Tips and Tricks: Tame Your Discussion Tab

Like any part of your wiki, your Discussion tab is a flexible tool. It can be a vital communication hub, where you record critical conversations and make crucial decisions. Or it can be a casual meeting place, giving you a chance to share opinions and gossip with the other people using your wiki. If you want, it can even disappear altogether. How you use it is up to you. Understanding your options? That’s where we can help.

Where is my Discussion tab? What does it do? What can I make it do?
The Discussion tab lets you have a conversation, like on a message board. One person can start a topic or pose a question, then other people can add to that comment, or start new topics of their own.

When your wiki is fresh out of the box, there is a separate Discussion tab for every page on your wiki. It’s a great option if you have different kinds of work happening on different pages, or if each page is built for a different group. But if your whole wiki is a single project for a single team, or if you want all the chatter as well as the work to happen on the pages themselves instead of in a separate section, it’s easy to change those settings:

  1. When you’re logged in as organizer of your wiki, go to Manage Wiki.
  2. Under Settings, click Wiki Info.
  3. Scroll down to Discussion Settings and make your choice:
    • No discussion pages is pretty self-explanatory.
    • One discussion page for the whole wiki removes your Discussion tabs and adds a Discussion link to your Actions menu, between New Page and Recent Changes. No matter where someone is in your wiki, clicking this link will take them to the same Discussion page.
    • One discussion tab per page will put the tabs back on all your pages.
  4. Hit Save.

What can I put in a discussion post?
Words, pictures, and files. The words part is simple. To add pictures and files, you need wikitext.

Say I’ve uploaded an image to my wiki, and it’s called happy.png. If I want to use it as an image, I would add it to my comment by typing, [[image:happy.png]]

If I just wanted to link to the image, so that other users could download it, I would add it to my comment by typing, [[file:happy.png]]

And that will work for any image or any file that you’ve uploaded to the wiki.

In fact, any wikitext formatting will work in comments. You can find out more about wikitext here.

Who can join the conversation?
That depends on your permissions settings:

  1. When you’re logged in as organizer of your wiki, go to Manage Wiki.
  2. Under People, click Permissions.
    • If your wiki is Public or Protected, only logged-in members of that wiki can post to a discussion — unless you check the “Allow message posts from non-members” box. In that case, any logged-in user will be able to contribute to the discussion, whether they’re a member of your wiki or not.
    • If you have a Super-plan wiki or your wiki is on a Private Label site, you can adjust your Custom discussion settings.
    • If your wiki is Private, only members of that wiki will even be able to see it, let alone edit pages or post discussions.
  3. Once you’re happy with your settings, click the Update button.

I like where this is going, but how can I moderate discussions?
As an organizer, you have two tools for moderating discussions: Notifications, and the Delete option.

Depending on your notification settings, you can monitor all discussions for a whole wiki, all the discussions for a given page, or even just a single discussion topic. Our notification help will help you understand your options.

If one of your members gets out of line, you can delete the inappropriate post, or a whole topic. And if someone makes a post in error, or wants to correct a mistake, you can delete the original post so that they can re-post their comment.

Curveball time: We had a great discussion about this page last year. This year, I want to have a new discussion about the same page. Can I do that?
Sure you can:

  1. Rename your page.
  2. Create a new page, and give it the name you liked for your original page.
  3. Copy everything on the original page into the new page.

Now you’re ready to start over, with a fresh Discussion tab and a fresh History.

That should be enough to get you started. If you have any questions, or if you want to show off how you’re using discussions in your wiki, send us an email at help@wikispaces.com.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted January 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! I was looking for help for this…right on time, y’all. Bless you. —Ms. D

  2. Zera
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Yay! I needed some info like this!

  3. Posted January 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I’d give anything to have threaded discussions possible. Is that on your to-do list?

  4. Posted January 24, 2011 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    What happens to historic discussions on individual pages if you switch to one discussion for the whole site?

  5. Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    @David – when you flip the switch to one discussion, we roll up discussions from other pages into the new single discusion area. If you flip the switch back, they go back to their original pages i.e. we don’t lose the historical association. New messages will stay on the ‘home’ page.

  6. Eric Myers
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    How do you comment on a comment in a discussion? The threads only seem to go one level. I would like further peer discussion possible for my class pages.

  7. Posted March 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I love wikispaces and also the discussions. I’m using with 9 year olds and have learned the value of moving all discussions to one page. I’m wondering if I turn off discussions for a time period, when I turn them back on will they still be there, or will they be deleted? Thanks so much for your fabulous educational tool.

  8. Posted March 23, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    We just used wiki to organize a district wide 5th grade hispanic fiesta. The fiesta and the wiki use was a wonderful success! There were 9 of us on the committee and using wiki to communicate was very helpful. Now the fiesta is over, and I’d like to clean out the discussion entries. How do I do this?
    When I click on “recycle” under “manage wiki”, it says “an organizer only can access”. Well, I am the organizer so I’m wondering why it’s not letting me have access (if this is the place where I would delete items).

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