Topic: Allow personal discussions between participants of the conference  (Read 1257 times)

We would like to allow our participants to contact each other personally. Is that possible via ConfTool?

(A German version of this article is available.)

Introduction

You might be thinking of holding a virtual, hybrid or hyperlocal conference and want to make sure that attendees engage with each other by giving them the possibility to communicate with each other. For that purpose, activate the online list of participants. It can include a personal discussion function (chat function) that allows participants to communicate via personal messages.

If you are looking for an option to let users discuss sessions or presentations in a group setting, then you can combine the discussions boards for sessions and presentations as well as the personal discussion function. If both functions are enabled, users can engage in personal chats with any member in the group discussion. For more information, head on over to this entry in the forum:
How to use discussion boards for sessions and / or presentations


A) Settings

1. Activate Online List


First, please activate the online list for participants. The online list is a community system that will allow participants to give a short overview of themselves in the style of a digital visiting card. The online list can include a picture – if provided by the participant – and additional information about the participants, like personal homepage, social media connections and personal interests. Participants can always decline to appear on the list.

To activate the online list, please head on over here:
Overview => Settings => Main Settings for Participant Registration
… and scroll down to the section “Participant List Options / Conference Profile”.
For the option “Use the online participant list / conference profile pages of ConfTool?” use one of the two “Select Modes” (see image 1):
  • Simple - Enable the online list, but participants are asked during the first step of the registration process only for basic details like name badge data and if they want to appear on the online participant list.
  • Full - Enable online list and show a separate conference profile page input at the end of the registration process. All participants are asked if they want to appear on the list and – if they agree – are prompted to provide further contact details and to upload a personal picture.

2. Activate Official List of Attendees

Second, in the section “Participants Can Access the Official List of Attendees” please activate the module and set a start and end date (see image 1):
Overview => Settings => Main Settings for Participant Registration
Please do not enable this function if you only want users to start personal chats from within discussions about sessions or presentations.

3. Activate Personal Messages

Third, in the section “Users Can Post New Personal Discussion Messages” for the option “Settings for Personal Discussions (Chat Function)” choose an appropriate setting. Then continue to activate the module and set a start and end date (see image 1):
Overview => Settings => Main Settings for Participant Registration
When activated, users can post new personal messages to other registered participants in the “Official List of Participants” (if enabled) and can send personal replies to the authors of messages found in public discussions of sessions and presentations (if available and enabled).


B) Usage of the personal discussion function

1. Send personal messages via the “Official List of Participants”

Send:
Go to the “Official List of Participants”:
Overview => Official List of Participants
You can use the search field to find a particular participant. Select the name of a participant in the list to show more details. On the “Show Conference Profile Page” click on the link “Start New Discussion” to begin a personal discussion with that participant. In case a conversation with a participant has already started, a speech bubble icon will appear next to the name of the participant (see image 2).
Enter your message in the text field and then send it by clicking on the paper plane icon. You can edit or delete your own message. Hover over it and click on the edit or delete icon (see image 3).

Subscribe:
When you send a message, you can decide whether you want to receive e-mail notifications when there are new messages regarding the discussion (red bell icon / “E-Mail Notification”) or simply want to monitor the discussions in the list of your discussions (bell icon / “Subscribed”) without receiving any further e-mails. Recipients of your messages will always first receive an e-mail until they change the setting to “Subscribed” (see image 3).

Reply:
You will be informed via e-mail when someone has started a discussion with you. In this e-mail, follow the link to the discussion and enter your reply via ConfTool. You can decide whether you want to continue receiving e-mail reminders when there are new messages in the discussion or you just want to follow the discussion in your personal list of chats (see above “Subscribe” and image 3).

2. Personal replies to authors of messages in public discussions of sessions and presentations

You will find a detailed manual on how to use discussion boards for sessions and presentations here:
How to use discussion boards for sessions and / or presentations
In addition to the functionalities described there, you can find an extra icon depicting a person that will allow you to send a personal message to only the author of the message (see image 4). Once you click the icon, accept the dialogue box message for a personal discussion and then enter your message in the field below the original message (“Please enter your personal message to the author below”). Then click on the plane icon to send the message (see image 5).

3. Keeping track of discussions as normal user

You can always get an overview of all discussions in which you are involved when you click on “Your Discussions” on the overview page in your account:
Overview => Your Discussions
You can use the “Filter by Discussion Type” or the search field to narrow down the discussions. The label “NEW” highlights discussions with new messages that were sent since you last accessed a particular discussion. In the column “Action”, click on “View Discussion” to see all messages of the discussion (see image 6).


C) Moderating Personal Discussions as an Admin

In order to keep track of all active discussions and edit or delete messages or whole discussions (e.g. if they do not adhere to proper standards) please proceed to this page:
Overview => Scheduling => List of Discussions
You will get an overview of all discussions. For the filter “Filter by Discussion Type” use the setting “Show only personal discussions”. You can search and reorder the list of personal discussions. Click on “X authors” or “X subscribers” to see a list of the users who have sent messages or subscribed to a discussion. In the column “Action” click on the corresponding link to edit and delete messages or to delete a whole discussion (see image 7).