How to use the Forum for ACCESS-NRI Working Groups


This is a guide on how best to use the features of the forum for supporting ACCESS-NRI working groups.

Who is this for?

ACCESS-NRI working group leads, or anyone with an interest in supporting the activities of working groups through the forum


The Welcome Page has an overview of the background and purpose of the forum.

This topic covers the specific case of supporting the activities of the ACCESS-NRI Working Groups through the forum.

Supporting Working Groups

What do working groups need?

  • Single obvious location where members should go to discover Working Group communications and activities
  • Ability for Working Group members to easily communicate with each other
  • Ability for communication from Working Group leads to their members, e.g. meeting times, announcements
  • Ability for Working Group leads to receive communication from their members, e.g. solicit feedback on proposals, requests for resources
  • Publicly visible record of communications and activities that are discoverable, so that community members can easily find groups and activities in which they have an interest
  • Long term persistence of information: new working group members can discover what they require to get up to speed and understand the context of current Working Group activities. This allows for scaling up of working group size, without a concomitant increase in workload for existing members
  • Clear instructions on how group members can join and engage with the Working Group
  • Ability to identify members of a Working Group

How does the forum address these needs?

Working Group Communication

The forum has categories that align with Working Groups: this is the obvious single location to go to discover Working Group communications and activities.

Working Groups should create a “Welcome to the Group” topic, with clear instructions about the group, how to join and engage, and pin the post so that it is always visible to new members. By making this topic a wiki post it can be easily updated with new information.

Any working group member can make a topic on the forum, or reply to a topic started by someone else, making communication between members very easy. There is a user guide available, and a guide for best practice.

It is possible to use topics that work like a mailing list, which is the recommended method for one-way communication from Working Group leads to their members. This is discoverable, a history of announcements is available in the topic and users can subscribe to updates by watching the topic. An example is the COSIMA Announce topic.

Anyone at trust level 4 or more can create a mailing list topic, so they can also be used for smaller projects to target communications to only those who are interested.

It is best practice to have notes of Working Group meetings recorded on the forum. Making the notes a wiki post means it is simple for other meeting attendees to add detail or make amendments, which significantly reduces the burden on any one individual. A recommended option is to have a single topic for regular group meetings for a calendar year, and add notes for each meeting as a reply to the topic (any post, reply or orginal topic, can be made a wiki). The Land Working Group has already started recording minutes this way.

Discourse allows for polls embedded in a topic, which is a useful way of obtaining feedback from group members from a discrete set of options. Otherwise it is possible to create a topic specifically for feedback, invite replies and collate the results.

Discourse groups

Everyone who wishes to be a part of a Working Group should join the relevant discourse group. Community members are free to join as many groups as they wish.

Discourse groups make it easy to see who is a member of a Working Group, which can be important for reporting, and making sure communications are reaching the right people.

Working Group leads will be made owners of the relevant groups. The groups are configured so that owners can message all members of a group, or mention a group in post, to make sure all group members are aware of important information, but such broadcasting should be used sparingly in order that attention is paid to those messages. Anyone who joins a Working Group discourse group is immediately promoted to Trust Level 1, in order that they can immediately participate fully in forum activities.

There is a knowledge-base article about how to use groups.

Discoverability and persistence over time

ACCESS Hive is provided by ACCESS-NRI as a service to the community, and ACCESS-NRI is committed to continuing this support indefinitely. The information contained on the forum is publicly available, indexed by major search engines and forum itself has an excellent in-built search capability. In this way information is discoverable and will persist over time, providing an excellent source of information for the community by documenting activities and discussions, and for new members to search and discover as required.