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Feedback and feature suggestions for the Brainstorming platform

Image credit: neonbrand / unsplash.com

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 22, 2020
We would love to hear your feedback! This thread is the place to do it. Do you have any cool feature suggestions? Please describe them below.

The Brainstorming platform is at a very early stage. At the time of writing, there are 70+ features on the to-do list. These are currently being worked on:

  • Collaborative editing of any text. Edit suggestions are possible/visible to all users except beginners. Whether suggestions make it into the working version of the document depends on votes by established users.
  • Transparent peer-review / vote edit approval system
  • Irrelevant tab; Casting a vote to move any solution or comment into an "irrelevant tab". Content that gets moved there is out of the main document view but can be seen if you visit the irrelevant tab
  • Learning material tab; A tab (one click off the main content area) where experts outline a DIY curriculum and link to the most suitable resources. This is meant to help enthusiastic non-experts catch up on the topic so that they can then contribute in a meaningful way from their unique perspective.
  • crowd-sourced bounties for solutions to hard problems
  • Ability to follow/unfollow specific content pieces, tags, users and set custom notifications
  • Person to person direct messaging
  • etc...

Please take it from here and suggest new features we should add. We will sort the list of suggestions by popularity and prioritize working on those that are most upvoted first.

We try to make every feature as intuitive as possible. If you find something that could be made clearer, please point it out. Also, point out any bugs you encounter.

Thank you for helping us shape this into a great tool for creative collaboration! Hopefully, something good comes out of it.
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Creative contributions

Follow a member

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J
Juran Oct 14, 2020
It could be nice that instead of just following certain tags, we could also follow members. Sometimes we intrinsically connect with someone, sharing thoughts and stand-points, and would like to see what he/she/it posts.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Makes sense. I think we have this planned within the next month

Header image cropping

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Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic Jul 24, 2020
Optimizing (cropping) thumbnails for horizontal layout is ok - I don’t see any other way to make all thumbnails uniform. However, on the idea/session page, you don’t have to crop upright images for horizontal view. Simply resize the header image to make the maximum width match the content area but height should be kept at the original aspect ratio relative to the resized width. In other words the thumbnail and the full sized header image don’t have to have the same dimensions. While the thumbnail is cropped to uniform width/height, the header image should be in original aspect ratio - just resized by width.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
This is near the top of our 65-pages long to-do list

Brainstorming-specific dynamic glossary of catchphrases, abbreviations and emerging conceptual terms

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Oct 04, 2020
When we brainstorm, sometimes due to linguistic limitation, we might be forced, or to put it positively, be inspired to create some novel terms, phrases or any other group of words that might mean anything- just not yet commonly understood and used in commonplace literature.

To keep our readers in the same plane of our brainstorming frequency, we can create backlinks or glossaries for the terms that are at first understood and used only by the brainstormers and the early-adapting audience/user of the platform.

For example, terms like Bisociation, or Podmine -for that matter are some new words that are not used by people outside. Such newly introduced concepts could be defined and/or backlinked to the session/idea page so that the users who visit the platform would feel easy to understand the ideas. The glossary could also include newly emerging terms in the scientific, academic and technological literature. Cumulative age score, proposed in this session, for example, might be a really good phrase to include in the glossary. The glossary could also include terms human-centric artificial general intelligence (AGI) and carbon engineering, which are emerging in their respective fields. The idea of Geometric Unity, also could be put up as a new conceptual term in the glossary. As the platform grows, we can expect the glossary to grow as well. Once the quorum of the novel concepts and ideas becomes enough, we can even optimize the glossary to be dynamic and use it to build new ideas (can we call them meta-ideas?) as we populate it with more entries.

This will be a sort of experiment that puts human language to its best use: for communication, as well as for the synthesis of new ideas.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
We envision a cool solution for this: specific terms that might need explaining can be briefly described. A visitor can then pause their mouse cursor on such terms and get a popover explanation similar to this https://s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com/idbwmedia.com/images/tooltipdemo.png
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Martina Pesce
Martina Pescea year ago
Darko Savic
I love this solution!
I think it would also be nice to make sure we don't miss out on these words. Do you think the users should have the possibility of signaling words worth an explanation?
I'd like it, but just if it's an easy, non-invasive solution. And I actually can't think of any solution like that at the moment. Anyone can?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Martina PesceIt should be doable. We will keep an eye out for this. If the need arises we can work on it. We have about a year worth of upgrades before we get to that:)

