Help:Structured Discussions/Quick tour
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This page is a quick tour about Structured Discussions.
Structured Discussions were formerly known as "Flow".
You will get here the most important information about Structured Discussions and how to use it. All specific terms (in italic in the text) have been defined in the glossary.
Why Structured Discussions
Structured Discussions is a new way to have a discussion. The structure of discussions has changed: a talk page (a Board) is now an aggregation of Topics and each topic is independent and can be watched separately. Structured Discussions allows a user to choose which topics they want to watch; not a whole page anymore.
New topics are added at the top of the page. Topics can be sorted by time of creation or time of last activity. Structured Discussions allows people to discuss by using both the visual editor and the 2017 wikitext editor.
Action buttons (reply, thanks) are connected to each answer, ready to be used. There is no need to indent your replies, archive the discussions or use signatures anymore. Discussions go faster and are more accessible to anyone.
Global design of a Structured Discussions board. Specific elements around messages are not shown (signature, reply links, tools...).
How to use Structured Discussions
You can participate in discussions by using two input systems: the visual editor (by default) and the 2017 wikitext editor. You can switch anytime between visual editing mode and wikitext editing mode.
When you post an answer or create a new topic, you will have a toolbar with 4 buttons:
- 3 buttons on the left (on a right-to-left keyboard):
- add style
- add link (with suggestions and search)
- mention someone (with suggestions and search)
- one button on the right to switch between editors.
When editing, wikitext shortcuts work in visual editing mode. To know more about that, please visit Structured Discussions shortcuts.
During your session, the website will remember which system you prefer, unless if you have defined a preferred editor in your preferences ("Editing" tab).
If you have opted-out the 2017 wikitext editor and/or the visual editor, you will have a simple wikitext fieldset to post or edit a reply, with no toolbar. Select "Enable the visual editor and the new wikitext mode in Structured Discussions" in your preferences ("Editing" tab) to opt-in and have a toolbar.
Remember: you don't need to indent while posting, or end a message with a signature anymore!
All these editing basics applies for all discussions, answers or when you edit Topic, Description, or Summary.
- Also see: Edit a topic, a message
Post an answer
To the global topic
Each participant posts below the discussion, in a chronological way. It is like a usual on-wiki conversation but without indentation, or like answering emails. Your Post will be displayed below all comments and depends on the Topic.
If you need to say something special to someone, you can mention the user or reply to them (see below). The "reply" button is used in this case, to create a digression. That digression creates an indentation. It is possible to add 7 levels of digressions.
Your Post will be displayed below the comment you reply to, with an indentation if it is not the last one on the Board. You can also just thank someone.
To a specific person in a topic
If you want to say something to someone in particular, you can mention that person on your global answer, or click on the "Reply" button below the post. Click on "Reply" will add a Post, below the Post you want to answer directly, except if that post is the last of all discussions. For that last case, we assume that the reply is to the global topic and the reply will directly be below the last one.
To provide a better context in your reply, you can also quote someone's message by copy-pasting part of it.
Your Post depends on the Post you reply on. This Post is designed as a specific answer. It will be separated from the main discussion by a grey line. However, every person who watches this Topic will get a notification of your answer, like all answers.
Create a discussion
On a page using Structured Discussions, creating a new topic is easy: you just need to click on the "Start a new topic" field. Structured Discussions will prepare two fields.
The first field is "start a new topic", choose a relevant title. The second field is "Post a new message about...", add your text. Choose your title wisely if you want to attract readers: people will see it on their Notifications, without other details.
When you are ready, click on the "Add topic" button. Your Post is online, every person watching the page is notified of the creation of this new topic.
You will be auto-subscribed when you create a topic: you will get a notification when someone replies.
- also see: Summarize a topic / Resolve a topic
To watch a specific subject, click on the star on the top of the Topic, near of the title. It turns blue. If it is already blue, you already were watching this topic.
While watching, you will get a notification for every edit to this Topic. You will also get a watch list entry.
When you create a Topic, you are auto-subscribed to this Topic.
A Talk page
To watch a whole page, click on the star on the top of the page, near of the search field. It turns blue. If it is already blue, you already were watching this page.
While watching, you get a notification for changes of the board description and every new subject posted on this talk page. You will also get a watch list entry.
You can turn off Structured Discussions notifications on your notifications preferences. Your watchlist will be still updated with a new line for every subject on a talk page you watch or a new line when someone answers a Topic you watch.
Browse and archive
All Topics displayed on a board are listed on a table of contents. You can browse all these Topics on this table.
Archiving is automated: all discussions disappear when they are not active anymore. You can display older Topics by scrolling down the page, or by searching on the table of contents.
- also see: Summarize a topic / Resolve a topic