responses. Topics are away to separate content. I wouldn't like it if those two concepts were mixed.

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    Ami Dewar

    That aligns with our direction - both representing them in the transcript when they occur and using topics as a way to separate content.  

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    Chris Hobbs

    I agree with Arnd,
    Responses and Topics are two different things.

    However, both ares something which continues to get criticism lacking in the Watson Workspace offering.

    From recent experience, trying to capture and discuss feedback / updates on multiple PMRs in a Workspace is very challenging. For example, each PMR could be a Topic - which may have multiple thread responses

    At minimum, threading is a feature which I think should be in the Product and available when it is initially launched, else we are just trying to play catch to the competition.

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    Paul Jones

    I too would like to see Replies and Threads.  The version of Threading in Slack is kind of crude, I'd use maybe the model in Connections (Forums and Blogs), where you can reply or comment on a previous post, people can reply to your reply, building up the threading, and preserving the context.  Visually it could be done similarly, indents.  But this stream of consciousness thing in Spaces, just very difficult to follow.  Fine if there is only one topic or thread, but as the conversation builds, context and sequence gets lost.  It is really unworkable at scale and volume.

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    Ami Dewar

    The one thing that Slack learned and we've heard a lot from users is that doing the threading inline - in a conversation type setting - can be very challenging to keep up with where to reply and and follow the contiguous conversation - this is definitely different from a post/reply model that we are familiar with in forums and blogs - so there is a balance we have to strike with closely associating the replies with the post they are for and not cluttering the original conversation with many different threads. 

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    Daniel Lieber

    This is a somewhat tricky area as conversations tend to flow freely. One way to potentially help is to have some sort of control where the threading of comments can be changed (e.g. perhaps indent/outdent style) so topics can be navigable and sensible when natural forks appear as sometimes the forks aren't obvious.

    For example, this discussion actually has two distinct topics -- one is about the user experience and the other is about user expectations, with the goal of having them match (e.g. this conversation converging into one thread).

    I hope this helps a bit!

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    Paul Jones

    I would use the threaded RSS/Atom display model from Thunderbird/Seamonkey.  It works well, you get a sort of outline view of:

    1. Topic
    2. Who made the post
    3. When they made the post (all sortable)
    4. Replies to the Topic are shown in a tree fashion
    5. Clicking on a Tree limb expands it out (one level)
    6. You can flag or add posts to your todo list (also shows in in post)
    7. ...and so on.

    This has worked for years, and is pretty efficient.  Thunderbird has a flat view, that can show them just without indents, in sequential order, but the indents really help identify who said what in reply.  What we see with Workspace (and Slack, which has threading, but in a rudimentary fashion) is that the discussions as they break off into sub-discussions, you quickly lose track of who is saying what to whom.  It ends up a stream of consciousness thing.


    Probably also makes sense to organize some by topics, and have maybe an unread count under each.


  • Avatar
    Ami Dewar

    ...the discussions as they break off into sub-discussions, you quickly lose track of who is saying what to whom.  It ends up a stream of consciousness thing.


    Yes, this is exactly why we want to solve for this - we know it's a common challenge in collaboration.

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    Pat Lyons

    We just had an example where I posted something and had several responses with a few hours.  These got grouped together in a Moment.  A week later there was another response to this "thread" that was sort of lost (and had a separate Moment created).  I was thinking if you could reply while in that first Moment "view" then it would be grouped with that original conversation...i.e. not hanging on it's own.

    This creates another problem in that when you go in you will see that reply on it's own without context.  Could you have something like right clicking on it to see it's part of Moment (or have some other indication)?  That would allow you to pivot back to that Moment for context.

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    Art Corl Jr

    Said by several earlier comments, having a "view" of an individual thread is really important. I'd add to that ... having an easy way to see a list of all threads is also important. Maybe have a "tread" category in the resource drawer ... sorta like a table of contents for thread topics.

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    Ami Dewar

    Check out topics - https://help.workspace.ibm.com/hc/articles/360010517673-Using-Topics.   There is still work happening on in-line replies, but topics are sub conversations in a space and can help focus multiple conversations.  Would love your feedback. 

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