Showcase main categories that the sessions and ideas fall into on the front page

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Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 04, 2020
This might be one of the ways to make the webpage look less blog-like (not that I have something against it). Each user will be drawn to certain general topics (aka categories) more than others, therefore they could instantly click on the one that they feel drawn to the most and be presented with a variety of related sessions and ideas. This would be especially useful for completely new users, but I think for everyone. This is a kind of Netflix-style design. This would take part of the front page and then the "trending" and "most popular" sessions and ideas could be shown somewhere on the side or vice-versa. Each category window image could be composed of images and titles of a few most popular sessions that fall into that category.

Weekly newsletter

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 12, 2020
I have always considered newsletters to be a form of spam. That’s why you never received any emails from the platform.

On the other hand, had we done a better job in reaching out maybe by now we would be good friends who brainstorm together on a regular basis. So let’s give this a try and see how it goes. I will send everyone an email once per week. I will keep it short but packed with the best possible thoughts I can come up with. Judging by how many of you unsubscribe I will know whether we are becoming friends or this was a mistake:)

small list of picky ideas

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce Oct 17, 2020

  • Possibility to see the list of ideas separated from the list of brainstorming sessions
  • Having a list of the tags somewhere on the homepage
  • Possibility to like ideas/sessions without opening them
  • An app version of brainstorming.com
  • a more mobile-friendly contribution writing box: I was trying to post this from my phone, but the dot list was bugging so much that I just picked my laptop (anyone else with the same problem? Maybe I just have a shitty phone)
  • possibility to add ideas/sessions to a favourite session and to a "to read" list
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Even tags can be displyed with their metrics - number of sessions under the tag, number of comments, likes, active people, etc. and can be listed based on recent activity.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
The upcoming redesign will take care of your points 1, 2, 5

The mobile app is planned within the next 8 months or so

Should people be liking content before they actually read it?🙂

We envisioned the ability to "follow" specific content pieces (idea, session, even a specific contribution). You would get notified about updates to the content you follow.

The thing with to-read lists is, they tend to pile up:) https://brainstorming.com/r/s99

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pescea year ago
Darko Savic
So, suggestion number 3 came to me as a consequence of a need I felt. Then I asked myself the same question you are asking me now, and my answer was "no". However, it is bothering when you exit a session and forget to upvote it to have to reopen the session again to like it.
It's really useful for lazy people. But I understand quality > laziness. Agreed.

I see many different opinions on the to-read list. I haven't yet formed a definitive for myself, but I believe, since many people would go for it, that it would be good to give it the possibility to exists. Maybe even by still being conscious of the negative side of it! It would be possible to send a notification "would you like to clean your to-read list?" to the user if more than X sessions have been unopened for Y time (maybe even with the possibility of the user deciding himself how much X and Y should be).
Also, to-read list fanatics are gonna make a list anyway with the browser bookmark. Shouldn't we then provide the possibility in the platform anyway? I'd feel like the platform is taking care of my needs, and I wouldn't have it mixed with all my other irrelevant browser bookmarks. And who doesn't like to-read list won't even notice.

Yay! for all the other points on the list

Brainstorming groups (think tanks)

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 26, 2020
Groups of people that have their own “workspace” environment. The group environment can be public (for anyone to see, but only group members can participate) or private, where only the group members have access and the public cannot see the environment. The groups can be listed or unlisted (invisible). With listed groups, people can apply for membership (to be approved by members of the group with administrative privileges). Group members with administrative privileges can invite other members into the group. The group workspace should include: - Chat channels (like slack) - Group members with administrator privileges should have the ability to optionally create sessions with attributions to the group (group symbol/logo/marking added to the session) and group name listed as the creator - Index of private and public sessions/ideas created by the group - Private group sessions/ideas visible only to group members
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Udruga Mladih UMNO
Udruga Mladih UMNOa year ago
Bring companies and investors to this site to give us their problems.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
As soon as we polish out the system to be very easy/fun to work with, the next step is to put all our efforts into growing:)
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
this feature is also on the to-do list

