How to use this site

The dialogue website has these features:

  • Registering and creating a profile
  • Submitting an idea: WYSIWYG editor, formatting correctly
  • Commenting, Rating and Tagging
  • Searching for content
  • RSS feeds

 

Registering and Creating a profile

Anyone can look at ideas and comments, but to really get involved in the discussion a profile is needed. You'll need to head over to 'Register', at the top right of the page and create an account. Alternatively, if you try to submit an idea, comment, rate or tag, you will be prompted to log in to the site and the log in page also has a link to the registration form. Be sure to enter your email address correctly, as this will be needed to reset your password if you forget it. You can edit your profile at any time by clicking on your username at the top of the page, and then on 'edit'. This will also show you a list of the ideas you've submitted.

NB: Usernames, email addresses and passwords are case-sensitive. Usernames can only contain letters, numbers and underscores e.g. John_Smith12

 

Submitting an Idea

To submit an idea, simply go to the discussion you want to participate in, and hit 'Submit an Idea' on the right. You'll be able to enter a title for your idea, and then two sections of text - What your idea is, and why it is important. These are entered using a simple embedded text editor, which looks like this:

WYSIWYG toolbar in Dialogue App

Here are a few tips on using it:

  • Embedding links: To link to another website within your text, highlight the text you want to act as the link, and then click on the 'link' button in the text box toolbar (it looks like a chain link). In the pop-up window that appears, you will need to paste the address of the site you want to link to in the box labelled 'URL'.
  • Inserting images: If you want to insert an image into your idea, that image will need to already be on the internet somewhere - you won't be able to upload it directly from your computer (this is to protect against viruses). To add the image to your idea, click on the insert image button on the text editor toolbar - this looks like a blue square - and a pop-up window will appear. You'll then need to paste the address where the image is located online in the box labelled 'URL'. You can also adjust the size of your image by entering numbers (in pixels) in the boxes 'width' and 'height'. To make sure the image fits nicely on the page, we would recommend it to be a maximum of 500 pixels width.
  • Pasting from Word or another word processing tool: Many people find it easier to draft their ideas in a program like Word, and then paste across into Dialogue App. If doing so, please use the 'Paste from Word' tool (located at the far right of the toolbar). This will bring up a window into which you can paste your work from Word, and click 'OK' - this will 'translate' the text to Dialogue App and make sure the format is properly preserved. Pasting text directly from Word often leads to the formatting being jumbled or entirely lost.

You should note that once you have submitted an idea it can't be edited, so please check your submission carefully before saving.

If you want your idea to be taken down you should contact the site administrator using the contact form in the footer links. Also, if the discussion is pre-moderated, your idea might not appear immediately, as it will need to be approved by a moderator before it appears on the site.

 

Commenting, rating and tagging

If you click on an existing idea, you will see that you have the option to rate the idea, comment on it, or tag it.

  • To make a comment, simply enter your comment in the text box and click 'Add comment'. Be aware that if the site is pre-moderated, your comment will have to be approved by a moderator before it will appear.
  • To rate an idea out of 5, click on the appropriate number of stars below the idea. You can click 'remove my rating' at any time to undo this
  • To tag an idea, you can enter a relevant keyword - or more than one, separated by commas - in the text box, and click on 'add tag'. This has various purposes. It will help people to search for all the ideas related to a particular topic. It helps structure and make sense of the discussion, by categorising the different ideas that pop up. The tags will also appear in the 'tag cloud', to the right on the homepage, which gives an at-a-glance sense of the most prominent themes being discussed. You should note that moderators will also be adding (and potentially removing) tags for the above reasons and also to aid their analysis of the ideas being submitted.

 

Searching the site

There is a search bar in the top right corner of the site - it allows you to search both by tags and by the text of the idea itself. 

 

RSS feeds

If you are not familiar with RSS: It is a way of subscribing to automatic updates and summaries of online content. Essentially, the idea is that an 'aggregator' site gathers together content from a range of sites and publishes it on one in short form. These aggregators come in several types:

- Embedded in browsers: some browsers (like Firefox, for example), allow RSS feeds to be built into the browser itself.

- Browser-based apps: Sites like Feedly allow you to create an account and read feeds on their site within your web browser.

- Stand-alone programs: These are programs that require downloading and operate outside of your web browser, although still require an internet connection. 

Dialogue App is RSS-enabled, so you can create an RSS feed of discussions that you are particularly interested in or want to follow closely. Firstly, you will need to have an aggregator, in either of the three forms above, at your disposal.

On the Dialogue App homepage, you'll notice that each discussion has an icon next to it labelled 'feed'. If you right click on this, and click on 'copy link location', you'll have an .rss address that you can then input into your RSS aggregator - exactly how you plug this address into your feed depends on which program you are using.