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This chapter describes how to work with discussions. Discussions provide a means of creating and participating in text-based discussions with other members of a portal. Use discussions to post questions and search for answers. Discussion forums additionally provide the means to preserve and revisit discussions.
This chapter includes the following topics:
This chapter is intended for WebCenter Portal users who want to view, create, and manage portal discussion forums and topics. To perform the tasks in this chapter, you need one or more of the following portal-level permissions:
Create and Edit Discussions
These permissions are not granted by default to the portal
Tasks discussed in this chapter are not available if discussions are not enabled and exposed. The portal moderator adds and configures discussions, as described in the "Adding Discussion Forums to a Portal" chapter in Oracle Fusion Middleware Building Portals with Oracle WebCenter Portal.
You can use the discussions feature to post, respond to, and preserve topical information in discussion forums scoped to portals or to the entire WebCenter Portal application. Users post topics to a discussion forum, and other users post information relevant to those topics. All of this information is preserved within the forum.
A new portal is assigned a single discussion forum by default; however, portal moderators can specify to include multiple discussion forums in a portal. Discussions are scoped to portals. That is, you can create forums and topics only within the context of a portal. You can view and participate in discussions in both portals and the Home portal, depending on your permissions.
Access to discussions is influenced by portal security. Users can access discussions according to the permissions they are granted by their specific user roles within a given portal.
Scoping additionally limits the users who can view and participate in discussions. For example, only members of the Finance portal can view discussions that transpire in Finance portal forums.
Discussion forums provide configuration settings for specifying which forum content to show. This is of particular use in the Home portal, which exists outside a specific portal scope.
Discussions provides a wide variety of ways for viewing and participating in discussions. These include the following:
See Section 188.8.131.52, "Showing or Hiding Information in Watched Topics" for more information.
Discussions is tightly integrated with other assets, such as links and mail. For example, mail sent to a portal distribution list can additionally be posted to that portal's default discussion forum. The portal moderator must choose Monitor Incoming Mail in the portal Tools and Services for Discussions. For more information, see the "Publishing Portal Mail in a Discussion Forum" section in Oracle Fusion Middleware Building Portals with Oracle WebCenter Portal.
Every discussion topic provides the opportunity to link from the topic to another portal asset, such as a document or an announcement. See Section 184.108.40.206, "Linking to an Existing Discussion Forum Topic" and Section 220.127.116.11, "Adding and Linking to a Discussion Forum Topic" for more information.
The Discussion Forums feature is rich, providing controls for creating and managing discussion forums (available to the portal moderator only) and posting and managing discussion topics and replies. The other views, such as Watched Topics or Watched Forums are useful windows into discussion forum content. They provide different views of the discussion forums and topics available to a particular portal or all portals.
Most of the subsections in this section describe tasks you can accomplish through the Discussion Forums page (or console). It is noted when you can use other views to perform the described actions.
This section contains the following topics:
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The life of a discussion forum takes place in its topics and replies. Users can ask questions, post information, exchange ideas, and otherwise communicate in interesting and useful ways.
This section describes how to work with discussion forum topics and replies. It contains the following topics:
When you consider discussion forums hierarchically, the forum is the top container and topics are the next level down. Each posted topic can have subordinate replies, and the replies themselves can also have replies (Figure 14-14).
To post a topic under a discussion forum:
In the Subject field, enter the subject of the topic.
You can enter up to 200 characters.
In the Message field, enter more details about the topic.
You can enter up to 4000 characters.
The newly-posted topic appears under the selected forum in Discussion Forums. Click the topic subject to view the message (Figure 14-17).
To reply to topic posts:
To post a reply to a reply, click the Reply to message icon (Figure 14-22) and follow the steps described in this section.
To return to the main view, click the Close button in the window.
After you post a topic or a reply, you retain the option of returning to it and revising its content. Only you, as the topic author, and portal moderators can edit your replies. This section describes how to edit topics and replies.
To edit a topic or a reply:
Go the Discussion Forum that displays the topic or reply you want to edit, and click the relevant topic.
The selected topic opens.
Revise the topic (up to 200 characters) or reply (up to 4000 characters).
Your changes are posted to the forum.
When you delete a topic, the original topic post and all of its subordinate replies are deleted. When you delete a reply, you can select to delete the original reply as well as all of its subordinate replies or to delete only this message and keep its replies.
The steps to delete topics and replies are similar.
To delete a topic post or reply, you must be the user who created it or you must have access equivalent to the portal moderator (
Create, Edit, and Delete Discussions permissions). If you do not have the permission to delete, you will not see the option to delete.
You can decide how many topics or forums to display; for example, 10, 25, 50, 75, or 100 (Figure 14-33).
Figure 14-33 Number of Topics to Display
All Discussion views that show topics and replies on the same screen provide Show view mode options.
To toggle between topic view modes:
Go to the Discussions view that contains the topic you want to view, and click the topic.
From the Show drop-down list, select Flat or Hierarchical.
The topic view renders according to your selection. (You might have to click Refresh or click another page and then return to the page where the Discussions view is to see the changes.)
Each discussion topic has an associated Send Mail icon in its toolbar (Figure 14-52). Click the Send Mail icon to initiate a mail message containing the discussion text, location, author, and date it was created. This feature makes it easy for you to communicate interesting discussions to others.
Figure 14-52 Send Mail Icons on Discussion Topics
The portal moderator determines the mail client to use with the Send Mail icon. If a local mail client was specified, then a plain text message opens (if you have not logged into your mail application, you will be prompted to do so). If WebCenter Portal's Mail service was set as the mail client, then the HTML Mail Compose dialog opens. With either mail client, you can add or edit the standard, perpetuated message before sending.