Stick to your inspiration - follow your audience's UI preferences

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Lorenzo Carver
Lorenzo Carver Jul 28, 2020
"If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." - Reid Hoffman As I landed on your link and started to signup this is exactly what I thought about. As soon as I logged in and scrolled down the page I ran into that exact quote as a comment posted by a user named Darko. You can see the need for this in ways that aren't apparent to the average person (myself included). Yet you move this thing along by exploring ways to connect that huge need with things people can relate to enough to want to explore the journey. The artwork is a big piece of this (IMO). The next steps towards integrating that into a UI that matches the vision are apparent to you I'm sure. I'm glad you didn't wait until those steps were further along before launching. We're all launching every day and every hour - that's how this works. Love your project just as much today as I did the first time I read your post on it. Congrats on your first "official" launch. Looking forward to being a part of each subsequent iteration.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Thank you kindly! Are there any UI changes you would recommend? We received feedback about the platform being too blog/news-like. I can agree. We are now looking into going back to the initial design concept which was less blog-like

The user interface looks too much like a blog

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Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic Aug 17, 2020
I shared the platform with a few friends. Some of them thought it was a blog. I suggest you redesign it to emphasize the content-interaction functions (like/dislike, edit, follow). That way it would feel more actionable - more like a platform, less like a blog.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Yes, that's common feedback. The platform is being redesigned with this in mind. It shouldn't take more than 2-3 weeks. thank you

Make creative contributions extensively customizable

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Sep 07, 2020
Just like the Sessions and Idea editors, it would be great if the creative contribution editor offered more options to tweak the texts. Here are my few suggestions: 1. Enable the editor to make some keywords and phrases bold so that the readers can easily skim through the major concepts. 2. Enable highlighting important sentences. 3. Allow the editor to input images. links and flowcharts. 4. Incorporate referencing in the creative contributions as well. 5. Make it possible to backlink to other relevant materials within the platform.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Yes, all this is being worked on and should be implemented by the end of this week

A specialized section for pictorial ideas

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Oct 15, 2020
Some concepts and ideas are better explained if 'shown' in pictures, rather than when 'told' only in words. Hence, how about dedicating a special section within the brainstorming platform that contains ideas in the form of pictures (with short explanations)? The pictorial ideas could be anything from flowcharts, Venn-diagrams, doodles and sketches. For example, think about the fundamental way in which the neural networks work. Neural networks are the specialized biological brain-mechanism mimicking algorithms targeted to develop AI programs that can deal with abstractions (in addition to normal computation). A neural network comprises at least three layers: the input layer, the hidden (also sometimes called training) layer, and an output layer. Each layer consists of one or more nodes. The information flow can be unidirectional or bidirectional.

This is a relatively complex concept to grasp for someone who is not familiar with the idea. However, consider the following picture:
It becomes easier to comprehend the concept with this picture. We first give input data to the algorithm (X1). The input could be anything- pixel values from an image, temperature values on successive days, etc, They may also be the output of some other algorithm. Each X1 data point could have any imaginable variable value. X2 is the hidden layer which can only contain values between 0 and 1. The algorithm does the computation and weighs the data from X1 input to store in the X2. Finally, a decision is made on the third (output) layer which gives X3 values. So, while training an AI to distinguish various sounds, X1 layer gives all the possible frequencies to the algorithm, X2 categorizes similar frequencies (by clustering) and X3 gives the output as to a cat meowing vs a dog barking! With the help of such pictorial explanations, we can explain things in an easier manner. The pictorial ideas section can incorporate an inbuilt picture editor/ sketchpad to facilitate doodling. If not, we can always import images created by other means and just upload with a bit of description.

small list of picky ideas part 2

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce Oct 21, 2020
  • you can't reach the bar at the end of the homepage (the one in the picture) unless you pass through all the brainstorming sessions/ideas: I think it would be really annoying for any user who tries to do reach there, especially when the sessions will be more. Maybe a smaller version of the bar that expands in the current one if you scroll on it fixed at the bottom of the homepage could be a solution?
  • a link to the social pages of the platform, maybe in the bar at the bottom of the homepage, would be cool
  • the possibility of not just modifying but also updating a creative contribution, with still the possibility to see the old contribution. It's true that we could use comments, but I think it would look tidier, less dispersive, and more complete (for example I would not have created this part 2) with updates
  • a tone detector tool: when writing Grammarly, for example, tells you if your tone is confident, angry or something else. I think it could help the user to make comments which go more in a collaborative direction. Unluckily not everyone has the Grammarly browser extension, shall we build one for our own platform? Opinion on the worthiness of this effort?
  • possibility to add images in the comments
  • when notifications about creative contributions/comments get open, would be nice if they would bring directly to the relevant bit and not just to the session
  • since contributions move on top when updated, shouldn't it be nice to have the hour of publication of it near the date? Like that would be possible to reconstruct the order of the contribution if wanted: sometimes is useful to see the order of contribution towards a conclusion

