Facilitating Online Meetings with Debategraph
We have recently added a raft of new features to support collaboration among members of the Debategraph community around the world. This article describes these features.
From its inception Debategraph was designed to support collaboration in building maps by communities spread around the world – and with co-founders based in Australia and England this kind of dispersed, virtual collaboration is part of Debategraph's DNA. After registering anyone with access to a given map can use the full range of editing features (apart from a set of creator moderator-only controls), and our working interface includes a message 'stream' that blends free-form messages with automatically generated editing updates – making it possible to keep track of developments anywhere on the map and to communicate in real-time (for more details see this separate article).

However this article focuses on the two recent innovations designed to stimluate and support wider collaboration within and between map communities.


Wouldn't it be nice to be able to schedule a live online mapping event and invite members of the Debategraph community along? Trouble is, we all tend to live in different timezones. How to deal with this? Answer - by using our new Meeting Scheduling Tool.

It works like this. Say you have just created a new map, and you want to get others to work with you in building it. What about having a virtual barn-raising (Amish-style)? You would do it this way:
  1. You click the Community tab, then click the Schedule a map meeting link.
  2. This opens the Meeting Scheduling Tool with which you can enter a meeting title, set meeting dates and times (in your local time), set the meeting duration and whether it is to be repeated weekly, provide a meeting description, and post email invitations.
  3. Once the meeting has been scheduled, a billboard (which can be minimized) appears on the map giving particulars - including times in the viewer's local time. The billboard includes check boxes for each scheduled time which viewers can click to indicate interest in attending. By clicking the relevant link, a list of the current (intending) attendees can be viewed.
  4. Any users who indicate interest are automatically sent a reminder email before the scheduled time.



Ever found yourself looking at a Debategraph map and asking yourself 'is anybody home'? You can now answer that question by simply casting your eye at the Co-Presence Indicator that sits top-right above the map in the Hub view. This is a miniature version of the Debategraph logo with a number indicating how many logged-in users are looking at the map at that time. By rolling over this widget, you can view a list of such users (not including those who have opted to make themselves invisible). 

Better still, you can 'Hail' these users to attract their attention. You have the choice of a public hail, which goes to all users currently on the map - as well as the normal message stream - or a private hail to only those you select using check-boxes on the co-presence list. In the private hail case, a conversation can be carried on discreetly without it appearing on the messages stream.

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Facilitating Online Meetings with Debategraph
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