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
I think adding something like Grammarly (and improving it) will take a whole new technical investment, probably, equivalent to that of developing the platform. I think we have planned for an editing feature where other users can improve your contribution (language, tone, etc.)

PS: There exists an online version of Grammarly, if that solves your problem. (https://app.grammarly.com/ddocs/711070982)
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Martina Pesce
Martina Pescea year ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni
then maybe a collaboration with Grammarly?

Oh! I've had Grammarly already for a while, I was thinking more about it to help the user (and indirectly the moderators in not having to edit all the time).
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Can you reach the footer bar on youtube's front page?🙂. The front page is not meant for this. You can reach it on every other page though. You are the 3rd person reporting this issue (I was the 2nd) :)

What are the actual differences between editing a contribution and updating it?

The plan is to have all interested participants notified when a contribution has been edited (or updated - it's a matter of wording). The edited/updated contribution will get bumped to the top because of the latest activity.

The plan is also to keep a timeline of changes on the sidebar of each session/idea page. There would be a detailed log of changes. People will be able to vote to revert a document to a previous version as well.

Would that solve your suggestion?

Merge similar sessions

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 22, 2020
Users (especially new users) might recreate sessions or even contributions that are already there. There is no way they would check for everything before they contribute. Only those users will notice those that remember all the content more or less by heart. Overlapping content is, therefore, inevitable with the growing amount of content. Automated detection of duplicate content is difficult with the current technology. It needs some human intervention (moderator function). Deleting the duplicate session will discourage the user and creating a duplicate session is not entirely the user's fault.

Here is a solution: Allow the moderators to merge similar sessions.
  1. The original authors will be instantly notified of the merger.
  2. The first creator of the content will have the upper hand. The extra stuff that the second creator posts can be appended to the session text along with the name of the second author.
  3. The content by the second author can also be added as a contribution or a general comment. This decision lies with the moderators.
  4. The merged session can also have a "merged" sign.
  5. The merged session can display multiple author names. Just like publications - first author, second authors, and so on.

Is there some feature planned to avoid overlapping of the sessions/ideas?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
A great suggestion. The way I see it there are at least 3 aspects to consider. This would:

- Increase the content quality on the platform.
- Decrease the feeling of "freedom" people have to do with their content what they want. This would increase the user experience for some participants but decrease it for those who create the content (most important participants?). In time this would add up to "offend" more and more creators.
- increase the workload for moderators and subsequent cost if the moderation is not sufficiently covered by volunteer moderators.

In a system that is growing in complexity. We have to consider as many side effects as we can think of. Even then we will surely be surprised at times to find unexpected results.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Darko Savic I agree. Points 2 and 3 make the idea unsustainable. We can, probably, start with paid moderation only for funded sessions (we can figure the costing for this - a part of the bounty will go to the moderator, either chosen by the platform or the funding agency). For crowd-funded projects, which will rarely happen in the recent future, the platform can choose a moderator (field expert) who will maintain the session. Non-sponsored sessions can be moderated by volunteers or session owners.

Introduce Abstracts, promote schemes, collapse contributions

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Antonio Carusillo
Antonio Carusillo Oct 22, 2020
As underlined in my comments to this Session , a drawback of our sessions - particularly the more advanced ones - is that a new user landing on this session may be certainly overwhelmed by the amount of information.

Which, does not mean that the session is too complex or complicated, rather too crowded and packed.

Even if our sessions are very " simple " ( with the backfire to lose the current users coming from the academic world) there would be still a lot of information that the person has to digest.

At the moment, a person to "catch up" with the content of the session has to scroll down and read each contribution or comment. This can be boring, even frustrating, or annoying. The more a session progresses the more crowded it will be. Also, unless you are following the session since its beginning it won´t be possible to know whether any conclusion has been drawn or if a solution has been found. This will also give the impression that we "gave up" on it and moved on.

So, to make it more (new)user friendly and time-saving, we should implement the concept of writing an abstract ( even better if followed by a schematic summarising the main points).


Here an example and some guidelines. Can you feel your brain relaxing because of all these colors and key information nicely delivered with a schematic? This paper is more than 10 pages long, yet you can tell what is it about. We should achieve a similar result.

For example, if we look at our session about Senolytics we have already 6 contributions. Can we sum them up in an abstract ( like I did here ) and even in a drawing? This way we may "collapse" the contribution so that the session would appear less overwhelming, more welcoming ( because of the drawings ) and if a person wants to know more has to click on the single contribution and open it to get more details.

This will solve, in my opinion, our dilemma about " is it too much complicated?". Our concern is that the sessions may appear too complicated to be engaging for most of the users, in my view is the "appearance" which is discouraging.

Again, when you think about a Brainstorming you are thinking about:
  • drawings
  • schemes
  • post-it
Something that a person may edit, change, move around or discard.

At the moment we have a "blog-like" tendency.

Also, one of our objectives is to no waste readers' time.

Again, this is not because we write too much or too complicated, but is the current appearance of the website that makes me think " Do I have to go through all of this?".

We should no be sacrificing quality and quantity (people like me want to know details, references, and so on).
I won´t like that the website just "states the obvious " so that a person can go in the bar to say " I read this single line on Brainstorming, now I know everything about reverse aging".

Rather a person should land on the page, look at our schematic/ abstract/ drawing, and think " ok that´s cool, maybe I should dig more into it to see what is it all about ".


Like this we may achieve the proverbial " two birds with a stone ":
  • to have intrigued ( and engaged ) readers without giving up on the quality
So my suggestion is to establish a threshold because of which every 5 contributions, we collapse them and we place the abstract in the session itself. So the session will be split into two parts:
  • the question
  • what we could come up with so far
The rest of the contributions will be collapsed maybe with a small notification ( "at the moment there are 5 contributions" ) and the person can decide whether to add another contribution ( the " contribution box " will stay, but not submerged below all the contributions ), read the one already presents or comment.

Quick Update:

On the line on using graphical abstracts: we may use it as a more straightforward strategy to promote our sessions on Twitter AND Instagram. Words are nice, but figures, color are what may thrill even layman people.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
If I now zoom out and look at what was said as a whole: Basically, the proposal is to add another layer of info that serves to summarize the messy info which we should hide so as not to scare the reader.

Here's a counter-proposal:

High signal, low noise. How about treating EVERYTHING we post as abstract. A blog post's worth of text can be explained with a single paragraph. We should Imagine the reader as mildly-interested in what we have to say and fairly interested in the subject as a whole. Then try not to lose their attention. People appreciate high signal, low noise. If we aim for that, the size of the text wouldn't matter. The content would be packed full of amazingly useful info. The more interested people are, the more they will appreciate the huge collection.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
I like the idea of summarizing. Since you are providing "Cell" article as an example, I would like to read a summary that is more in the form of "highlights" than an "abstract". Firstly, highlights are listed as opposed to being presented in a paragraph. Secondly, an abstract has at least a few introductory lines that can be omitted. Introduction will surely be a part of the main session text.

I had a question: Who do you suggest should be regularly maintaining the abstract and collapsing the contributions? Authors of the sessions are the best people to do that, but summarizing cannot be enforced.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Also, after a while, the author might lose interest in maintaining the abstract. This would eventually have to be done by people who are interested in the content at the present time

Chat box on the sidebar

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 29, 2020
Do you think it would be a good idea to add a chatbox on the sidebar of each session/idea page? There, people could group-chat about anything - no history saved.

We could start out with one general chatbox - accessible from any page. Later, as we grow, we could individualize chat channels to individual pages. What do you think?

Pinned solutions

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 26, 2020
Similarly to how twitter’s pinned tweets are used to bring one tweet to the top of a person's profile and keep it there for everyone to see first, we should have the option of pinning one solution to the top of the solutions list. This would be useful if the session creator (or other editors) kept the pinned tweet as a summary of the best knowledge from all other contributions. For example, if the session goal is to come up with basic principles of collaboration, people might contribute 100 posts, but only a few would qualify and have the necessary info to extract real principles.

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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late. - Reid Hoffman